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Sunday, March 7, 2010

Stimulating the Economy: $550 Vacuum Cleaner...

In my wildest dreams, I could not imagine forking out five-hundred bucks for a vacuum cleaner. I'm the guy who drinks generic beer and HEB brand water. I drove a $500 pick-up truck until I was into my thirties. My desktop PC is a refurbished Dell from PC Outlet. It isn't that I'm a cheapskate; I just hate to spend money on expensive things.

But my wife and I have had plans to make several key purchases this year. In spite of the fact that the IRS people refused to stimulate our personal economy, we decided it was time to pull the trigger and go shopping.

First, we took her little truck to have a tune-up done. The vehicle has 90K miles on it and as far as I know (we bought it used) it had never had the plugs changed. Last year, we took it to a small shop on Bandera Road to have the A/C clutch replaced and the guys did the work quickly and the A/C works, so I figured I'd give them another shot. You know if you take a vehicle with 90K on it to the Ford Dealership, it will be expensive, so I figured the local shop would be cheaper.
In my wildest dreams, I could not have imagined paying over $400 to change the spark plugs, wires and air filter on a Ford Ranger. I still want to have the fuel filter replaced, but if I need another kick to the Jimmy, I'll take it to the Ford place.

Next, we went to Lowe's to pick-up a new lawn mower. I have a Weedeater brand push mower that I have been really happy with, but ever since I ran over a stump and it just hasn't been the same. Neither has the stump. I would have been happy to go into Wal Mart and buy another mower for $99 and be done with it, but my wife had her mind made up that she wanted our next mower to be a John Deere. This may come as a shock to you, but Wal Mart doesn't sell John Deere mowers, and more importantly, you can't find a John Deere mower for $99.
In my wildest dreams, I never thought I would pay this kind of money for a mower that doesn't have a seat and a steering wheel, but $350 later, the mower looks so good, I don't even want t use it. I may just continue to use the old mower and put the Deere on display like a yard ornament.

And of course, you can't buy a new mower and not also purchase a new weedeater. I have had the same Weedeater brand Featherlite that I bought 12 or 13 years ago. It still fires up (after a while) but I have realized over the years that my lower back hurts when I use it, not because it is heavy (in fact - it is feather light) but because the shaft is too short for me.

We went into Home Depot and for the first time in recent memory, we not only had a person approach us to ask if we needed assistance, but the lady sat there for a solid twenty minutes and sold us on purchasing an Echo with a straight shaft. Am I the only person who has seen some sort of customer service transformation in Home Depot, now that we have a Lowe's right across the street? Anyway, anyone who knows anything about weedeaters (or string trimmers) knows that the Echo is the Mac Daddy of them all. Twelve or 13 years ago, I paid $79 for my Featherlite.
In my wildest dreams, I never thought I would pay $219 for a weedeater, but I did and if the sun would come out, I'd go trim something.

Finally, the most important decision of the day was upon us. We had kidded around for a long while about buying one of these new Dyson vacuums. If you go look at the display model in the store, the first thing you will notice (besides the sticker shock) is that the device is all plastic. It looks really, really cheaply made. We pulled down all the display models to really try to understand the different prices for what you get.

There was one model and I forget who makes it, but it specifically catered to people with pets. It was only $179. Honestly, that is about the most I would even consider paying for a vacuum cleaner, considering our entire downstairs is tile. We looked at a lower end Dyson (only about $325) and it did not have any discussion on pet hair on the box. When it came down to decision time, I thought we could get the $179 pet vacuum cleaner and also purchase some special hand held unit for another $30 that was also supposedly perfect for pets. Then my wife gave me that look. You know, the look that says, "You just spent $350 on a mower and $220 on a weedeater and now you want to buy a piece of crap vacuum cleaner?"
In my wildest dreams, I could not imagine forking out five-hundred bucks for a vacuum cleaner. $549 later, I'm here to tell you that the Dyson Ball DC25 is worth every penny. My wife had just vacuumed a few days ago and when we tried out the Dyson, it picked up so much dog hair that we had to empty the little reservoir eight or nine times. It was unbelievable how much that thing was picking up. We could start a little doggy wig factory here.

So there you have it. I've done my part to stimulate the economy. We can't single-handedly keep all the restaurants and home improvement stores in business, so get out there and buy something.


Anonymous said...

Eva says:)

You forgot to mention we did go out to eat lunch after all that and even used a coupon and the items that we bought we all 10% off due to your military discount so don't be a big baby :)..We won't go crazy till next week planting time :)

RB said...

Damnit Dave...

The ol' lady's been on the fence about wanting to purchase a Dyson. She happened to be reading your blog from over my shoulder this evening and all of the sudden..."Oh yeah, we're going to go get one of those now"...
It's not only the Dyson Dave....you suck too. lol

Anonymous said...

....i think your wildest dreams...has just turned into "nightmare alley"..complete with that striped finger-spiked guy..i think he could of trimmed and weedeat..click-click-click....do you think eva will hire you and your yard play toys...


damn..all that stuff looks like work to me.i would have bought a new lap top first..

Four Dinners said...

One British Pound is about one and a half dollars.

So. The vacuum cleaner would be in our money...er...um....about...er

...a lot of money.

In Britain a vacuum cleaner is about £30 tops. That is about $12 dollars?...or does it go the other way?


You are being so so so ripped off old bean.

Evil Twin's Wife said...

I love my Electrolux canister vac that I inherited from my mom. It's an 80's model. We also have a 70s Electrolux that still works! When ours die, I will gladly fork out the $1500 for a new Electrolux. :-)

Anonymous said...

I too have the $500 "pet" Dyson. Bought it about 18 months ago. Guess I should tell you that I have this "thing" with vacuums, I own 8 of them (I know, I'm crazy). At first I loved my Dyson but now it seems like it is gonna fall apart. I have an Oreck I bought about 5 years ago and it is much handier.
Wanted to let you know that there is a round filter on your Dyson, be sure to clean it. I was unaware of this filter and found it one day after my Dyson quit sucking. The filter was very bad to say the least. Mine isn't the "ball" vac so it may be different.
Congrats on all your new "toys", looks like you'll be busy for a while.
I LOVE your blog, keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

If you're a DIY kind of guy, that fuel filter actually isn't too hard. I changed the one on my F-150 and in about 30 minutes. You just need a little tool to get the fuel line out of the filter and you can google directions on how to do it.

Dave said...

You just need a little tool to get the fuel line out of the filter and you can google directions on how to do it.

Yea. My days of swapping engines, doing tune-ups, fixing the brakes and most of all, fuel filters are over! I have the knees and the checkbook to prove it! But thanks for the tip.

I did change the fuel filter on my old Dodge pick-up. It wasn't so bad once I got used to the taste of the gas.

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I love to observe the odd things happening around me as I go about my day. I especially like it when I can get a picture of people being themselves. Here, I attempt to report the various people and events I have encountered in my neighborhood, and my city. I'd also love to hear from you. Feel free to e-mail your experiences and photos of life in San Antonio.

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