One of my pronounced character traits, some might call them obsessions but what do they know, is a certain devotion to comparison shopping. It started with computer equipment, even involving a two-year subscription to Computer Shopper in its big fat heyday, but now extends to quality and price comparisons when buying pretty much anything other than dinner for two that costs more than about $50. One of my wife's few imperfections is making fun of this noble devotion to social wealth maximization in which I do my bit to ensure that we have the toughest most competitive market for everyone's enjoyment.
I can sort of understand how this predilection might have seemed mildly annoying in days of yore: trooping to stores to look for models that were randomly in stock, perusing out-of-date Consumer Reports for reports that proved to be on models no longer sold, well, it took time, and sometimes we needed it now. Here as elsewhere, however, the Internet changes everything. Comparison shopping online is much efficient, although no faster since if the ease of information acquisition increases geometrically, the amount of information (and mis-information) increases exponentially. So it still takes a little while. But it's more fun. And I can do it late at night.
All of which is prompted by the observation that the vacuum cleaner is dying.
So as I'm starting up another round of happy hunting, I find this description of a vacuum cleaner, yes a vacuum cleaner, that kinda makes you want to run out and try one, and kinda makes you want to hide under the bed:
I am not the world's best housekeeper. My roommate graciously lent me his Eureka so that I could deal with a few trouble spots in my part of the house, the most significant of which was a green area rug that had never been vacuumed. I have a cat that likes to spend a lot of time on that rug, so I had forgotten that it was originally green and not a muddy greyish color.
I plugged in the vacuum, puzzled over it for a bit, mashed the handle release, and turned it on.
The monster surged to life and immediately began pulling me across the rug. I should probably mention that I had unwisely opted to put this rug on a hardwood floor with no backing, so it wasn't long before the vacuum was dragging me and the rug around the floor. Don't ask me how it did it; maybe it was using The Force ™. All I know is that this thing wouldn't stop. I finally managed to pin the rug in a corner and drag the cleaner across it. The vacuum growled in what I can only hope was anticipation, and with each pass of its mighty brushes the color and majesty of the original rug (purchased for $20 from a guy selling them out of the back of a van four years ago) came to light.
When the vacuum stopped dragging me over the rug and I finally managed to shut the beast down, I was aquiver with awe (or maybe it was fatigue – the monster's a heavy one). I could look down and see, for the first time in years, the rich emerald tones of my cheap geometric carpet, long hidden under a protective layer of cat hair and tracked-in leaves from my front yard.
My roommate had not lent me a mere vacuum cleaner. He had given me Excalibur.
Problem is, the darn thing weighs 21 lbs, and we're used to a much lighter canister model. And with the addition to the house, we now have stairs. Plus we have wood floors, tile, and area rugs. This monster sounds as if it might swallow the lighter rugs whole…