(Cool beans. I did it!) EDIT: Update on the Vacuum Cleaner Bag Story
OK, Ladies. Here's an update. To uncover the truth about the matter, I called the Hoover company's corporate headquarters in Canton, OH.
I thought the customer service representative would immediately ask for the model number. But no. First she wanted my name and phone number.
Why does she need that? I wondered. She wants to call me back for my mother's stuffed cabbage recipe?
I told the nice lady about the Arm and Hammer take-over of the vacuum cleaner bag section at Wal-Mart, how the whole display looks like boxes of baking soda.
She responded in a matter-of-fact tone that Wal-Mart and Target do not sell "official" Hoover vacuum cleaner bags and never have. The Hoover company, she said, has no control over what Wal-Mart sells or doesn't sell.
At first she suggested thatI go online (yes - I heard it first from my CafeMom sisters ), but I told her that I need my vacuum today. Now. This very minute.
How about a hardware store? she countered.
That would be swell, I said, but Wal-Mart put our local Ace Hardware store out of business.
She seemed stymied for a second or two. "Sears," she said. Sears carries Hoover bags.
I was jubilant.
"Do you have the model number?"
My what? We've moved twice since I bought the machine, I explained. "I don't exactly know where it is."
I visualized her shaking her head and rolling her eyes in her tiny cubicle over in Canton. Once a huge industrial center, the city lost population after the decline of manufacturing. Situated in northeastern Ohio on the Nimishillen Creek, it's home to the William McKinley Presidential Library and Museum and Pro-Football Hall of Fame - two good reasons to be sure and put a visit on your bucket list. "The model number will be on the silver plate on the bottom," she said.
I tipped the vacuum cleaner upside down and there it was. I wanted to beg to differ about the color. It wasn't silver. More like a pale gray. But I kept my mouth shut and read off the numbers. "What about the fan belt?" I asked. "I still have the original from 2004."
Her response was tempered incredulity: "Fan belts are meant to last four to six months."
She explained how the belt turns the roller with the brushes, so after ten years it might not be functioning optimally.
I checked out the brushes, all crudded with thread because I sew and pick up afterwards, which is the least I can do after disasterizing a room.
She then asked for the serial number.
Why on earth? Is it company policy to keep people down on the floor for as long as possible as a punishment for calling customer service in the first place?
As I searched for the number, looking intently at all the miniscule writing on the little "silver" plate, I saw these words: "Made in the United States."
My heart swelled. Suddenly I felt patriotic. And I thanked God I wasn't talking to someone in Bangalore.