The year 1899 was an interesting one in the history books. Gold was reportedly discovered in Nome, Alaska, Scott Joplin registered his Maple Leaf Rag for copyright, and the first woman was electrocuted in the electric chair at Sing Sing Prison in Ossining, New York.
1899 was also significant for two other events.
Carl Miele and Reinhard Zinkann founded the Miele company and my grandfather was born.
As I’ve blogged a few times, my Miele vacuum was a very good financial and cleaning investment for me. You won’t find me sleepwalking and ruminating “Out, damned spot” because my German canister vacuum is the solution for “seriously clean living.”
Last Saturday, I stopped into the Vac Shak in Lewiston to pick up some vacuum bags. I made my purchase then stopped to look longingly at the Miele display. Naturally, I had a conversation with the store owner about buying a newer model Miele; wouldn’t it be easier to have one upstairs and one downstairs? Yes, it would.
Knowing Ron Beaudoin and his crew from RB Construction would arrive on the following Monday to install a standing seam metal roof on my garage, screen porch, and bedroom addition, I held my pocketbook firmly against my side. I would not be swayed by the gently blowing HEPA-filtered winds of Miele’s “feel-good cleanliness.” The owner understood, he commiserated with me. He said “buying a new Miele isn’t something you do on a whim,” and he placed the “Floor Care 2015” catalog in my hand. Like a priest giving absolution, his smile said “go my child, and think about your vacuum needs.”
This morning, thinking about the busy week quickly fading into the weekend, I opened up the Meile catalog. Two hale and hearty German men smiled toothily on the inside cover and there was a short written pledge from them. The orderly and legible signatures of Dr. Markus Miele and Dr. Reinhard Zinkann closed the pledge.
The headline of their letter was “Immer Besser” which translates to “forever better” in German.
Of course, the letter could just be a load of sche*sse written by a public relations flack and if so, the talented flack has done his or her job well. I read the whole thing and thought about being “forever better.”
Here is the opening paragraph:
“When our two great grandfathers were in the process of founding the Miele company, they had to make sure they stood apart from the competition in order to be successful. There are effectively only two ways of doing this: either by being cheaper than the rest or by being better than the rest. It is not really possible to be both at the same time.”
Where am I going with all this on a quiet Friday morning? I’m not sure.
Here’s my garage roof before:
Of course, this post really isn’t about vacuums and standing seam metal roofs. And I won’t be able to explain the difficult journey towards “forever better” in five hundred words or so. The state of the human heart and whether it will ever be “immer besser” is the realm of philosophers. I’m sure Markus and Reinhard are perfectly lovely gentlemen and I thank them for continuing on in their family business.
The garage roof here is immer besser. That’s probably enough for a Friday.