A Miele vacuum appeals to the sensual as well as the sensible.
You can clean a floor with a $5 broom and a $10 dust mop. So why pay $400 to $1,200 for a top-of-the-line vacuum cleaner from Germany’s designer of luxury appliances, Miele?
For Ted Biery, a salesman at Albert Lee appliance in Seattle’s Interbay neighborhood, that’s a silly question.
Lined up on the store’s sales floor in chic seafoam, lusty burgundy and cool charcoal, the pod-shaped Mieles look as if they were left behind by an extraterrestrial cleaning crew from a planet far sexier than Earth.
“What you’re getting with a premium vacuum is something that’ll go into a premium home,” Biery says plainly. But it’s not just the rich who are drawn to Miele.
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“Oftentimes, customers are unhappy with their experiences with other vacuums,” he says. “They’ve replaced their vacuum every three years and they’re tired of that.”
When most customers discuss other brands, they use subdued terms such as “like,” he says. “When they talk about Miele, they literally say ‘love.’ They develop an emotional attachment.”
Biery has two Miele vacuums of his own at home, and says he used to own three. “I lost one in my divorce.”
He lifts the hood on the superluxe Capricorn S5980 vacuum’s body and pulls up its cloth dust container, extolling the machine’s ability to suck up dust without leaking any of it back into a room.
He hands it over for a test run and turns it on. The 1,200-watt, insulated motor doesn’t wail; it hums.
The handle’s grip is soft, resonant, like some oversize hand massager, and thanks to rubber casters that spin 360 degrees, the podlike body doesn’t so much turn corners as caress them, like a needy cat padding around your legs.
The rotating hose stays miraculously supple as you move to and fro, another engineering trick by the folks from the Teutoburg Forest.
“Once you’ve experienced what clean truly is, and silence, and no odor, it’s really hard to go back to something else,” says Kirk Fallgatter, the local floor-care agent for Miele, looking on.
“The genius is in the details,” Biery purrs.
No, the real genius of Mieles and their ilk is an ability to turn what could be a labored marriage between form and function into a menage a trois with sensation.
The real question is, are you experienced?