Sunday, March 4, 2007

The Ingenious Vacuum Cleaner Industry

Vacuums used to do what they claim, "clean carpets and bare floors." They were made of metal and had amazing vacuuming prowess—renowned for their durability. Today, it is a totally different story as the industry has evolved from floor-care to the floor-miscare business. The vacuum cleaner industry has drastically changed and you would think that with time, research, and development, this would spur innovations. Ideally, vacuums should progressively improve. Well, completely wrong. Nowadays, vacuums are made of plastic, everything goes through both the fan and motor. In the 21st century, if you pick-up a nickel, dime, sock or penny –BANG! Your hit with a costly repair. By the time you shut down the machine to examine the situation, damage is already done. You have two options (which I am sure you, the reader, never had to confront –right?)

1) Throw it away

2) Pay for a costly repair.

The cost of the repair is much greater than the purchase price of a new junky-vacuum. Warranties are not worth the paper they are written on (manufacturers warranty is against defects not against picking up something hidden under a bed like a sock). As a result, you just toss out the recently-bought vacuum and go to your nearest big-box store.

The vacuum cleaner manufacturers made this all possible, who else? Instead of building a sturdy, powerhouse machine, they have changed their approach. Today, they understand the marketplace and the consumer’s behavior. Now, the vacuum cleaner industry produces cheap vacuums with a limited life-span –made to break. Planned Obsolescence. Ingenious idea--right? Selling volume over quality, especially if the consumers are still obliviously buying the product. In fact, the machine consumers think are American made, are no longer. People think they are buying the iconic Hoover, but in fact, Hoover is owned by Hong Kong's finest --Techtronic Industries Co. (which owns, among other companies; Dirt Devil, Royal and Regina). Your mother and her mother’s favorite vacuum,“Electrolux” brand (which does business under, among other companies, Eureka) is not the same company that has been doing business in the U.S. under the Electrolux name in the past. The old Electrolux changed their name to Aerus Electrolux. By exploiting the name-brand recognition of Hoover, Dirt Devil, Electrolux, they squeeze profits from the shell-company, reduce costs (ie. quality) and pass on these ‘savings’ to the consumer.

The bottom line is -
Poor vacuum cleaner construction with short life times ensue vacuum companies stay in a constant state of profit.