Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Experiencing technical difficulties since 1999

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Keep Watching The Skips!

aka why did they throw that out?
  (+17, -2)(+17, -2)
(+17, -2)
  [vote for,

When I was deciding on a new vacuum cleaner, I found the choice very hard to make, being confronted with so many options, prices and mixed messages. I decided that the best method was to think about this problem the other way round. ie which were the ones to definitely avoid?

With this in mind I went to my local recycling centre where giant skips (known as dumpsters in the colonies) were filled to the brim with all kinds of segregated post consumer materials, including one full of appliances.

I asked one of the helpful attendants "which vacuum cleaner do you get in here the most?" Without any hesitation he laughed and told me the answer, adding "somedays the skips are full of those bloody things." I now at least knew which one NOT to buy.

This brings me to the idea publishing a league table based on the monthly totals of the contents of these skips. It wouldn't be that hard to do either, just a matter of logging in each item as it was dropped off and compiling the data.

Extra detail would liven up the whole process i.e. a brief reason for disposal? For example: my friend's washing machine was destroyed when a rat got inside it and was electrocuted after chewing through a wire. (true story)

xenzag, May 04 2009

Cheesoid http://www.youtube....watch?v=B_m17HK97M8
"cheddar status... ten days to use by date!" [xenzag, May 04 2009]

Cheese alert http://conelrad.com....php?id=313_0_1_0_M
[normzone, May 18 2016]


       I like it but have a caveat: what about trends and built-in obsolescence? I spend quite a lot of time examining the contents of skips and what people abandon is often in good working order but just outdated, for instance CRT monitors and TVs. Also, when products fail, do they tend to fail in the same way? I suspect they do, but if not, there's a free source of spare parts.
nineteenthly, May 04 2009

       Age of product would be a good category. ie there is nothing strange about replacing a 10 year old computer, but other items should last much longer.
xenzag, May 04 2009

       The oldest computer in this house is three decades old.
nineteenthly, May 04 2009

       sinclair spectrum?
po, May 04 2009

       This is brilliant and should be done. Correcting it for factors such as reason for disposal would give an improvement, but would add complexity. [+]
MaxwellBuchanan, May 04 2009

       No, [po], sadly i have never owned a Speccy. It's a Tandy Color. They can be induced to run OS9, it seems, which is one of the things which i've never quite got round to.
nineteenthly, May 04 2009

       //With only marginally less difficulty than training a goldfish to answer the phone.//
Ah, my next project.
nineteenthly, May 04 2009

       You also need to correct for popularity - for example, if a certain model of vacuum cleaner has 50% of the entire market and the dump guy says that they are being thrown away by the hundred, they may still be a far more reliable vacuum cleaner than average. In fact, you should also correct for intensity of use - if a certain model of vacuum cleaner is favoured by people with dogs and small children it may appear less reliable but will, in fact, have had to cope with more demanding usage conditions. If the dump extracted diagnostic information from the vacuum cleaners' computers and graded the discarded cleaners according to market share and age of the cleaners, the aggregate tonnage of dust collected, mean and median particle size collected and aggregate duration for which the cleaner was operated with a over-full bag, then you'd be able to make an informed choice.
hippo, May 04 2009

       You mean vacuum cleaners have a computer? For what purpose do they use it? I think it's a good time to repost "cheesoid", one of my favourite comedy sketches of recent times. (see link)
xenzag, May 04 2009

       Vacuum cleaners only have a diagnostic computer in the imaginary world inhabited by my annotation, but there's a lot, potentially, that a vacuum cleaner computer could do.
hippo, May 04 2009

       There is such a thing as a robot vacuum cleaner and that does contain a computer.
nineteenthly, May 04 2009

       The point of this is that the centre that I visited has very broad cross-section of users. The particular model (I won't name it) is a recent addition to "Vacuum world"; has been hyped into orbit by advertising; has a high design profile; a reputation for reliability and toughness, so I would expect them to NOT be skip fillers.
xenzag, May 04 2009

       The general approach I take on this is (where I have the time and am not prohibited by expense) I'll try to research the industrial market. Products created for Professional/Industrial use tend to avoid the flashy plastic swooshes and nuances added by the 'design' department and focus on pure, unadulterated function.   

       As soon as something is created for the "consumer" market, you know it's going to be a watered down, flashy, shazam, toy-type product that's going to be marketed by sitting on a shelf in a flashy box, rather than poured over by interested professionals who's living depends upon the chosen item's ability to perform its intended function - industrial models also tend to conform to standards in terms of fittings and componentry.   

       So, if I were buying vacuum cleaners, and wanted to get a reliable one, I'd probably Google "Industrial Vacuum Cleaner" and research that side of the market a little, rather than wasting time fiddling about in the consumer side of the market.
zen_tom, May 05 2009

       //rather than poured over //
sp. "pored", shirley.
coprocephalous, May 05 2009

       //poured over// ahem...yes - it's a common benchmarking test, you take an appliance and pour a cup of tea over it to see how robust it might be under that kind of rigorous treatment - the results of these tests are then published in industry journals which are in turn studied by interested parties.
zen_tom, May 05 2009

       Said tea didn't suddenly start calculating improbability, did it?
RayfordSteele, May 05 2009

       Brilliant idea... But you MUST incorporate a SQVI (Superior Quality Volume Inclination) Let's say that one particular vacuum cleaner is so superior to others that it out-sells all other models 10,000 to one.
r_kreher, May 18 2016

       /my friend's washing machine was destroyed when a rat got inside it and was electrocuted after chewing through a wire/   

       I am so glad I read that in time! But now, how to wash the rat?
bungston, May 18 2016

       I was recently going to buy a skip, but I decided against it after seeing how many of them were at the recycling centre.
MaxwellBuchanan, May 18 2016

       Where do you dump the largest skips that have passed their useful lifespan?
xenzag, May 19 2016


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