Feb. 3, 2016
By JAKE WRAY
A local used-vacuum shop was overwhelmed this weekend by thousands of unexpected customers.
Hosni Ali, owner of Ali & Sons Fine Vacuums in South Vancouver, said he arrived at the store Saturday morning to find a massive lineup.
“I came in to open up around quarter to 10. They had formed a queue—people were lined up around the corner and past the 7/11 over there,” said Ali.
“I can’t believe it. Normally I get five, six, maybe seven customers per day.”
Lucky bastard walked out with flyest vacuum in the store
Steve Jantzen was the first to walk out of the store with a new used-vacuum in hand. He was met by jeers and at least two cash offers of “Double what you paid.” He said that he planned to use the vacuum for a short time before flipping it.
“I just have to have the latest used-vacuum, so I’ll use this one for a month or two until the next collection of vacuums comes in, then I’ll sell this one for triple on eBay,” said Jantzen.
Ali had to call his wife to help out with the unexpected surge. They allowed only two customers into the store at a time, but the store’s inventory was still cleaned out by noon.
“Some people bought, like, four vacuums. They literally had more vacuums than they could carry,” said Ali.
Unlucky customers at back of line snubbed
When Ali posted a messy note on the shop door informing customers of the shortage, Amanda Carmichael was standing near the front of the line. She said that she had been camped outside the shop with her roommate since midnight.
“I can’t believe we sat out here in the rain for 12 hours just to get snubbed,” said Carmichael. “My phone died around 7 a.m. It’s been torture.”
Dr. Hannah Li, chair of Economics at UBC, said that floor cleanliness has become rather trendy.
“People really seem to value having carpets free from hair, dirt, and debris. Recently, it has become important to have a stylish vacuum to get the job done. If you don’t have a Dyson, you’re nothing. This fad has been reflected by the markets—used-vacuum unit prices are rising to meet the demand, and shares in used-vacuum companies are skyrocketing,” said Li.
When asked why these trends are being seen only in the used-vacuum market, but not in the new-vacuum market, Li spoke plainly.
“New vacuums, in this economy? Are you fucking kidding? Not everyone has $900 to spare, even if it is for something essential to basic hygiene,” she said.
Article originally appeared in The Other Press