Thursday, January 29, 2009

Of Thrift Stores and Vacuum Cleaners

When you work in an old warehouse from the early 20th century, dust and grime become your constant companions. We wage a daily battle trying to keep our workspace clean often with very little success. One weapon in our arsenal is the trusty vacuum cleaner. Unfortunately, Belay seems to be a place where vacuum cleaners come to die. I was reminded of this fact this afternoon when my assistant let out a yelp after the vacuum she was using started spewing dust like an erupting volcano.

A few years ago, I remember purchasing a new vacuum cleaner from the local Target store. I returned to Bud’s Warehouse and spent the next hour putting it together. I then left for a meeting. About an hour later I returned. As I was walking through the parking lot, I noticed a customer carrying out my brand new vacuum cleaner.

“Where are you going with that?” I asked.
“I just bought it.”
“But it’s not for sale.”
“Yes, it was and I have a receipt for it right here.”

I kindly explained to her that the sale was a mistake. I had just bought the vacuum at Target.

Now, when good vacuums go missing, I wonder. It’s the perils of working in a home improvement thrift store. Vacuum cleaners must be hidden behind lock and key…until their engines fill up with dust and they give out one last gasp. And then it’s back to Target.

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