Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. Isn’t it wonderful coming up with thoughtful ways to show our loved-ones we care? A nice dinner, chocolates, roses…a little cliché, but still very sweet. Some guys spring for jewelry…quite a statement. I give my husband tools – hey, he likes that stuff! It’s the type of gift that keeps on giving, and actually makes us both happy. How’s that, you ask? He loves to work on his cars and nice tools make it so much easier for him to do that. Easier work = happy man. Fewer bloodied knuckles = less gross laundry I have to do. So are practical gifts the real formula for romance?? Well, I guess it depends….
Maybe I’m weird, but I really appreciate gifts that are useful. When someone hunts down and gives me an item that really makes my life a little easier or more comfortable – it shows that they cared enough to know my needs, and put thought into how to meet them. For example, my hands are always cold. When my husband gave me a box of those silly little hand warmer packets, I was just delighted! He found me a gift (albeit small) that showed me he had listened to my complaints, and really solved an annoying problem. Those little packets make me feel so much better, and I can’t help but think of his kindness when I feel the circulation resuming in my frigid little digits.
Okay, you knew I had to sneak in something about vacuum cleaners – that’s what this blog is about right? And given a vacuum’s incredibly practicality, doesn’t it seem natural that one would make a great Valentine’s present?! Well, as much as I’d like to convince you of that, I must urge that you use caution…
You know you’re loved one better than I do. Would he or she take your gift as an insult, a not-so-subtle hint that they need to clean? Or would that person be overjoyed at your generous expression to help ease the monotony and drudgery of his/her cleaning routine? Beyond that – even if your honey would find your efforts heroic, are you confident that you could pick the perfect vacuum for him or her? There are so many styles and features to choose from…
A person will love their vacuum when they’ve been matched together well. It’s a relationship much like any other. (Professional help never hurts either.) Everyone’s cleaning needs are different, as well as pet peeves, preferences and physical limitations. It can be difficult to pick the vacuum that exactly meets the criteria for any given individual – even for the individual! And a vacuum itself might be great, but if not a good fit for its owner, becomes lousy.
So if you love someone and want to give them a thoughtful, useful gift for Valentine’s Day…DON’T just buy them a vacuum, silly….give them money or a gift certificate to Queen Vacuum so they can come pick one out for themselves!
Baking soda is one of nature’s great deodorizers. Effective and inexpensive, baking soda can be used in so many different ways from cooking to cleaning, and is often used to absorb unpleasant odors. Thus, baking soda and other powder-based carpet fresheners are very popular products on today’s market. When sprinkled on carpet and vacuumed up, these products purportedly work by absorbing bad smells and often have added perfumes so as to leave behind a fresh fragrance on the rug and in the room. That’s great –except for three big problems…
1. The particles of baking soda are so small, that a portion of the product remains in the carpet fiber and/or sifts beneath the rug and padding to the floor below(never to be recovered!) Don’t believe me? If you use baking soda and one day rip up your carpeting, you’ll see a surprising amount of its residue left behind! But, in essence, that’s exactly how the product executes its claim of freshening the rug because that indeed is where much of the product stays.
2. There is also a serious problem caused by the physical nature of Baking Soda’s micro-particles…they’re very sharp!! The “scrubby” texture of these grains work wonders on loosening grime or scrum from your dishes or bathtub. But left behind, buried deeply in your rug, the rough edges slowly “saw-away” at the base of the fibers. Walking over the rug exacerbates the situation. This leads to the premature breakdown and thinning of your rugs. That’ll be expensive!
3. Again, due to the small particle size of baking soda or freshener product, these can clog the pores of your vacuum’s bag or HEPA filter. This can drastically reduce suction resulting in poor cleaning performance and cause clogs to form. Even worse, this dust can escape the filtration system in which your vacuum’s motor can “breathe” these particles and eventually short out.
This is not to just bash baking soda or Carpet Fresh; large quantities of any fine dust such as fireplace soot or sheetrock/construction dust is highly dangerous for almost any vacuum!
Agh –But you want your carpets to smell good! Now what?! Keep in mind that,unlessthe product is specifically labeled as a “dry–cleaning agent”or “stain remover,”Carpet Fresh–typepowders are NOT ableto remove the source of the odors. To truly clean and freshen carpets they must washed with a water solution by a carpet extractor machine or some sort of “dry” detergent agent. Think about it – how clean would your clothes be if you only sprinkled baking soda on them? Carpet-freshening sprays, foams or powders generally just leave behind fragranced residue that covers up lingering stink.Quite frankly, it’s theactivity of vacuumingslowly and thoroughly that’s achieving the results of removingtheembedded,smelly anddecaying particles!
A pretty aroma certainly makes your cleaning routine more gratifying and can help mask the stinky things now living in your vacuum! And the good news is that there are vacuum-freshening products available that are non-toxic, effective, are completely recoverable, and will not clog/blow up your vacuum! Fragrant Scentis a product we carry to take care of your smell vacuum without the nasty side effects! It is a product made of nicely–fragranced puffy granules (made from natural vermiculite) large enough not to fall through the carpet or clog up your vacuum. Just shake a little out of the re-sealable bag onto your rug and vacuum like normal. Plus, as the granules get sucked up they also help to dislodge some of the dusty buildup, cleaning the inside of the vacuum’s hoses and tubes! Fragrant Scentis smell great!
**BONUS** Mention this article during your next visit to Queen Vacuum and receive 50%off your purchase of any package of Fragrant Scentvacuum granules!
Don’t worry – this newsletter will not be a self-deprecating bash fest. It will, as always, be filled with lots of useful information for you to apply to your life! But we like to be honest with our customers and friends. Our business relies heavily on word-of-mouth, so we thought we ought to make it clear to everyone that we are terrible salespeople.
Some of you reading this are looooong-time customers, some of you may be new. Those of you who have already bought vacuums or other supplies from us (hopefully) think what I’ve said is CRAZY, because you thoroughly enjoyed your sales experience here at Queen Vacuum!
Since I’m a terrible liar with a nagging conscience (two strikes against me already, right?) please allow me to clarify…
Our business is strong and we do quite well for ourselves. But we, like most, want to be even better! Although we repair countless vacuums each week, our favorite thing is selling new vacuums. It’s so fun and we’ve been told by customers that we are wonderful at it. However, we’ve been told by several of our regional manufacturer Sales Reps that we’re doing it all wrong!
It’s not that my team and I are not extremely good at what we do. We know our products in and out; we’re very kind, patient and teach our customers well. We genuinely enjoy the challenge of figuring out the perfect vacuum or cleaning product for your specific needs.
Although we are eager and excited to help each of our customers,
we’re so afraid of coming off pushy.Why? Because we hate it when people do it to us! We have so much passion and knowledge to share but are, admittedly, a bit timid. Top salespeople are NOT afraid to share opportunity; ask the questions; push the boundaries. Guts and risk-taking usually yield impressive results. Timidity does not pave the way to early retirement, does it?
Too often, my team and I wait until someone walks in specifically asking to buy a new vacuum today. All the while, so many folks that walk in don’t even know we sell vacuums at all! Hmm…Might’ve been nice if we said something….oops. If you ASK us a question, by golly we’ll tell you all you care to know! But we’re not going to spout pushy sales jargon to herd you into our showroom and trap you there until you buy something. …And thus, our sales number could be better. It’s hard to tell someone not to fix the vacuum they just drug in and to buy a new one right now. And I just can’t look someone in the eye and tell them they should spend more than they can really afford or “need” features that they’ll never have a use for.
I am always happy to know what product and service resources are available to me and why they are important to take advantage of. But I don’t like being taken advantage of, nor pushed into decisions when I’m in a poor frame of mind. I know we, at Queen Vacuum, need to do a better job at letting the world know what products and services we provide. But rest assured, we won’t be showing up at your house and attacking your mattress with a vacuum, nor will we be cold-calling people at dinnertime. Could you tell others for us…Maybe? Please?
If you work in sales too, perhaps you can relate to this story. However, I certainly hope you are better at your job better than I! If you’re not, perhaps this will spur you to be a more empathetic as a customer. Regardless of what side of the sales counter we’re on, it’s important to remember that we are all just people: People with goals in mind, feelings, and hopefully a working conscience. And in order for everyone to get what they need, we have to work together! Consumers have to be forthcoming and clear about their needs and expectations – yet ideally, not belligerent or demanding. Salespeople need to be patient, informed, honest and good teachers – yet not arrogant, shady or pushy. Dramatic demonstrations, special incentives, excited voices DO really work. If they didn’t, nobody would buy anything and creepy salespeople would stop it already! But in our store, we don’t have the stomach for all that drama! If you don’t either – we encourage you to come to us when you need help about a vacuum (and to send your friends and family!)
Didn’t your mom tell you that beauty is only skin deep? A person’s true, often hidden, character lies far deeper than their face. If you spent more time with someone, worked in conversation at different angles, what kind of dirt might you find? I like to think about CARPETS like people. If you spent more time vacuuming your carpet, worked the passes of the vacuum at different angles….I ask you again: What kind of dirt might you find?
First of all – What does “CLEAN” mean? People clearly have different definitions of this term. But for the purpose of this article, I mean the absence of: visible dirt or stains, harmful embedded dirt, and illness-causing allergens, critters or pathogens. Clean things not only look and smell better, but they last longer and improve your personal quality of life as you use them. Here’s why…
Looks can indeed be deceiving… In our line of work, “clean” is NOT just surface deep. For instance, vacuum cleaners are designed to take care of your carpets by removing dust, dirt, hair and allergens. Some vacuums do a very nice job of getting the stuff you see off of the carpet’s surface. But does that mean it’s really clean? NOPE! These “leftovers” are not only gross, but can cause catastrophic carpet damage over time. Many of those particles (like sand or “Carpet Fresh”) are microscopically abrasive. Left in the base of the pile, they act like tiny knives sawing away at the fiber as you walk over top. Foot traffic also grinds in dirt and dust to all layers of the carpet, and flattens or bends the pile over. This matted look is hideous, but also means that broken fibers will begin to release excessively when you vacuum later.
Lastly, if you have allergies, asthma, emphysema, or the like, one major source of your problem could be the pollens, fungus, and or chemicals caught in your carpet. Vacuuming thoroughly with a true-HEPA vacuum can bring you a lot of relief.Quality of life is always paramount, with protecting the quality of your household goods, a close second.
Here are a few TIPS from “How Things Work” to keep your carpet trulyclean and prevent damage:
Carpets need to be vacuumed once a week and more often in areas of heavy traffic. Every few weeks, take a little extra time and use your crevice tool for cleaning around baseboards and radiators and in other hard-to-reach places.
Take your time when you vacuum a carpet, especially a plush carpet in which dirt and allergens are sure to be deeply embedded. One pass with a high-powered vacuum (with brushroller/agitator) is not enough. Go over each section of carpeting several times, and work slowly to allow the agitator brush to vibrate out all the ground-in dust and dirt, while the suction takes it away into the collection bag or bin.
Pay special attention to the areas where people sit and move their feet. Vacuum these areas of heavy traffic with a crisscross pattern of overlapping strokes.
Rule No. 1 regarding spots and spills on your carpeting: Clean them immediately. If you catch the spill when it’s fresh, you’ve got a good chance of removing it totally. Visit this link for specific techniques.
Don’t let this information scare you away from carpets or rugs altogether. Aside from adding color, warmth and reducing noise in rooms, its “attractive” nature also keeps allergens on one place (on the floor and out of your face!) The trick is just to clean them properly.
Alternatively, hard surface flooring may be the “prescription” for many folks suffering from allergies, but cleaning them can pose a whole new set of surprising challenges.The good news is that nearly all of them can be solved in one shot. How? Vacuum your hard floors with a high-filtration, top-exhausting canister-style vacuum with deluxe, natural bristle brush. (And yeah, we sell those!)
If your vacuum truly does have the ability to deep-clean your rugs andtake care of your bare floors properly, fantastic! However, is it trappingALL of that collected dust? If not, then some of dust blows out the vacuum’s exhaust into your breathing air, then settles back on every surface in the house. This is a lot like sweeping a pile of dirt under the rug (because you’ve only moved the debris from one area to another instead of removing it altogether!) Not only is that a waste of time, but creepy stuff that usually is exclusive to the floor now transfers everywhere, worst of all – into your lungs! NOT CLEAN.
With all of this said how CLEAN are your floors and carpets?
I could torture you for hours with examples of lurking dirt and germs in unforeseen places, but what’s the point? We all know that some germs can make us really sick and we do our best to avoid and/or kill them. Others we gladly ingest on purpose (as I now snack on yogurt.) None of us tolerate the look of dirt and grime very well. This article is NOT an attempt to make you feel like a lazy or dirty person, turn you into a psychopathic germaphobe, or scare you into buying a type of vacuum you can’t afford. The point is to show you, that in the world of vacuums and floor coverings, the dirt you miss can be very destructive and unhealthy.
P.S. So as not to leave you discouraged…if you’d like some super easy tips to make cleaning more fun (and even glamorous) watch our new YouTube video!
I think we are pretty “nice” people…we’re told that often enough so I believe it to be true! I think it’s fun to be nice. It feels natural and right to be nice. Niceness usually means that you get niceness back – and that feels great to receive! Are we perfectly nice 100% of the time? No, nobody is, but we sure try our best! But what IS niceness? Let’s explore this topic to see if we can agree on what “nice” behavior is, then see if it’s as effective as being aggressive in a sales or service situation. Oh – and what does this have to do with vacuum cleaners? You’ll see…
I enjoy producing articles that teach a “bigger” message. But to answer that last question, remember that your vacuum is a machine. Like many others you have it frequently requires professional service and replacement parts. With that comes personal interaction between you and your service providers (like us!) And when everyone plays nice it makes every experience SO much more enjoyable and rewarding for both parties!If you work in retail you surely know what I mean! Just remember that we all are consumers also and we can all-too-quickly forget what it’s like to be on the other side. So this concept applies to your vacuum cleaner and to a multitude of areas of your life!
I believe that “nice” behavior is a cocktail of several different qualities expressed in an exchange between two or more people. If even one of these elements are left out the situation can get heated, stressful, be difficult to resolve the problem and/or cause an irreparable blowout! So, what should be in this ideal mix? In my book, the requirements are: Gentle tone of voice, a smile, patience, carefully listening to the other’s perspective or/or needs, sincerity and honesty, relaxed body language, respect for the other’s time… Be sensitive to the other person’s feelings and perspective – yet aim to NOT be so sensitive personally (i.e. have a thicker skin.)
For example, here at Queen Vacuum, most of our customers are absolutely amazing; the most delightful and appreciative folks! Yet we must remember that when a customer comes in frantic, upset, demanding or angry that their vacuum isn’t working that we shouldn’t take it personally. And like every business, we have systems in place that keep the work flow orderly, efficient and allow for thorough execution of each job or transaction. It makes work easier when customers respect that our systems are in the best interest of all of us. We of course try to be flexible and super-helpful for those who some in with true “emergencies” or special situations. BUT – badgering, questioning and extreme, on-the-spot demands are discombobulating, stressful and unfair to everyone, including other customers – like, duh LOL!!
If you ever have a real predicament, special need or lots of questions – feel free to call in advance to kindly explain and see if/when/how we can arrange a solution. We’re happy to help you any way we can! But it might be too hard for us to help and think critically when our benches are already full of complicated repairs AND the showroom is full of active sales appointments AND the phone is ringing off the hook! NO, we may not be able to unclog someone’s Dyson RIGHT NOW while they wait no matter how much they beg/make a scene/threaten to never come back again LOL!!
MORAL OF THE STORY:We all get cranky and impatient sometimes. But I genuinely believe our lives would be so much better if we were all a little nicer. Our encounters in life are often brief and with little or no background. We don’t know each other’s situations or hardships and one tiny straw can indeed break the camel’s back.
So whatever side of the sales counter we’re on, let’s ditch the ‘ol “chip” on the shoulder and choose to be happy and kind! Instead of being aggravated, impatient, demanding and/or accusatory let’s all pledge to assume the best, give the benefit of the doubt, be patient… you know, “golden rule” stuff! A little respect and a friendly smile can go a long way to getting everyone what we desire!
By the way…if YOU are a nice person too – STOP IN and be sure to send in all your FRIENDS if they’re anything like you!
We’ve arrived at the height of the shopping season… Vacuum cleaners are not necessarily the most popular of gifts, but new machines are commonly purchased at this time of year due to the excessive cleaning and preparation that goes along with entertaining! And with lots of sales come lots or RETURNS, right? Let’s hope not (we’ll get into why shortly.)
So, today I’m going to touch on a topic that’s, well, a little touchy…Returns! Ever buy a new vacuum at a big-box store and notice a little piece of paper that fall out of the box when you assemble? “…DO NOT RETURN TO THE STORE.”Why on earth is that? Besides, retailers like Wal*Mart and Costco take back everything, no questions, right?!
That note was inserted by the manufacturer of your vacuum, and it’s pretty standard-issue. They know that most consumersare on their own…They know that at any given big-box store there’s no store staff member to help a customer select correct machine for their home and it certainly won’t be assembled for them. These product manufacturers (like Bissell, Hoover, Dyson, etc.) at least provide an owner’s manual with simple instructions and a free hotlineor website link for basic troubleshooting.
Despite the disadvantages in the mainstream shopping method for appliances like vacuums, the actual setup and maintenance on most vacuums isn’t so bad.
But many folks simply lack the patience(or think they don’t have the mechanical knack) to utilize the resources provided to solve their issue.Thus, combined with the extremely liberal return policies of many retailers, today’s customers’ first inclination is to immediately return the vacuum to the store.
But what does that really solve and how does that affect the retailer?
By the end of this article I hope you’ll understand the many reasons why returning a vacuum is such a BAD IDEA! You’ll also learn it’s so much more practical and valuable to shop with a dedicated small appliance seller and repair station like Queen Vacuum!!
Here are the top 3 Reasons why it’s kinda EVIL to RETURN your vacuum:
It’s not ETHICAL. By this I mean that it is potentially hurtful to others. Here’s how…
a.) One of the unfortunately typical causes for vacuum return is a practice called “retail borrowing” or “beturning.”But, quite frankly, it’s stealing. As it relates to our business, it’s unethical to buy a new vacuum then use, abuse, neglect, get it clogged, etc. and return to the store claiming it’s defective. Everybody (should) know that it’s wrong to purchase a product with the intent to use it briefly (borrow it) then return it. Have you ever suffered through the chafing caused by carefully tucked-away price tags in that too-expensive white cocktail dress (and avoid all red-colored foods and drinks) only to return it after the fancy event? Ever buy a massive, HD flat screen TV only to return it shortly after the Super Bowl? Tisk, tisk….
What’s the Reason for your return?
b.) New Jersey consumer protection laws prevent retailers from ever re-selling certain categories of products again as “new.” Products contaminated with biological waste or water like vacuums, toilet seats and water filters fall in this category. In other words, if Home Depot sells you a new Hoover, you go home, use it for a few days and decide to return it, they can never sell it again as new. They give you back your money but take a loss. It cannot go back on their shelf, new.
c.) Thus, “beturning” a machine to a store (that really shouldn’t be accepting returns on this kind of product anyway) opens up the risk of passing contamination on to others. Some big-box stores arenot very carefulwith such returns and occasionally re-stock that contaminated product! This opens consumers up to the risk of receiving product that had collected hazardous construction materials, excrement, pet allergens, mold or insect infestation. Vacuums properly refurbished and boldly disclosed as “used” are fine, if you choose to buy one from a reputable source. But buyer beware!!
It’s not ECONOMICAL…. This type of activity actually hurts people’s pocketbooks and bottom lines in a few ways. a.) It’s not fair to make the store buy back and suffer the loss on a machine that is not actually defective (which partly this relates back to the ethics issue.) Did you realize that 9 out of 10 vacuums that are returned are simply clogged, dirty, the belt snapped from a small accident or had been operated on an incorrect usage setting (so that it wasn’t “working right.”) By returning it, the same problem is likely to happen since you’ll never learn what simple mistake you’d been making. What a waste of time in the long run. Typically, the “tenth” machine is genuinely defective and therefore is entitled to a simple warranty repair, paid for by the manufacturer (it’s their fault anyway!) Losses incurred from a liberal return policy add up quickly and the only means of a business’ survival is to raise process or cut costs from somewhere else. For consumers this means you prices go up service quality goes down.
b.) You should know that, with very rare exception, manufacturers do NOT buy back vacuums returned to their product’s retailers! Units they’ve produced that are proven to be genuinely defective can be repaired for no charge to the customer by a contracted warranty station like ours. But big-box stores do not fix anything! As you read above, the retailer simply bears the loss themselves. With laws restricting what can be done with these unwanted vacuums, they may either be sold through back-door deals to private refurbishers or will be discarded (which brings up my final point…)
It’s not ECOLOGICAL…
Because manufacturers do not buy back their “junk” from retailers, many of these mass-returned big-box store vacuums just end up in the dumps in mass quantities!
a.) Our culture has supposedly become increasingly “green-conscious,” yet we find instead that consumers are all too eager to throw away large appliances like vacuums at the first moment of inconvenience. Do you realize the quantity of plastic and precious metals involved in their manufacture? Sure, they can be dismantled and recycled….we do it all the time here at Queen Vacuum. Does Wal*Mart take the time out of their day to do that? This is why it’s most wise to purchase a high-quality, long-lasting machine that is simple and serviceable. Get help picking one out and establish a relationship with a reputable service facility like us. You don’t throw away your car when the oil needs changing or the alternator quits, right? Cheap machines are typically harder to maintain and fail very quickly. Don’t waste your money, time or the valuable space in our landfills.
What are wethinkingthese days? Back in the day, when the vacuum acted funny, Grandma or Mom likely would’ve grabbed the manual and said “Hmm…I bet I just broke the belt. Let’s check the book to learn how to put a new one back on.” Or “Rats, I wonder what I sucked up that clogged my vacuum? Let me turn it off and see if I can clear out the culprit.” Today, it seems that consumers look at these situations much differently. Their inclination is to get angry, assume that the vacuum is genuinely defective and that it’s best to return it to where they bought it. Alternately, many believe that the $50 vac they bought is literally disposable, so off the curb it goes once the dirt bin is full, belt breaks or filter gets too clogged. But other than buying back the yucky, now useless vacuum at their loss, how is Wal*Mart helping you?
CONCLUSION: Keep in mind, this is in NO WAY an attempt to steal away or diminish the rights of the consumer! After all, we’re consumers too! If you’ve been treated unfairly or received defective goods by all means, stand up for yourself! I just implore that you take a logical, fair approach (by taking whatever personal responsibility is needed) then follow the logical, fair channels to truly fix your problem. This article simply attempts to illustrate how the abuse of one’s consumer rights and stores’ policies can have very far-reaching negative consequences on the economy, our earth’s ecology, and hurt other people – consumers and retailers alike. Be thoughtful, be fair and everyone will benefit in the long run!
HELLOOOOO America! I’m Vax Muucav and welcome back to the hottest new Game Show on VacTV where we ask you…. “WHAT’S – THAT- FOR?!”
Our three challengers have raced the clock and each to guess what today’s “Mystery Items” are used for. Can YOU guess?
This is our final round. Tina, you’re in the lead. Contestants, are you ready?
Here’s today’s Mystery Item…
Now tell me, “WHAT’S – THAT – FOR?!”
MYSTERY ITEM: What’s THAT for?
Vax: Yes, Rick?
Rick: That clearly is for spreading frosting on icecream cake. Vax: Oh, I’m sorry, that is incorrect.
Vax: Stan! Tell us, what’s that for?
Stan: That is for raking patterns in Japanese ornamental rock gardens.
Vax: Oh no, that too is incorrect, Stan.
Vax: Tina! For the win, can you tell us – what’s that for?
Tina: Um, like, I think that is for sucking the cat fur and dust off the furniture?
Vax: Now Tina, for 10 Bonus points, can you tell us what’s it CALLED?
Tina: Um, a “couchy suckmeister?”
Vax: Oh, good try, but that is incorrect.
That, America, is an upholstery tool! One of three typically-standard attachments that come with most vacuum cleaners, this flat, somewhat wide tool may come with or without bristles. Either way, it is designed to maintain a gentle amount of suction over a wide, relatively flat area. It is perfect for pulling dust and allergens out of soft surfaces like upholstered couches or car seats, carpeted stairs or even your mattress. Equipped with short, stiff bristles or flocking (like a lint brush) it will pull up stubborn lint and pet hair. Do YOU have one at home? If so – and now that you know what it’s for – are you using it?!
Vax: Congratulations Tina, you are today’s big winner!
Let’s show America the amazing prizes you’ve earned today…
(Curtain Draws Back)
…A lifetime supply of premium Vacuum Cleaner Bags!
Tina: Um, wow. Thanks. But there are only 10 bags there…how will that last a lifetime? I have 2 hairy dogs.
Vax: Knew you’d ask…..
(Curtain #2 draws back)
That’s because you’ve also won a Brand New… Hairless Cat!
Get rid of those tired, hairy mutts and bask in the love and easy upkeep of this designer feline. With no fur, it’ll take forever to fill those bags!
Thanks for watching, America! And remember, the next time you encounter a peculiar object, ask yourself WHAT’S THAT FOR?!
With Mind Readers in short supply – Arm yourself with the right info to get exactly what you need!
What do PSYCHICS have to do with getting you the correct type of printer ink, brake pads or vacuum cleaner bags? NOTHING!(And that’s precisely why you wouldn’t want to rely on one to get the products you seek!)
Let’s take a light-hearted look at an issue that drives consumers, retailers and service people equally nuts…We call it “Crystal Ball Syndrome,” CBS for short. It all has to do with expecting others – specifically those we do business with – to be mind readers!
With our lives as busy as they are, weall need HELP! Thus, we employ the services of a wide variety of “helpers”(i.e. repair people, hairdressers, cleaning ladies, etc.) to do things for which we don’t have the time and/or expertise. We also need stuff (i.e. food, clothing, electronics, household supplies and replacement parts.) With so much to wade through and so many variants, we often rely on salespeople to point us to the right aisle, or to select the correct product for our needs.
But have you ever gotten all the way to the store to pick up something like an ink cartridge, only to realize that you have no idea which type (of the 100 choices on the wall) that you need! Perhaps a nearby sales clerk takes pity, trying his best to jog your memory for details that can help him figure out what style your machine takes. But you can’t even offer him the brand….All you know is that “it’s blackish/grayish, square-ish, about yea big…” Both of you are frustrated. He makes no sale and you go home empty-handed.
Crystal Ball Syndrome strikes consumers and retailers alike…no one is immune. Parties on either side of the sales counter become understandably feverish over wasted money, effort and disappointing results. The good news is that this affliction can be prevented by executing two simple measures: Homework and Communication.
As a consumer, your HOMEWORK should be to always take a little time in advance to collect your thoughts about what you want, for what purpose, and why. Be confident and secure in what you seek, up-front. If you’re undecided it will be equally helpful to tell your salesperson exactly where you need clarification or tailored advice. Details are key! Here are some examples specific to our business…
Let’s say you need a replacement part for your vacuum cleaner:
Learn the NAME of the part you need of (i.e. Drive Belt)
Write down PART/STYLE NUMBER if you can find it (i.e. Style 4/5)
Write down the BRAND and MODEL number of the machine in case (i.e. Dirt Devil, #M085590)
If you’re not sure what type of info you need to bring – or don’t know where to find it – Call first to ask.
If you want to buy a new vacuum cleaner, come in having considered:
Your budget (up front and annual)
Size of your house and number of levels
Types of hard flooring and types of carpeting
Pets? Kids? Cleaning service?
Family health issues or physical limitations like allergies or back problems
Vacuums you’ve liked or disliked in the past and why
COMMUNICATION: This, of course, works both ways. In other words, although service/sales people are not psychics, they should of course be skilled, listen carefully, and have a strong command of their responsibilities and products. They must also be clear to you, their customer, about what info they need in order to give you the product or result you seek. However, their ability to help you to the fullest relies on your ability to clearly communicate your needs, likes, dislikes, budget, deadline, other expectations or questions. Try to use the right terminology if you can, but don’t be ashamed to ask what things are called – We can all work together better when we speak the same language!
We’ve all been victims and inflictors of CBS. So remember that “helpers” can’t read your mind (and neither can customers.) Just like your husband that can’t guess why you’re upset – your cleaning lady can’t know you are allergic to PineSol if you don’t tell her. And although you shouldn’t expect us to remember the belt style for the vacuum your Mom bought from our store in 1984 – we need to be able to help you find the model number we need to look it up and get it for you!
In spite of the mental fog and lack of patience caused by our hectic lives, we can take steps to prevent further suffering… Since it’s easier to do something right from the start, vow to be prepared: Know what you have, know what you want, and learn the right terminology to use to enable someone to help you to get what you need!
The red and gold colors of fall are creeping in – but GREEN is always in season! Doing our part to help the planet starts at home. But guess what? Being environmentally responsible also has great benefits for your home and family! Here are 3 easy (yet commonly overlooked) things you can do to make cleaning more fun, effective, and environmentally friendly:
1. Use an efficient vacuum cleaner A good, efficient vacuum like the Miele U1 upright (pictured above) C1 Compact or C3 Complete Canister-style vacuum can pick up more dirt in less time, with great ease and agility. Most importantly, it will trap that dust so that is doesn’t spew back into your breathing air and settle on surfaces like your walls and furniture (yuck!) The production of electricity can be a big strain on our environment. With Miele- very little time, effort, and electrical energy is wasted running the vacuum unnecessarily!
2. Use a quality vacuum cleaner Did you know that quality vacuum brands like Miele are designed to last up to 20 years?! Instead of buying multiple cheap, “throw away” vacuums – be responsible by investing in one good machine! Not only will your cleaning chores be done faster and better – but think how much energy, natural resources, money and space in the landfill will be SAVED!!
3. Use natural, plant-based household cleaning products This is an easy one…The next time you run out of Windex® glass cleaner, or your favorite conventional, toxic all-purpose cleaner – REPLACE IT with a more responsible choice! Our favorite is Caldrea® brand aromatherapeutic household cleaners. Caldrea® offers earth-friendly, plant-based, biodegradable, cruelty-free products that smell absolutely heavenly and REALLY WORK!! We’ve personally replaced all of our products at home including window spray, dish soap, even our laundry detergent with Caldrea®! It’s made cleaning a lot more fun. And to reduce our technician’s repeated exposure to harsh chemicals, we even use Caldrea® to clean the vacuums we service! Come into Queen Vacuum to try it for yourself! FREE SAMPLES AVAILABLE!
Ahh…the kiddos are finally going back to school and hitting the books! Personally, I’m glad to no longer be legally obligated to attend an educational institution. However, I still love to learn!My favorite stuff to learn about is that which helps me accomplish something fun, or makes my life easier/better…
So we put our heads together and compiled a short list outlining some of the most important, overlooked and misunderstood concepts in vacuuming. So while we’re in the “school” spirit, I implore you to take a minute to study the tips we outline below. No, we’re not going to try to turn you into total vacuum-geeks like us. But if you find vacuuming to be a giant pain in the neck (literally or figuratively) that’s your first clue that something’s wrong! Following our guidelines just might relieve you of a lifetime of needlessly confusing and frustrating vacuum headaches!
THE A-B-C’s AND 1-2-3’s OF VACUUM OWNERSHIP:
A – It’s all about AIR FLOW! The first vacuum cleaner began as a fan and a pillowcase on wheels: Something to move air in a specific direction, and something to separate the collected dirt from clean air. Vacs are much more advanced these days, but the principle is the same: If anything impedes the air flowing IN or OUT of your vacuum, it will not “work.” So the next time your vacuum doesn’t suck, check to see (1) if something is clogging any of the pipes leading in to the vacuum or (2) if your bag is full, or the pores of the bag or other filter material are clogged (as clean air will not be able to pass through.) In other words, if air can’t get out of the vacuum, new air can’t get in!
B – BREAKAGE Happens. Remember that your vacuum is a mechanical device; a machine with moving parts. So don’t get discouraged when its performance mysteriously declines, or if an accident happens. Much like your car, your vacuum is comprised of parts that can get out of alignment, or wear out over time and need replacing. The good news is that much breakage is preventable! User error is a common cause, so take time to learn how to use your vacuum correctly. Also, always provide your vacuum with the basic maintenance it requires at the appropriate intervals (like bags, belts, filters and regular cleanings). Lastly, consider getting the vacuum fixed when it doesn’t work right, before throwing it out. Most often the problem is not as catastrophic or expensive as you fear. (And hey, at least here estimates are FREE!)
C – CHOOSE Wisely. As I’ve discussed in previous articles, your vacuum is a tool. Choose your brand and model of vacuum wisely, as the wrong type will not perform as desired on the surfaces you are cleaning, or meet other expectations you may have. Choose the right attachments for specific tasks (like using a soft dusting brush for vacuuming baseboard molding, instead of a stiff crevice tool.) Also, selecting the correct bags and filters for your model is imperative: Improper fit means leakage of dirt into your vacuum’s motor and your house! When in doubt, seek professional advice.
1 –You should vacuum your floors at least ONCE per week: Above-floor surfaces, ONCE per month. Some households require greater frequency than this, especially if there are pets. But do your carpets a favor by thoroughly vacuuming the hair and dust weekly before it imbeds too deeply in the carpet fibers. This also will bring the nap of the carpet back to a raised position, helping prevent that ugly matted look in high-traffic areas. You’ll also reduce the need to “wash” the carpets with water-extraction machines. This concept also applies to your couches, drapes and mattresses! You can avoid the formation of dust-bunnies (who are born of neglect) by vacuuming your hard floors more frequently. Eliminating the rough, sandy particles by vacuuming (instead of “Swiffer-ing”) prevents scratching and dullness in the finish of your wood floors.
2 – Every TWO years, get your vacuum serviced. You know to change your car’s oil every 3 months or 3,000 miles, and that your brakes only last so long. Your vacuum has moving parts too. Every couple of years get your vacuum a “tune-up” which includes cleaning and lubricating the brushroller and bearings, checking the electrical system, unclogging and washing, etc. (Because you can’t keep your house clean with a dirty, smelly, busted-up vacuum!)
3 – Every THREE months check your belt and filters. Over time, fine dust clogs the pores of the material that comprises your vacuum’s filtration system. If your machine uses bags, most of the vac-choking dust gets removed with the bag (once per month on average.) But if your vacuum is bagless, it is IMPERATIVE to keep its filters very clean, very regularly. Otherwise, the vacuum will suffocate causing a sharp decline in performance and overall lifespan! Lastly, most regular upright vacuum cleaners use a stretchy, rubber drive belt than can last up to a year. However, if you have ever had an “accident” in which something got caught/stuck in the brushroller, the belt has been subjected to excessive friction that may have caused it to break or stretch too much. Without proper tension, the brush can’t spin aggressively enough to pick up debris well on your carpets. Get a new belt on there, STAT!
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Our job is to make your life easier…but communication is the key. When you have a solid understanding of your cleaning needs and equipment and can convey the right information to us – we can provide you with the correct solutions. In other words, the more you understand about your vacuum, the better we can help you!And when you have the right tools for the job and the know-how to follow through…the frustration stops and the savings of time and money starts! “Knowledge is power,” baby!