How Not to Sell Vacuum Cleaners

Monday, 11 July 2016

Surprisingly, I am related to someone that loves to vacuum clean.  Let’s call her Lenny. Lenny would vacuum morning, noon and night if she could.  Luckily she has a job and 3 kids so she can’t actually do that. but she absolutely would if she had the opportunity. Lenny wouldn’t understand this post, so if you are reading this Lenny, I suggest you go back to your vacuum cleaning.

I think that vacuum cleaning is boring.  It’s boring and it’s noisy.  Our last vacuum cleaner was a pretty standard model and that meant I had to do something even more boring than vacuum cleaning - buying vacuum cleaner bags. Ugg.  Buying bags meant I had to  interact with the guy from the local Godfreys shop who was unfailingly offhand or rude or both and half the time when I went in there I had to wait for him to do some interminably long demonstration of vacuum cleaner proficiency to some other hapless shopper before I got served.  So when our vacuum cleaner died my aim was to ensure I’d never had to go into Godfreys again. (Godfrey’s is the only vacuum cleaner supplier in Kingston).

Using Choice Magazine I decided upon one of their reccomended models - an Electrolux bagless vacuum cleaner with a power head (a rotating brush on the end of the sucker).  In order to completely stick it to Godfreys I bought it from Appliances Online (HA! TAKE THAT rude man!)  -  it was still about $550 though - so I was expecting good performance.

And it was great. Really good for our thick rug and easy to move around - completely excellent. Until the powerhead stopped working about 6 weeks after we got it.   This is where buying online backfires completely as I can’t use one of my secret talents (the ability to return things to stores for a full refund), and there was no easy way to send it back. After a few phone calls to the retailer and some googling of possible fixes which didn’t work, I simply switched the head to the regular non-power head and carried on - it still worked, but it certainly wasn’t awesome.

I must mention this is the 2nd time we’ve bought a Choice Magazine recommended model of something and ended up with a dud - the last time was with our terrible whirlpool dishwasher  that we took to the tip about 3 years after we purchased it.  We then  bought  a  Bosch dishwasher for twice the price and it’s been fantastic.  I guess Choice just can’t really test for long term reliability.

Anyway - back to the vacuum cleaner - 5 years on,and it’s definitely a lot less than awesome. The rugs are looking decidedly messy, and it’s just not doing a good job..  We need a new one.  And what’s worse, is that I think I need to buy it from an actual store (ugg …hello again Godfrey’s), so that when it breaks, I can take it back.

So after wasting an hour of my life looking at Choice reviews of vacuum cleaners (yawn), I made a decision - I clearly wasn’t going to get Electrolux again, so using our dishwasher experience I decided upon a german brand - Miele. Both the Miele models Choice tested rated in the top ten overall, and also highly for pet hair removal, carpet dirt cleaning and usability.  And they didn’t need a flakey power head to do it.  Perfect.  So printing off both model numbers, I gritted my teeth and headed down to the local Godfreys store to get one.

I walked into the store  (past a whole lot of Miele vacuum cleaners) and the shop assistant popped up from behind a display rack  - truth be told he looked a bit worse for wear, in fact he looked a bit like he’d been down there checking  his secret supply of vodka bottles.   I showed him my printout and asked if he had either of the models listed.

Glancing at the paper he said “Do you have pets?  he asked? “yes “I replied.  “Let me show you something… “ oh gawd, the demonstration.. he proceeded to rub some sort of fluff into a patch of carpet, vacuum it up with a regular  (unbranded) vacuum cleaner, then use his power-head hoover to demonstrate how effortlessly superior it was.   ‘you see the Miele doesn’t have a power head’.  so I explained my reluctance to get a vacuum cleaner that relied on a power head.  ‘I hear what you are saying’ he said ‘but it’s just not as effective blah blah blah double blah blah blah hoover blah blah blah hoover blah blah blah powerhead blah blah blah..’.    

So let’s get this straight. Godfreys stocks Mieles.  I wanted a Miele.  This guy spent his time telling me I didn't want a Miele, he didn't even want to sell me one of his OWN Mieles.  All he did was annoy me by telling that my research was flawed, the model I wanted wasn’t any good, and not only that but although the parts are made in Germany,  they are assembled in China and are therefore of poor quality.     All he wanted to do was show me his Hoover powerhead models.   

So.. we were at a standoff -  he clearly didn’t want me to buy the Miele, and I absolutely wasn’t going to allow myself to buy some dodgy Hoover model which I certainly didn’t remember being in the top 10 of the Choice list (and for your information Mr Godfrey, Hoover is also made in China), so I left without purchasing anything.   Reflecting upon the experience I think it’s a pretty good effort for a vacuum cleaner salesman  to turn what was a certain sale into an annoyed customer who is never.. EVER.. going into that store again. Nice One.
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