My Vacuum Sucks

And I do not mean that in a good way.

It’s an Optima Lighweight Upright, and of all the shameful things, it bears the Goodhousekeeping Seal of Approval.

It was easier to learn to breastfeed than to operate this temperamental beast.

Anything longer than an inch does not get sucked up. It wraps around the roller with the brushes. Think about that for a moment. How many of you have hair one inch long or shorter? Even cat hair is longer than that, and if a vacuum can’t even pick up cat hair, it should be called a noisy dustblower, not a vacuum.

It gets tired easily. If you vacuum for longer than ten minutes, it partially shuts down, the motor whining at a lower and lower register until it’s just grumbling. The useless brushes are still turning, but no suction.

And the easy-to-empty chamber that holds the dirt? This is the machine’s one redeeming feature. That cup IS easy to empty. Which is good, because if you get more than roughly a quarter-cup of dirt in any combination with more than seven cat hairs, you have to stop and empty the chamber again.

So I can vacuum half the den in roughly an hour’s time, given all the fits and starts and stops and brush cleaning. And our den is not on the palatial side. This labor-saving device is not living up to that damn Seal of Approval.

On the other hand, we have the basement vacuum. It’s an ancient Hoover, one that Fred Flintstone might have used. Using it is both an aerobic workout and a resistance workout because it weighs more than a Volkswagen and is almost big enough to ride.

It lives in the basement because it’s too heavy to move up and down the stairs with ease, and the on/off switch is held together with electrical tape. And it will pick up anything. Thumbtacks, loose change, yarn, sequins, stray bits of cat litter, small scraps of paper, ankle socks and small pets. It’s practically carnivorous. And it’s older than I am.

So the old, ugly, awkward vacuum will never die. The sleek new one will never work. Is it possible to get a vacuum that will pick up cat hair, won’t give you a hernia carrying it up the stairs, and won’t force you to dip into the children’s college fund?

What’s your least favorite household appliance?



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5 responses to “My Vacuum Sucks

  1. gr

    I went to a vacuum place over by the ARC to buy my vacuum a few years ago. I remember a few things Vacuum Man said:
    – Your vacuum is not *supposed* to pick up big things. You’re supposed to bend over and pick them up yourself. The vacuum is designed to pick up dirt and dust and stuff like that. I was gobsmacked.
    – He said, “Don’t let your kids vacuum. Have them take out the trash inside. They’ll try to vacuum up coins and legos and stuff and ruin the vacuum.”
    – I can’t remember why he doesn’t recommend that cute little canister that you can empty; he recommends the bags instead. I think the bags must trap all the dirt/dust better. I miss my canister because when I used to vacuum up Miller moths I could watch them fly around in the canister for awhile.
    -My least favorite household appliance? My printer is often defiant. DVRs hate me. I hate my computer. I have to buy an iron every couple years because they die for unknown reasons (an iron is a small appliance you plug in, it heats up, and you use it to press wrinkles out of your clothes).


  2. Sue

    I dream of the day when I’m rich enough to buy a Dyson vacuum. They are the best for people who have pets. Our current vacuum is a a Black and Decker and it’s OK. Mostly, I hope that people take the vacuum tracks on the rug as a sign that we try.
    My least favorite appliance is the espresso maker. Oh, it works just fine. My husband just can’t NOT make a mess with it.

  3. I’m with Sue. I drool over those Dyson vacuum commercials. We own two vacuums. One is a lightweight one that works like shit. The other is a 40 year old, extremely heavy vacuum (just try doing steps with it if you want a work out for your upper arms) that could vacuum up small children.

    My most hated appliance? Our 4 year old washer. It gets unbalanced faster than a mental patient. Our old one was 30 years old when it finally conked out and we had not one moment of trouble with it. This new one is like dating a model/actress….it wants you to sit and watch it all the time and if you don’t, it goes all wobbly.

  4. Nancy

    Hello Baby Sister!
    We just bought a new vac last fall. We typically go to Sears where I can get a demo of more vacs than I really need a demo of. We did buy a Kenmore brand because we’ve had good luck in the past. I did look at a Dyson and was not impressed with the machine at all. I have a small dog that does not shed hair (Yorkie) and no cats (husband allergic to them). I went online and checked out several models before I went to Sears. You have to spend more than $150 to get a good machine, in my opinion. I like the bag model better, seems to pick up more dirt and I hated emptying that stupid cup….it was always a mess whereas the bag isn’t.
    I can’t think of any appliance that I have that I don’t like. I think it’s hard to find a good can opener that lasts… I guess that would be the one.

  5. Erin

    My goodness you have put the sentiments of my lightweight vacuum cleaner into words – and are right on the money! (really this was probably develeoped by a work-out guru – as you get plenty of exercise trying to coax it to work – after you have checked, rechecked, emptied, and teased it into operation)

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