Monday, March 17th, 2008
I confess. I am probably more likely to toss out my crap vacuum cleaner and buy a new one before I lug the thing in my granny cart (pimped out rims to come, so don’t hate) to a vacuum repair dude. Well, it seems my attitude has contributed to the demise of the vacuum repair field—and that really stinks!
Obviously, I’m not alone in terms of my attitude: disposable, fast, don’t want to be bothered, want it NOW… because if I were alone John Huling wouldn’t be out of business. Thanks to jerks like me and those plastic, light-weight vacuums, Huling, after more than 50 years, is out of a job. See, back when vacuums first came out, they actually were investment pieces, which required maintenance checks and occasional repairs.
These days, that’s just not the case. Says Huling: “Plastics reduced costs for manufacturers but made the machines difficult to take apart. [They] work as well as the old ones and they’re cheaper. [But] they’re not as durable and you can’t repair them.”
Another sticking point for me about this story, not only because it’s a weird job, or was a weird job, is something Huling said about family—a concept that I’ve been pondering quite heavily in recent months….
“I could name my hours … so when the kids were growing up, if one of my sons was in a play, I could break for a couple of hours and go over.”
Now, he says, with a rueful smile, “My kids are all more loaded than I am. But they also get up every morning at 6 o’clock and go to work, which I could never do.”
Here’s a guy who ran an honest business, came from three generations of vacuum repair dudes, and who’s departure is actually very upsetting to some members of his community… so my thought is, what’s happening to us? So many of us seem consumed with status, ego, and money and we’re losing site of the big picture: Family, values, honesty, taking the time to smell the flowers and enjoy life’s simple pleasures, like a friendship with the guy who fixes your vacuum.
Or maybe, I’m just feeling bad about ruining Mr. Huling. Either way, you can read the entire story here.