Tuesday, January 19, 2010

All I Really Wanted for Christmas was a Vacumn Belt

This past fall, we bought a new vacuum cleaner. My shop vac is awesome for the main floor but it stinks when it comes to carpet. So my husband obliged and purchased a new red dirt devil for me to leave upstairs. I assigned the kids to do their rooms. The machine lasted a week before the belt broke.

Naturally, there were no spares in the box. I penciled into my things to do, Home Depot for sometime that week and the belt number I'd need. I felt very savvy, having written down the pertinent information. As a double brainy bonus, I also noted the filter size. I could hear a prudent applauding me commending this forward thinking. "Might as well get the spare when you're there."

That Tuesday, my oldest had music lessons in the strip adjacent to the big hardware store. Again, the approving pragmatist persona gave a nod; merging a kid errand with an adult, how multi-tasking, how efficient, how marvelous. It was a great feeling. Then I walked in the store. They did not carry my vacuum's parts even though they sold my husband the machine itself. It was "too new." The helpful sales clerk offered to order me them but I'd have to buy a box of ten. The fiscally prudent me did not think this was wise. There were other stores where I could PROBABLY get the part. "But would I get the multi-tasking prudent bonus again?" I wondered.

It was Wednesday. One daughter and one son had basketball practice. Their gym was near my go-to store. Yeah! I'd have to get the kids to their team work outs on time but if I did, I could squeeze in a visit and still have that seamless parent thing going. Again, this store had many machines for cleaning floors, countless bags, filters and belts but mine was "too new." They could order me one, but it would take about three months. Visions of foot high dust bunnies creating an ethereal cloud of dander that would swirl about the ankles and choke off my toddlers filled my head. I'd try the third store. Going back to the car, the prudent me railed. "Two perfect errands ruined! Call ahead!"

I phoned information. I got the number. I called and spoke to a phone tree and then a human being who told me they did indeed have the part. Joyfully, I pressed forward, determined that this task would be completed today no matter what. I phoned my sixteen year old and asked him to heat up some potpies for dinner because I was running late. Virtue Mom was rolling. She'd directed dinner, she'd dropped off the kids for practice and she was going to get the belt.

I arrived at the store. The front was filled with beautiful glass chandeliers, this couldn't be the place for a .45 cent part for a hundred dollar sucking machine. A well dressed woman inquired my business and when I told her, she led me to the annex, where white pegboard covered the walls, and hooks were filled with every part for every dohicky imaginable. A man stood at the cashier with a phone. I asked if he was the one I spoke with just a few minutes ago. Blank stare. There were three other men stocking switches and tinkering with wires or working to fill orders on computers. I asked each of them. "You must mean Frank." one finally said. "He just left."

"Frank said you have the part I need. Belt 22 for a Dirt Devil."
"There's no 22."
"That must be new." was the chorus of responses.

One of them hefted a three foot thick notebook filled with punch hole tissue thin invoice forms. "You can look to see if we stock it through this." he explained. "But if it's new, I doubt it."

"Can't you do a search with your computer?" I asked.
"I haven't finished invoicing everything into the computer." one sheepishly answered. "We just stopped doing everything by hand this past year."

"Then how could Frank know you have the part?" I was feeling desperate.
"He doesn't, but he might be right." They nodded. One of them spit.

"Can we look at the vacuum belt section and just hope for the best?" I wondered aloud.

But alas, the search sans Frank was fruitless and I left defeated. They suggested I come back tomorrow when Frank was in but I was tired.

The Prudent Me got mad. "Sher, it's 2010. Order the damn thing online." I felt like the kid in Christmas Story remembering Santa; realizing his dream red rider bi-bi gun could become a reality.

Racing home, I helped the 16 year old take out the potpies and fired up the laptop. My fingers flew through the google to the first reliable large name brand store I could find that carried the part and ordered five but calmed down enough not to demand overnight shipping.

Three weeks passed. It got near Christmas. I jokingly and not so much, suggested that a working vacuum belt might be a good present. I made sure everyone knew the make, model and number needed but I didn't press the matter as I had already ordered five.

So now, it's January. The bill has come. The belts have not. The Prudent practical me and me are not on speaking terms and I'm considering purchasing another vacuum to act as the runner up to the Dirt Devil here that has failed in its duties. When I finally sucumb, when I finally do buy it, I won't leave the store without sixteen belts and five filters to go with it; and I know, the next day the parts will arrive at my home and Frank will call to tell me they have it in stock, because by then, the vacuum will no longer be "New."

*thought about calling this piece, "This really suc...but my mother reads this blog.

1 comment:

MightyMom said...

oh girl. you wanna borrow a vacuum??

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