Epic VAC Battles of History!

 Can you see past the fierce advertising and find what’s really best?

“Who will win? You decide!”

I don’t watch much TV, but boy do I love YouTube! BTW – hopefully you’ve checked out our QueenVac YouTube channel! It’s a little rough in its infancy, but we’re always improving and our gears are always turning with new ideas. Even though I try to keep my YouTube consumption reigned in I can’t resist parodies and generally well-made videos. They’re so creative, inspiring, and of course, entertaining. All too often I pause to jot notes as my mind distorts the video into some vacuum-related concept! I’ve developed a similar annoying habit with songs and commercials. In any case, one of my favorite channels, ERB, combines history and music into hysterically funny parodies called “Epic Rap Battles of History.” 

 

ERB videos include match-ups like Bill Gates vs Steve Jobs; Wright Brothers vs Mario Brothers; Myth Busters Vs Ghost Busters; Darth Vader vs Hitler. See the pattern?  How could I stop my mind from imagining blockbuster battles like Hoover Windtunnel vs Eureka Whirlwind; James Dyson vs David Oreck; Dyson Animal vs Miele Cat & Dog? Oh goodness, the endless possibilities! But considering that videos (even as rudimentary as mine) take days to make, you’ll have to settle for this article and a few photoshopped graphics to envision these rivalries…for now!

James Dyson
James Dyson

The major vacuum

Oreck Advertisement

manufacturers do a pretty fierce job of “battling it out” in the real world. The money some brands spend on advertising probably tops the GDP of a small nation. Others prefer to invest far more in product development and quality manufacturing than on ads. Regardless, it’s easy for a consumer to get lost in the hype; mis-led into buying products that are a poor fit for their needs, or don’t do not perform like they seem on TV.

 

So how do you navigate this “battleground” of vacuum advertising to get the product that’s right for you and will be worth your investment?
Here are a few simple tips:

1)   Look at the key words in the advertising claim. Are the terms clearly definable and provable? Do they even seem like an accurate method for measuring the vacuum’s cleaning performance? If it seems too good to be true, it just might be.

2)    Investigate instances of repair. Check with experts like us; a business that sells and repairs vacuums. We are authorized for so many brands that we see how they hold up in real life and what types of issues they come in for under warranty. Online reviews can be helpful too, but look for ones that were written several months (or even years after it was bought.) Many vacs work just fine out of the box and for a month or so. But often they break, fail or require more maintenance than you’re willing to perform.

3)    Is it the correct format for your household? The demonstration of that snazzy bagless upright vacuum on QVC might have shown it making mincemeat of glitter and cereal crumbs on berber carpeting. But will that machine well suit your bare floors or shag area rugs? And although it looks so easy to empty that “convenient dirt bin,” can your allergic children tolerate the dust cloud left behind in the kitchen when you empty it at home?

So what are our lessons today? Let the manufacturers battle all they want. In fact, sit back and enjoy the show! Just don’t believe everything you see on TV or a vacuum’s packaging (at least not without doing a little research first!) If you rely on an advertised feature working exactly as claimed, please consult an expert (like us) to make sure that it can live up to your expectations. And someday soon you may even have the pleasure of watching our own “Epic VAC Battle” production on youTube!  We feel information should be administered honestly and fairly, yet with a healthy dose of humor! So we’re always excited to produce videos and articles that are not just educational, but quirky and fun. Please keep your suggestions coming for questions and topics and “contestants” you’d like us to feature. Now, go enjoy the shows!View our videos on YouTube

Epic RAP Battles
Since I’ve blatantly plagiarized their name, you should at least check out ERB’s YouTube channel! Warning – It’s addictive!

GIRL POWER at Queen Vacuum… Learn how our talented LADIES make your life easier!

Dead lifting vacuums
Who knew Vacuuming was such good exercise?!

We are pretty big on fitness here at Queen Vacuum. And do we count vacuuming as exercise? Youbetcha!!  But when we talk about “girl power” we’re not just talking about our ability to single-handedly dead lift a Dyson. We’re talking about our general skill and overall AWESOMENESS!

“TOOOOT!!”  (That’s was our own horn, sorry!)

We know that our business is unusual and quite a throwback to say the least. But it’s extra “weird” that aside from the primary owner, John (my poor, outnumbered husband) that we’re operated mainly by ladies! Thanks to incredible mentors like old “Uncle Gene” and John, Erika and I have absorbed a ridiculous amount of vacuum-related knowledge! I also imagine it’s helpful that she and I (albeit from two different states) both grew up working on classic cars and building things with our dads from the time we could walk. That kind of experience is pretty helpful in a mechanical field like this! All of that aside, we each impart our own unique flair and skills in this store – which are what make YOUR experience here more valuable and enjoyable!  

What skills? Oh geez, there are so many “hats” to wear here! Sales, repairs, ordering, re-stocking, assembling, warranty processing, accounting, marketing, recycling, shipping, calls and reminders, data-entry and recordkeeping…now we even have website design & maintenance, social media updates…the list goes on!  Back in the day, John used to have to everything by himself. But since the business has grown, so has the workload – and boy, is he lucky to have us girls!

[CLICK HERE to learn more ABOUT US… our whole team and our store’s long, rich history!!]

Erika & Rachel from Queen Vacuum
Happy girls Erika & Rachel!

Most days you’ll find one of our Master Technicians, Erika, at the repair bench.Whether it’s a spitting Oreck, a sparking Kenmore, a miserable high-tech Dyson warranty repair, or just a gentle Miele cleaning service, your vacuum is in great hands!  Record-keeping of all the repair work we do is a critical part of the job too. Erika’s technical skill combined with her attention to detail is part of what sets our services apart. You can also be sure that she keeps our shop well-stocked with the most critical replacements parts and ensures that warranty repair claims are flawlessly executed to save you time and money!

I, Rachel, spend a lot of time these days in “paperwork land.” Well, it’s more digital than paper these days….including these newsletters! My office is communication central and where the “back-end” of the business is kept well-oiled. I make sure Miele customers are reminded to replace their HEPA filters every year and maintain all records.  I also produce resources like our website, Facebook and YouTube channel and keep them up-to-date and brimming with useful information for you!  BTW – be sure to send me your suggestions of what you’d like to see or know – otherwise I have to guess! You should also know that I’m the one who sends out the referral commission checks each month!! And if you’d like $20 bucks +, please click here to print out some Referral Cards!

When not tied to the office or repair bench you’ll find one of us ladies at the sales/service counter or in the showroom selling new vacuums. This is the LIVE arena where we seek victory over the frustrations of our customers! Remember, the average “Joe” arrives furious after his brand new Electrolux from Kohl’s is already broken. “Jane” is at her wits end after scouring the web for weeks for the “best vacuum” (while her house is currently a dustbunny-infested disaster!) Our greatest challenge and JOY is to help them leave with a smile! We’ve learned that people feel better and are extra appreciative when we just lend a sympathetic ear then TEACH them something useful about their vacuum or situation. Patient explanation and truthful, useful information are precious commodities that you just don’t receive everywhere. Wouldn’t you like to be told why your vacuum broke in the first place, how your warranty actually works, how to prevent future breakage and/or how to use and maintain your new vacuum correctly?  Consider these our gifts to you, just for being our customer!

CONCLUSION

“Girl power?” Don’t worry…no fem-nazis here. Besides, John is too great of a guy to be overshadowed and we are a true, equally-awesome TEAM!

It’s just funny how some folks are shocked to see that women not only co-own, but operate and do the repairs here!  Yes, we “know our stuff” and how get our hands dirty…very dirty! But we also possess that gentler, friendly, patient side that stereotypically lacks in a business of this nature.  A woman’s touch? Maybe.  So stop in for a visit and be sure to send along your friends and family…You can trust we’ll take great care of you all!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

UPDATERecently, our dear Erika moved out of state to take care of family. We miss her sooooo much!! Not sure if she’ll be able to come back to work with us or not 🙁   So in the meantime John and I have divvied up her workload (like the “olden days” when we first took over this shop, before we had any help.) We certainly have some seriously talented and productive shoes to fill!  John has re-assumed his place as the sole, master vacuum (and small appliance) tech.  He also spends a lot of time with customers in the showroom helping them pick out new vacuums! I’m up front most of the time at the sales counter now, and taking care of eeeeeeeverything else in-between and behind-the-scenes. But, due to my personal nature (an excessively girly, detail-oriented, chronically multi-tasking, gym beast) I think there will still be plenty of GIRL POWER to go around LOL!  So although we have to work a bit harder than usual, we still are able to take fantastic care of you!!    Oh! And long-time Erika customers/fans…please feel free to send in your love and wishes to her – we’ll be sure to pass them along 🙂 

Trick or Treat? False Claims or Real Benefits…

….the frightening reality of vacuum marketing.

Scary Vacuum

In honor of Halloween, I always like to address some of the spooky, freaky and downright scary aspects in the world of vacuuming!  What do I find to be the scariest? FALSE MARKETING CLAIMS!!

Disappointing, perhaps; But scary? You would think that spending as much time with vacuum cleaners as we do would make us numb to some of the more disgusting aspects of their existence. On the contrary: We’ve become hyper aware of how different machines work, how they often don’t work, and how their performance sometimes differs greatly than claimed or expected. What makes a false or misleading claim scary is the consequence the user may suffer from believing it!

Following are some CLAIMS attached to certain vacuum cleaners. See if you can guess which claims are a “TRICK” (as in totally bogus or just misleading) or a “TREAT” (that is, a feature that really has value.) THE ANSWERS MAY SURPRISE YOU! 

“So powerful it can pick up a Pick up a bowling ball!”  Answer: TRICKoreck holding bowling ball
This one has been around forever, and is just plain hysterical. Oreck uses a bowling to demonstrate the suction power of its little companion canister vacuum, the “Buster B Vac.” The use of the funnel-type device at the end of the Oreck’s hose is the key.  The funnel cups around the bowling ball providing a suction cup-like effect, truly requiring only the slightest amount of vacuum to provide the seal. This is NOT a great indicator of suction, let alone cleaning performance. In fact, this little Oreck has some of the weakest suction power on the market.

“No Loss of Suction”  Answer: TRICK
This is Dyson’s famous line. The company did suffer some slight legal trauma over this claim…they now have to include some fine print that supports the point.  But the mighty Dyson can and will lose suction eventually. The tag line is not exactly trickery, but too many people make the errant assumption that they don’t have to wash the vacuum’s filters or empty the dust collection bin regularly. If this constantly-required, at-home maintenance is neglected the poor Dyson (or any other bagless vacuum) suffocates and just won’t suck anymore. That equals a dirty house.

“Zero Emissions”   Answer: TREAT!
Most of the allergy-provoking particles in your home are sized between 0.1 and 10 microns: a fraction of the width of a human hair. The bodies of many vacuums leak badly, allowing fine dust and allergens to escape once sucked up.  On the contrary, vacuums like the Miele C2 and C3 canisters and most Dynamic U1  uprights rate as some of the best filtering vacuum cleaners on the market. Using an air particle scanner, a Miele will record a zero emissions rating at .3 microns setting. I’m not aware of any other “sealed-system” domestic upright or canister vacuum that achieves this degree of clean air being exhausted back out into your home. This means great relief for allergy sufferers! (And those who hate having to dust the house after vacuuming!)  The good thing is that this claim is pretty well regulated, so when you see it you should be able to believe it.


“No expensive bags to replace”  Answer: TRICK

bagless vs bagged vacuumDefine expensive! Many bagless vacuums are advertised using this lie – I mean line. The majority of these machines utilize a pleated HEPA filter in the dust collection bin, which serves to separate the dust from the clean air inside the vacuum (which a bag would normally do.)  The trick is that these filters are not free! They need to be replaced every 6 months to one year, which can cost you the same annually (and sometimes up to twice as much) as disposable paper vacuum bags.  Lastly, the long term expense you really have to consider is the vacuum itself. Since most bagless vacuums manage dirt so poorly internally, their motors tend to short out much sooner than their bagged counterparts…replacing a whole vacuum frequently is what really gets expensive!

 

So what’s the moral of the story? Don’t believe everything you see on TV or a vacuum’s packaging (at least not without doing a little research first!)  If you rely on an advertised feature working exactly as claimed, please consult an expert (like us) to make sure that it can live up to your expectations. Look at the KEY WORDS in the claim. Are the terms clearly definable and provable? Do they even seem like an accurate method for measuring the vacuum’s cleaning performance? If it seems too good to be true, it just might be (or at least not without paying the price of extra money or your time.)

 

By: Rachel Decker (Co-owner, Queen Vacuum)

If you have a specific/interesting question about vacuums, cleaning, maintenance, product reviews, etc., that you would like to be featured in our newsletter or blog… send an e-mail to: info@queenvacuum.com (Subject: “Newsletter Topic”)
One lucky question will be selected for every issue!
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