Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Vac Saga

Part of owning a game store is apparently developing expertise in vacuum cleaners. We bought our fifth one in a little over five years this week, after the last one, a heavy duty, rugged Royal vacuum, structurally failed. Yes, it wasn't the motor or the rollers, things that can be fixed, but the plastic body cracked under the strain. I had such high hopes for the Royal, especially after throwing out that dandy of a vacuum, the Electrolux. I knew the Electrolux wouldn't be with us long term when I noticed the woman vacuuming in high heals on the cover of the owners manual. I got suckered in by the old school name, that had commercial vacuum connotations. Apparently there was some vacuum cleaner industry consolidation and Electrolux had bought up some of its competitors, resulting in some badge engineering of their vacs. 

A true commercial vacuum is obviously the solution now, after trying a bunch of near commercial vacs over the years. They need to be constructed of metal, not plastic, and need to be extremely simple. All the bells and whistles of a home vac are just things to break on a commercial vacuum. When you talk vacuums, everyone has a favorite they'll recommend, but they don't understand. They recommend fancy models with flashy plastic. These aren't going to cut it with the 1.2 million square feet of vacuuming we need performed each year. A truly commercial vacuum needs simple ruggedness. If it were a car, it would be a Hummer: ugly, rugged, and a large price tag to match. Simple is good. They will all break and will all need servicing over time. I've developed a relationship with my local vacuum cleaner repair shop. They can fix anything except for structural failure.

So did I buy a commercial vacuum this week? Kinda. I just can't bring myself to buy a $500 shiny aluminum bruiser that looks like it should be rolling through a Holiday Inn. When does a game store ever have $500 to throw around? Instead I got a "commercial" vacuum that seemed to fit my requirements. Quotes implies that it's listed as commercial, but seemed a little too inexpensive to be the true deal. It's listed as commercial but the literature talks about what a great job it will do in your home. Kind of like a Hummer H1.

It does have my requirements though: It's constructed of aluminum, not plastic. It takes bags, not a weakling bagless version with lmited sucking power. It has a freakin' 40' cord, although I know my repair shop can retrofit a longer cord. It's ugly; a very good sign. It's heavy and it's unlikely a high heeled woman will be pushing this bruiser around; she'll need to change into her combat boots. It's quiet and has a HEPA filter. Quiet is a bonus, although these two frivolous options make me nervous. It's upright, a requirement my staff has thrown in there, although I'm told the truly commercial, bulletproof vacs are of the canister variety. Amazon home reviewers complain: There's no headlight, no adjustments for carpet height, and it's like pushing a Buick around the house. Perfect.

Now that you've read to the end of this, don't you wish I had reviewed a new board game or perhaps the Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay campaign I begin next Sunday? Would you be surprised to learn I've blogged about vacuum cleaners two previous times? Perhaps this post is more a warning for avid gamers who are considering starting a game store. Welcome to your new area of interest, sucking dirt off the floor.