Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Lax Vax Max Cracks, Packs, Sacks!

I know it's a rather boring topic, but some boring things make interesting material for writers, surprisingly. A lot of what Alan Bennet writes about is just mundane. But it's brilliant mundane.  Drama is generally about life, but as Alfred Hitchock said about drama that it was life 'with the boring bits taken out.' And he knew one of two things about drama, considering he wrote and directed some of the best ever film thrillers. So, I'm going to mention that we've been having problems with our vacuum cleaner. But it doesn't mean I am going to now use it as the basis for a play or a short story. Although, on second thoughts, it could become the basis for something or other.

We were in the middle of Spring cleaning the house. Carol has been on Half Term this week and we wanted to vacuum the lounge. Over the past week or two I'd had problems with this Vax machine and couldn't get it to pick up even the smallest bits of fluff from the carpet. I'd cleaned out the various filters and emptied the dust compartment (it is one of those machines that doesn't have a separate bag. It has a clear plastic tube where the dust and rubbish collects.) Cleared everything, the brushes were working, the tubes were clear of fluff. Not a pleasant job, but it had to be done. I explained all this to Carol and she couldn't get it to work properly either. I wasn't sure how long ago we'd bought the thing. It was bought from Very, an on-line retailer and we've bought several things from them, so I decided to go on-line and look at the list of items and find out when it was bought. Important if you want to make a claim if the thing is still under guarantee. It turned out we'd bought it in July last year, so it would still be under guarantee. Then I decided to ring the helpline, whose telephone is conveniently displayed on a nice little sticker on the machine. I got a lovely female voice tell me that there was a 'technical fault' and that the phone lines wouldn't be available for at least another two hours. I decided that I wasn't going to wait until later to phone again. I'd give it another go in the morning. The label on the machine told me that the help line was open from '8.30 a.m. until 5.p.m.' So, this morning I rang at precisely 8.30- to THEN be told that they had changed the opening hours from '9 a.m to 5 p.m.' Really irritating me by now, as you can imagine. So, I attempted to ring a little after 9. I just got an endless menu of the what's and why for's and things this and that. I wasn't going to get to get through in a month of Sundays. So, I thought, it's obvious that Vax isn't interested in it's customers, and between us we eventually decided to buy a new machine. After all, if we'd had to send the thing back, even if it was still under guarantee, we'd have to pack it up and post it off and it would cost a fortune in postage, so it was probably going to be a good deal cheaper to buy a new one. You can spend good money buying an extended warranty or guarantee (I never knew what the difference was anyway and to be honest I don't think I'm too keen to find out, thanks all the same.) when it's probably a lot cheaper to just throw the old heap of rubbish in a skip and buy a new model which is, frankly, going to be a lot more efficient than the old model. These extended things are just a rip-off anyway and just a way of extracting more hard-earned cash out of your bank account. Some stores try and sell you these 'extras' when you buy certain things, for example, Curry's or Dixon's (which is all part of the same conglomerate, which also includes Carphone Warehouse). As I said earlier, it's just a way to make more profit and no doubt, extra commission for their staff.

So it was that, when we visited Sainsbury's a little later in the morning, we had a look in their electrical department and browsed the vacuum cleaners they had on display and decided to purchase a Russell Hobbs cyclinder vacuum cleaner, priced at a little over £50.  On  eventually getting it home and assembling it (not particularly complicated as it turned out.) it proved to be a good deal more efficient and easy to use than the Vax machine which it now replaces. A small machine which takes up far less space and probably far more efficient. I'm just annoyed that the Vax machine has barely lasted in a working state for less than a year and that it's so difficult to contact the manufacturer due to the incompetence of their telephone helpline or call centre or whatever you want to call it.
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