Thread Number: 38110  /  Tag: Recent Vacuum Cleaners from past 20 years
Why me? I couldn't say no! Found a Kirby AVALIR for $15...
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Post# 406035   2/26/2019 at 21:26 (397 days old) by superocd (PNW US)        

My wife wanted me to pick up Applebee's on my way home from work. Well, not too far from an Applebee's was a thrift store. I figured, eh, why not burn some time while rush hour dies down a little?

What a mistake. A happy mistake, a good mistake, but a mistake nonetheless because of my wife (she doesn't know yet, it's sitting in our garage, hidden from view, behind some ski gear). I already acquired two thrift store vacuums, a Kirby Sentria and a Royal 884, but now I came home with another.

I found a Kirby Avalir 100th Anniversary for $60.00, and it was marked with a green tag which meant 75 percent off, which ended up being $15. Even at $60 I wouldn't be able to say no. It was not maintained very well (the inner bag was packed full, the brushroll worn, the aluminum oxidized) but this was a KIRBY AVALIR I was looking at, the Mercedes-Benz S-Klasse of vacuums, and it sounded great despite the poor upkeep. Despite the poor treatment of this thing, the fan looked in good shape from what I could tell so that was a good sign. Near the Kirby was a Hoover Windtunnel canister from the 1990s, some newer Bissells/Hoovers/etc., so there were no other vintage or premium vacs to test my temptation.

It gets worse. I walked by the TV and electronics section and saw a familiar computer on the shelf, a Compaq Presario 5000 with a Pentium 4 and (I think) 256MB of RAM. If anybody on here is into computers (another hobby of mine) those are the towers that have the colored front bezels and CD storage compartments on the front. I grew up with one of those and at $10 in impeccable condition (still looked brand new after almost 20 years), I couldn't resist. In the cart it went.

Is there a support group for impulsive thrift store buying?

I shall report back for updates on the Avalir when I have time to tear it down and clean/inspect it. That is if I'm still alive after my wife finds out (and she will eventually, lol).

Post# 406039 , Reply# 1   2/27/2019 at 00:18 (397 days old) by MadMan (Chicago, IL, USA)        

madman's profile picture
We are the support group.

We're supporting your impulsive thrift store buying! XD

$15 tho, what a steal. A good cleaning and polish, should be like new, eh? You could always tell your old lady that it's an investment. It's worth way more than you paid for it, and you could always sell it on a rainy day. (You probably won't though lol)

Can't help you with that old pc though, I know exactly which one you're talking about, btw.

Post# 406040 , Reply# 2   2/27/2019 at 02:09 (396 days old) by Superocd (PNW US)        

My wife is of the belief that for certain things, everybody just needs "one", including vacuums. She's probably right, my SC886 is fine enough though she'd rather have a Dyson since we don't need military grade vacuums (her words). I think I might just compromise and buy her a Dyson on her birthday, lol.

We both have OCD and see a therapist together a couple times a month if we can fit it in our hectic schedule. The main reason why she doesn't want me buying anything from the thrift store is because of the ick factor. I can't blame her and if she saw the condition that the Avalir was in, she'd kill me (I have the motor unit tied up in a garbage sack and the outer bag soaking in some Persil as I type this).

I was that same way a few years ago--could never fathom buying anything used--but now I can suppress my OCD enough to put it in the back of my truck, take it home, take it apart and clean the hell out of it. I still would never dream of bringing anything--especially vacuums--into our house straight away and that will never change, it has to be stripped down, cleaned and sanitized first.

Post# 406042 , Reply# 3   2/27/2019 at 06:44 (396 days old) by crazykirbydude (Lexington, KY)        

crazykirbydude's profile picture
Be careful when buying a Kirby that new at a price that low. It's not unusual for a stolen Kirby to be sold at a low price to get rid of any evidence. Because you got it from Goodwill, you're probably okay. I wonder why they priced it so low. Also, nice find on that Compaq! (I'm a computer enthusiast as well as a vacuum enthusiast.)

Post# 406046 , Reply# 4   2/27/2019 at 08:44 (396 days old) by human (Pines of Carolina)        
Run it like you stole it...

human's profile picture
...because at that price, you did steal it!

I agree about bringing used vacuums into the house. I usually give them a good cleaning, or at least a thorough wipe-down with Lysol disinfecting wipes, before they come through the door. It's also a good opportunity to assess any hidden damage.

One good thing about living alone is that my cats don't care what I bring home—as long as it's not another cat.

Post# 406056 , Reply# 5   2/27/2019 at 20:09 (396 days old) by rivstg1 (colorado springs)        

rivstg1's profile picture

wow. what a steal!!!!!!!  good p/u you got!!! I"m like several of you too, I don't let the purchases in the home until I"ve taken them apart and cleaning and laundered the bag. Good call!!  

lol ...I agree completely with MadMen, we are that support group!! haha

Post# 406058 , Reply# 6   2/27/2019 at 20:29 (396 days old) by texaskirbyguy (Plano, TX)        

Dude that WAS a steal for that Kirby! Perhaps the thrift store pricer simply saw a cloth bag and immediately thought 'outdated' and put a low price on it. Many people think the same and will not buy it. Stupid.. However, it had been there a while and they wanted rid of it. Others might have thought it was disgusting.
However, to smart handy people like yourself, they see lots of potential. Tear it down to the last screw, wash it all, polish the metal, and be rewarded with a high end vacuum for the cost of a lousy dinner out. Did it have any attachments?

I am a thrift store addict, as well as my ladyfriend. We are always bringing stuff home, to the point we are having to redonate what we do not want to make room for fresh stock! She is much worse though with clothes... In fact we just spent another hundred bucks at 3 stores today. Sick, ain't it....
However, ANYTHING we bring home has to be washed and/or cleaned ASAP. With household items, this usually makes them look 75% better, if not more.

Vacuums are usually nasty and who knows in what conditions they were used in, so I leave mine outside until I tear them down and wash everything. Then it all comes in and I can reassemble and repair as needed. After then it is like new.

I do toasters, fans, and radios also. I check the internals for bugs before bringing them inside. I soon tear them down and clean everything, usually with soap and water, aside from electrical parts. So far, I have found nothing too bad.

My ladyfriend only gets clothes of synthetic materials, which wash easily and does not hold stains or odors. They also bleach/degrease easily if a stain is uncovered.

So with some precautions and handiness, thrift store items can be great bargains and provide for fun resto projects!

Post# 406069 , Reply# 7   2/27/2019 at 21:50 (396 days old) by MadMan (Chicago, IL, USA)        

madman's profile picture
Congrats on overcoming your ocd. I've got a little bit of it myself. It's good that most people here err on the side of caution when bringing new (old) stuff home. As a general rule, I take items to my shop first just to assess filth level. My home workbench is in my bedroom, so...

Post# 406081 , Reply# 8   2/28/2019 at 03:07 (395 days old) by Superocd (PNW US)        

@human I joked with the cashier about paying so little that I ought to be charged with shoplifting. Unfortunately, she had no idea of the prestige behind a Kirby, let alone of the fact that she had never heard of a Kirby. I took my phone out and Googled reconditioned Avalirs going for up to $1200.00. Then it clicked with her but she remarked that she never knew that vacuums could be that expensive. The look on her face when I told her that these were sold DTD for about that much or more--up to $3k--was priceless.

@texaskirbyguy It came with some attachments, but not the whole set. I'm certainly not complaining though. It's missing the shampoo kit (if it was ever sold with one to begin with) and one of the extension wands. My Sentria (also a thrift store find back in January) came with EVERYTHING. I am debating on keeping the Avalir and giving away the Sentria as a Christmas gift to a family member.

As for the stupid low pricing, I agree. So many people probably snubbed their noses at it thinking it was old (but the Avalir bag design doesn't look old and should have been a dead giveaway) and beelined to the "newer looking/not-so-dirty" Bissells or Hoovers next to it. Well, I know better!

@madman I am not quite over my OCD but I'm at the level where I can buy thrift store items (as I just put it in the bed of my truck, I don't think I could do this if I had a car or SUV). There are crazy rituals that I go through, like when dining out, I move the chair with my foot rather than my washed hands (and to touch on my handwashing, I go through great lengths to avoid opening the door when I leave the restroom, even with the usual paper towel trick. Sometimes I'll prop the door open with my foot if the sink is close to the door. Sometimes I'll wait until somebody enters the restroom and will politely ask them to hold the door for me. I have to wash my hands after handling the menu, and my wife will wipe the table with a Lysol wipe (which she has handy in her purse). Grocery shopping is a big ordeal, I wipe all containers, packages and bottles with bleach water before putting them away (I repackage all cardboard foods and toss the cardboard packaging away.

It's amazing to realize that I have this disease as I'm an HVAC technician, which is not a clean job by any means of the definition (my wife, who has a more mild form of OCD, is an RN). I am able to cope with filth and germs in all kinds of environments but once I walk through the doors at home, I immediately strip, toss my clothes into the wash, and take a shower.

Post# 406083 , Reply# 9   2/28/2019 at 07:36 (395 days old) by Johnsmith96 (East Coast)        

johnsmith96's profile picture
I don't think any of us can say no lol. Like I said to someone else, this site seems to enable each other lol, in a good way. I think I would have done the same, cleaned it up, and maybe give it to a family member. Though most of them hate bagged machines. I have given vacuums as gifts before, but no longer do so. It seems like people are unappreciative, and in my family, people are not greatful for gifts that they didn't want. I LOVE PRACTICAL GIFTS. Back on topic lol, you made a great find, it wouldn't take 50$ from the sounds of it to bring it back to life. Some polish, new bag, brush, belt. I'm sure you can get a tool set from eBay for nothing.

Im also reluctant to pick up a used vacuum from anywhere that hasn't serviced it. I have even bought reconditioned high end vacuums that have the smell of the previous owner. While they aren't terrible, it's almost impossible to get rid of at times. You just never know the situation of the previous house it took care of. They could have had bed bugs, or someone might have used it in rental properties or a bed and breakfast. You just never know. I'm sure I'm not telling you anything you're unaware of, but I totally get where you are coming from. There are a lot of collectors that will pick a vacuum off the street, and I don't think I'd every get myself to that point.

Post# 406085 , Reply# 10   2/28/2019 at 08:19 (395 days old) by got2bjennyg (Brunswick, Ohio, USA)        

got2bjennyg's profile picture
Wow- that was a GREAT DEAL! Congrats!

Thrift stores can be fickle on pricing. I found a large, Waterford Crystal Clock at my local GW price at $3 in perfect, pristine condition, and I brought it up to one of the workers at the store and told them what it was that that it was worth much more. Their response was, "Well you should buy it then since it's such a great deal." So I did. Other times, I see used, dirty items in not such great shape selling for as much, if not more, than the new price.

Post# 406130 , Reply# 11   3/1/2019 at 08:58 (394 days old) by crazykirbydude (Lexington, KY)        

crazykirbydude's profile picture
I have mega OCD. It sucks. :/ But I cant wait to see how the Kirby works for ya! I love my Sentria!

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