Sunday, June 24, 2007

Target doesn't support my 10 year old vacuum

I have two busted vacuum cleaners. The first is a Dirt Devil that is a few years old. The second is a Hoover that is about 10 years old. As near as I can tell, vacuum cleaners have become expensive throw-away items. The average price for a vacuum cleaner at Target is $100. However they only sell the belts and accessories for the vacuum cleaners that they stock, and the models change every single year. Worse, the manufacturers have different belts and bags for just about every model (my Dirt Devil is a bagless upright though). I recall when a Hoover had 2-3 belt styles and any large store would stock all 3. The newer models used the same belt as the older ones. And why not? You can easily design your newer vacuums to use one size of belt.

It's bad enough that all vacuum cleaners are now made entirely of plastic, except for the screws holding them together.

Dirt Devil however does sell parts for my machine. I had to order a new roller for $15 plus $5 shipping. 20% of the whole vacuum price, ouch! Hoover's website however only stocks the basics for my vacuum; bags, filters, and belts. If that Hoover should break (right now it just needs a new belt, but Target nor anywhere else sells it) it will be going in the trash; I can't get parts for it.

Am I wrong to expect a manufacturer to support an appliance for its entire life? This vacuum is great; it runs perfectly with no problems. Should I expect to be able to buy parts for it? Or have vacuum cleaners just become disposable?


Jim said...

If you have an appliance that old, you need to go to a specialty store that sells parts for it, not Target. My parents have a vacuum that is probably older than me and still works, but not used much though anymore today. They had to get the bags/belts for it at a specialty store because the model is so old. Some things these companies make today are not designed to last, because the majority of society is always after the next best thing.

I got a cheap vacuum in college that cost me about $40 new and it lasted about 5 years before it got to the point it wasn't really cleaning anything well. My wife's parents got us a new one that has some real suction power we greatly lacked, and I think our house is cleaner than ever. I also notice that I do not get sick like I used to because this newer one picks up everything and filters the air well. Is it worth continuing to use something just because it still 'technically' works or invest in a new one that might work better? Just don't buy a used vacuum as it's on the list of things you don't buy used.

The Anti-Spendthrift said...

Get a Roomba :)