Thursday, May 12, 2011

The Killer Vacuum

I have been looking for the perfect vacuum cleaner all of my life. I once had a cleaning lady quit because she said I had too much dog hair, and it was clogging up her vacuum.  I have become convinced that old vacuums work better than new ones.  That is not to say that I have not watched the entire length of the Dyson vacuum infomercial in awe.  

So my best friend did a bunch of research, and then I heeded the results, and we came up with the Royale, as the best choice in antiquated sweepers.  I, then, scoured Craig's List for one, and had Brad take me to their house for a looksee.  We were going to a pumpkin patch festival or something family oriented like that, that gives me hives, (as it never turns out the way you had imagined) and luckily, the vendor of the vacuum was right in the neighborhood.

So, here is the problem that I find with Craig's List transactions such as this.  You go to a complete stranger's house, they demonstrate (in my case) or show you the product, and then you have this awkward moment, where if you don't want it, then you have to somehow leave without (in this case) getting beaten up.

We have all three kids in the car, in what appears to be a low income neighborhood, near our goal destination requiring forced family fun.  I go up to the door, by myself, and a huge woman answers the door with a cigarrette hanging out of her mouth, and introduces me to her partner, another gigantic woman.  I realize at this point that I am buying the vacuum, whether it turns on or not.  The performance of the appliance is irrelevant.

"We'll go out here,"  she grunts as she leads me through what appears to be a replica of the basement in Silence of the Lambs.

"It puts the lotion on it's skin or else it gets the hose again, " I hear over and over in my head. 

The woman leads me out to what appears to be her "ciggie porch" with empty crumpled beer cans strewn all over it, accompanied by overflowing ashtrays.  For the first time in many decades I want my Mommy.

"We'll do this here." she says almost inaudibly.  I look down and suddenly notice that I am wearing something really girly and red, which I am sure will remind her of Little Red Riding Hood.  I could not have been a bigger target, if I had been hunting with Dick Cheney.

"This is an awesome sweeper.  My girlfriend and I use it to clean up construction sites.  We're just selling off some of our stuff because we are moving to start a new life." She then plugs in the vacuum, dumps one of the ashtrays on the floor and proceeds to vacuum it up.  It does not pick up all of the cigarettes.  I don't care.  All I can think about are my babies.

"Perfect.  I'll take it.  How much again?"  I take out my checkbook.

"Cash only," Life Partner says behind me.  I swivel around.

I am fumbling with my purse.  I drop it on the floor.  I find all the cash I had taken out for the Pumpkin Festival.  I hand it to her.  It is ten dollars more than asking price.  I tell her that is okay.  She can keep the change.  I pick up the enormous industrial vacuum cleaner that doesn't work properly because it has been picking up screws and broken glass all of it's life, and awkwardly run with it as fast as I can through her scary house and out the front door.

I mash it between my baby girls that I thought I would never see again, and tell Brad to  "get the hell out of here!"

"How much did you pay for that thing?" he asks, with that look he always has on his face whenever I buy something, even if it is for domestic chores.

"I don't wanna talk about it. Let's just enjoy the day."  The sweeper sat in my garage until we threw it out a year later.  I could have mowed the lawn with that thing, or swept it, at least.  I ended up getting an old Electrolux at a yard sale, not long after that.  It has worked like a charm, and I just got it serviced at Goodale Pro Hardware.  My only problem is, that I don't know where I am going to get the vacuum cleaner bags to fit it, once I run out, because the vacuum is over 15 years old.

I guess I'll go on Craig's List. That seemed to work out beautifully before.  

I am positively obsessed with Goodale Pro Hardware.  I love locally owned small businesses.  I think they are what make this country great.   Instead of increasing their prices to be competitive, Goodale  Pro Hardware is so reasonable.  They offer a lot of services, too.  They have this handy man in the back that will try and fix anything.  He serviced my Electrolux for $15.00!  I just recently brought him my broken 10-year-old copper fountain, and he is working on that as we speak.  They will service your lawn mower, sharpen knives, repair screens, rent lawn equipment - you name it.  Maybe this is what ALL hardware stores do, but it seems to me everytime I go into a Lowe's or a Home Depot, if I have a question about something in their store, they end up either passing me off to someone else, or they talk to me about everything BUT what I want to know.

When I go into Goodale Pro Hardware, the best thing about them is their customer service, which I am big on.  I have spoken with the girl working the desk several times.  She helps her uncle out at Springfield Extravaganza.  I have never been there, and she was explaining to me where to go and what to do, and not to buy from the front venders before I peruse the ones in the back, because the front venders price their stuff higher because they paid a premium for their spot. I guess some people find what they are looking for in the front, and then leave.

When I wanted to purchase concrete paint for this fabulous bird bath I purchased for Mother's Day, she directed me to two different kinds of spray paint and then instructed me to buy the cheaper one, because it was better.  I mean, if I had gone to Lowe's I would be hard pressed to find someone that could point me to the proper aisle, let alone advise me to buy the least expensive paint. 

I like the store so much I bought a t-shirt, because I like their logo, too.  Try it out and let me know what you think.

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