Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Grace looks like a Dyson helpline

My Dyson vacuum cleaner has been poorly for a little while, losing suction in the extendable wand: the bit for the stairs, the smoke alarms (yes, you really should vacuum them, the fire brigade told me!) and in those tricky corners. It's not been doing a great job just cleaning the floor either, come to think of it. It made some funny noises this weekend and then just refused to switch on. In a house with building work being done, a muddy dog and three beloved gerbils who regularly are lifted out for a cuddle (bringing plenty of bedding and poop with them), the vacuum cleaner is not a luxury.
Dyson's are amazing, but expensive; I have a careful budget at the moment and it does not include repairs, let alone a new model, so it was with some anxiety that I rang the Dyson helpline on Monday morning.
I spoke to a friendly and clear man named Guy. He was able to find the record of my cleaner from the last time I rang and straightaway asked if I had cleaned the filter. Ah. That'll be the filter which is supposed to be cleaned every three months? The one that was so blocked up last time I hadn't cleaned it that I had to call the Dyson helpline because my vacuum cleaner wasn't working? No. I hadn't cleaned it. With clear instructions from Guy, I located said filter and the white screen. That took a bit of identifying. It wasn't really white, but I could imagine that it had been, once. I removed them and put them to one side for washing.
However, this did not sort out the wand. Patiently Guy led me through some diagnostic tests. Dyson's are impressively well-designed and all sorts of bits click on and off for easy checking. There is a U-bend underneath which came off nicely and this is what I found:
Yes, it's a pen! This U-bend isn't very big:
(The spoon is for size reference, it wasn't stuck in there as well!) That's a lot of dirt (not to mention the pen) to be stuck; well, more like jammed-in! And now it's not in there any more, not surprisingly, the wand is restored to full suction!
I was very pleased to be saved any kind of bill and to have my vacuuming power renewed. More than that, though, I was touched by this illustration of grace. Did Guy tell me I was an idiot for trying to hoover up a pen? Did he tell me that I could easily have checked this U-bend myself. Did he tell me that I should have listened last time I was told to regularly clean my filter? Did he berate me for having such a filthy vacuum cleaner and for not looking after my possessions carefully? No, he just calmly sorted me out and thanked me for calling! Grace: undeserved mercy.
When I told my husband all this on his return from work he confessed that he remembered the pen disappearing up the wand, that it was all his fault. Now, what did I just learn about grace ...

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