I had the great pleasure of meeting Elliot the other day. Elliot is the seven year old son of the nephew’s friend, whom I had already heard much about and his amazing world of vacuum cleaners. So when the nephew brought a boy with a big smile into my flat, I was charmed to finally meet the much-lauded and delightful Elliot in person.
If you want to know about vacuum cleaners, forget about the salesperson whose job it is to know about vacuum cleaners, and go straight to ‘expert Elliot’. Being on the autism spectrum, vacuum cleaners are the chosen object of his laser focus, and at seven years old I reckon he could hold his own in a conversation with the chief vacuum cleaner engineer at Miele. I choose Miele as an example, because as Elliot was saying good-bye to me, he advised me to buy a Miele when I next bought a manual vacuum cleaner as the best value for money. He knew they were more costly, and quoted the retail price to me, but assured me that I would get twenty to thirty years out of one, and possibly up to forty years if I was extra lucky. Seeing as I’m not generally hard on the things I own, if I bought that vacuum cleaner today it may still be going when I’m not.
The nephew had promised Elliot a treat on this particular day – to check out my Vorwek robot vacuum cleaner, which had been a gift to me, and take it back to his flat to give Elliot the double-treat of using it there. At this point, before child welfare services are called to slap the nephew in handcuffs for the labour exploitation of a child, the nephew gave Elliot some money for his work, even though for him it was just about having fun. Upon spotting my robovac in the corner of my lounge, Elliot made a beeline for it whilst already informing the nephew that this was a fancier one than the Roomba he’d erroneously been told it was, and informed us how much it sold for.
Keen to get it going, he had my robovac unplugged, in his arms, and heading back to the nephew’s flat in a trice. When the nephew bought his flat from me, I left my old but still functional manual vacuum cleaner there for him. Elliot gave the nephew detailed care instructions for it, and, as was it a bagless cleaner, pointed out a second filter in it that needed to be kept clean that I’d never been aware of.
I hadn’t used my robovac for a wee while, as I’d been using my manual vacuum cleaner instead for various reasons, so the battery need re-charging. While it was charging up at the nephew’s flat, Elliot decided to get onto vacuuming with the manual cleaner, and spent two hours meticulously vacuuming with the tiny upholstery foot on the end of the hose, having spurned the big foot normally used on the carpet as not doing a good enough job. The nephew and Elliot’s mother played video games. Once again, I give assurances that Elliot was having fun.
Then it was time for the robovac to show what it was made of. Amazingly, it still picked up enough fluff ‘n stuff to require two emptyings, and that was without going over the whole flat. I thought that was rather impressive of the robovac. However, if it had been Elliot’s favoured Miele which did the first sweep, instead of the getting-tired cleaner the nephew has, I wonder how much fluff ‘n stuff the robovac would have picked up after that.
When the robovac got returned, Elliot gave me a useful tip about emptying it which I didn’t know, and then wanted to check out my manual vacuum cleaner as well. I think it passed muster as adequate, especially as it is a bagged cleaner which, as Elliot explained, keeps the filters clean. And, as he explained further, buying bags more frequently, and replacing filters less frequently were cost comparable. Not unsurprisingly by now, he then quoted me the prices of each.
It would be entirely futile for me, or just about anyone, to try and outclass Elliot in his knowledge of vacuum cleaners, but I couldn’t resist testing him with just one question – “When was the first manual domestic vacuum cleaner available for use in the home?” Without even looking at me, he replied “1908”. I asked no more questions.
Elliot’s goal is to set a Guinness World Record for owning the greatest number of vacuum cleaners. Currently, he has thirty-seven of them. The money he got from the nephew is going towards the next acquisition for his goal 🙂