Friday, January 15, 2016

Choice Is Not All It's Cracked Up To Be

"Everyone who comments on my blog is telling me to get a Shark Navigator vacuum," I told a friend last week.

"I have one, too! It's great," she said. "But get the Lift-Away model - it turns it into a canister vacuum."

Well, that settled it. I knew which model to get and everything. I marched myself over to Target, confident for once that I could accomplish an appliance purchase with little effort. No agonizing for 2 years, like we did with the dishwasher. No multiple marriage-wrecking visits to Best Buy, the way we did when looking for stoves. Nope - I was just going to walk right into that store, select a box that had "Shark Navigator LiftAway" printed on it, and sashay up to the cash register with my Red Card in hand.

Folks, there are a LOT of Shark Navigator LiftAway models, all with lots of different parts. There was the professional model, and there was the LX model, and I don't know what all. I stood in front of that vacuum cleaner display for almost an hour, messing with the various displays and staring at the boxes, while  Rachel and Susie continually circled back to me and asked, "Can we go yet?" 

"No!" I told them. "I can figure this out. I just need a little more time, that's all." And the girls would head back to the stuffed animal display, or the Valentines Day candy aisle, or wherever children spend their time when they are trapped in Target by a parent's chronic indecisiveness.

Yeah, I did leave empty-handed. I couldn't HANDLE the choice.

As luck would have it, a few days later in Costco, I noticed a Shark Navigator LiftAway displayed on an end cap. It was 20% off. It looked okay. Most importantly, there were no other models to compare it to. I put that box in my cart and strolled away, trying to look as if I were a normal adult who could make everyday decisions.  All the way through the store (and it is a BIG store), I agonized over whether I should buy that vacuum cleaner. Was it lightweight enough? Would I lose all those attachments? Was it too much money? Was there a better model somewhere else? 

I managed to pay for it by telling myself Costco is great at handling returns. And, with Rachel due to babysit a neighborhood preschooler in our home the next day, I had no choice when I got home but to unbox my purchase and actually, you know, use it on the playroom carpet. The vacuum worked great, once we figured out all the buttons. I even tried out the special speed brush attachment to clean under the end tables. I figured I might as well do that right away, before I lost it. I'm nobody's fool.

So, yeah, decision accomplished. I'm sure my neighbor is happy that I'm no longer borrowing her vacuum cleaner. And, with any luck, this thing will last until I am too senile to care whether the carpet is clean or not. That's my only hope, because Lord knows I don't have it in me to keep making this sort of wrenching decision year in and year out. 

You know, it's a good thing I had my kids when I was younger and able to make decisions more efficiently. Otherwise, they might have had to go without names for years, while Larry and I agonized over which ones to give them. Not that I don't tend to call them by the wrong names now, anyway, but still...

[Vacuum cleaner image: Vacuum Cleaner HQ]


  1. Huzzah for Costco!
    I can barely choose toothpaste anymore, so I can't imagine trying to choose a vacuum cleaner. I told my husband about the Shark and he proceeded to tell me about other choices, and my brain just sort of shut down. We'll keep on with our not-so-great vacuum until it sputters its death gasps. And then I will cry and wail and return here for help.

  2. I was afraid that you were going to get a Shark and then hate it, so I'm glad you at least like it. (I was too cheap to buy the lift-away model; I make do with the hose. My model is called, and I'm serious, the "Purple Vacuum".) I LOVE dumping out the cup of crap it sucks up--WHEE! Look at all that dirt! Don't forget to take that top filter part off and tap out the dust; pretty often, too. It really fills up. So glad we convinced you!

  3. I do not have a vacuum, only a few shop vacs. I tore the carpet up years ago. There is linoleum on the floors with de-laminating plywood under it and real wood floor under it all. Eventually I will get the urge to pull up the cheap stuff and either refinish the floors or put down laminate.

  4. Oh! I am SO glad that I'm not the only one who stresses over these types of decisions! I spent over a year trying to buy a vacuum. I won't even begin to tell you what I went through trying to choose my most recent cell phone (over 5/6 years ago! Yes, I need to find a new one. But I'm dreading the choice!)

  5. I had a similar shopping experience when stopping in Target to quickly pick up a Shark. It was confusing so I ended up grabbing the one on sale. That was the only way I could make a decision. I had to do it there and then before my husband knew we needed a vacuum, because he takes weeks to research before any purchase. I couldn't wait that long. It's been a few months and I'm not sure he knows we have a new vacuum yet.

    1. Yes, there is the husband factor here, also. We have 2 broken ceiling fans because he hasn't had time to "research" new ones yet. Next time he goes away, I'm heading to Home Depot, getting some fans, and calling someone to install them.

  6. Ha! It took my husband and I AGES to name our kids. I said I wouldn't leave the hospital till we'd decided, and luckily they gave me an extra day with the twins while we fought, er, debated. We nearly gave our son two names, a different one for each of us, but happily were able to reach a compromise when he was only 2 1/2 days old.

    1. I changed Anna's name on Day 5. After that, we always gave ourselves a few days, just to make sure.

  7. Marketers should take note. I think this is pretty common - I know I certainly get overwhelmed when there are too many choices. I'm glad you were able to leave the store with the vacuum cleaner. And leave the hospital with the named babies.

  8. Congratulations!
    I can identify with the dithering about making that choice. I spent a stupid amount of time deciding which bleach to buy yesterday. Seriously. Bleach.

  9. What is it with the decision making? Are you a Libra, by any chance? All of my Libra friends (and that includes me, ha) have this same disorder. I will stand in front of the cheese section at the store for ages, trying to decide which one is the best value and which flavors will be welcomed at home.

    That's why Costco is so awesome: they narrow down the choices for you. Best wishes on your new Shark!



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