What I Shed Today

lightening up a little at a time

orphaned vacuum cleaner attachment

on September 15, 2014

When I was a kid, we had two vacuum cleaners, both canister types: Mom’s somewhat teardrop-shaped moss-green Eureka Vibra-Beat, and Dad’s cylindrical blue Electrolux that stayed in the garage for cleaning cars. Just those, through all my childhood and youth, because they never broke. Now engineers are taught to plan obsolescence and “beyond the economical cost of repair” must be said so often it’s just abbreviated to B.E.R. This “came home” for me, so to speak, on a visit to my parents a couple weeks ago.

“Would you help me install a switch in my vacuum cleaner?” Mom asked. I thought she meant the nameless brown canister—bits keep breaking off of it, and the last time I used it, I could hardly get it to turn on.

“No,” she said, “it’s a Eureka upright. I really liked it. Nothing happens when you click it. We don’t have a vacuum repair repair shop anymore, so I looked on the internet and ordered a switch for it.”

That made me proud of her. But I wondered, “What’s Vickie using now?” (Vickie cleans for Mom, whose knees are kind of B.E.R.)

“Another upright I bought.”

“What happened to the Shop-Vac?” I’d noticed it wasn’t in the basement.

“Oh, it burnt up.”

I added up the toll: four vacuums in as many years. Seniors shouldn’t have to put up with it. But I postponed my rant and installed the new switch. Unfortunately, it didn’t bring Mom’s favorite back from the dead, so I offered to take it to the Clean Living Store in our town. (They’ve changed the name, but how can I not continue to call it that? It makes me smile. Little else about vacuum cleaners does.)

The Clean Living Store called after a week with sad news. Mom’s vac needed a new motor, but it would cost more than simply buying a new machine. They refused to charge for the autopsy, and said that someone recycles what they have to discard. I appreciate the kind treatment and good corporate citizenship.

Recycle in peace, Mom’s vacuum.

This would be the end of a modern parable that’s unfortunately all too true, except I found the “Stair & Upholstery Brush” in Echo’s trunk—I hadn’t noticed that it fell off. So I have to personally participate in the distribution of the remains.

The brush looks clever but perhaps over-complicated; a bitty squirrel-cage fan inside it drives a rotating brush. I see some sellers trying to move them on eBay. I don’t know if they succeed. I might try, though. I prefer any act of resistance to consumerist culture to tossing it in the trash.

Eureka Stair & Upholstery Brush 81295-2

Eureka Stair & Upholstery Brush 81295-2

shedding style: resell
destination: eBay

Comments welcome … have a good B.E.R. story to share?

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2 responses to “orphaned vacuum cleaner attachment

  1. I don’t know where they keep coming from, but they pop up everywhere! I only have 1 vacuum!

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