Saved by the Swiffer
August 30, 2007
It’s the end of summer, and my well has run dry.I’m tapped out. I have no more ideas for a High Point.That’s not to say that there are not great things going on in this valley this weekend. Who wouldn’t want to see Gregg Allman playing the role of the geriatric Southern rocker at the Jazz Aspen Snowmass festival? And a simple walk in the woods should be enough to inspire anyone. It’s just that, well, maybe it’s bad biorhythms, perhaps too much airport food or, heaven forbid, age-induced weariness, but something has got me down and I got nothing to say.And then it hit me. I have yet to write about the greatest invention of this millennium. The thing I use the most around my house to save time and (Eureka!) LABOR. It’s perfect!Let’s start this column over.Ladies and gentleman, do you have dust, must mites and dog hair in your home? Do you spend too much time sweeping, mopping and vacuuming your floors?If you answered yes, then I have the product for you. The Swiffer from Proctor and Gamble will change your life and give you the time you need to ponder questions like whether a festival that has as its headliners Ben Harper, the Allman Brothers, and Gov’t Mule can seriously have “Jazz” in its title. (Max Roach must be spinning in his grave).The Swiffer is like a broom, but rather than brushes and bristles on the bottom, there is a flat panel upon which one places a disposable cloth with V-shaped channels. Simply push the Swiffer over the floor, and the cloth picks up all kinds of dust, dog hair and whatever other yuck it may encounter.The Swiffer was initially introduced in 1999, so it may qualify as the invention of the last century, but I’m moving it into this millennium because it has impacted so many lives in such a profound manner. We, for example, would have had to “Vick” our dog Vino had this product not been invented.The success of the Swiffer has provided an opportunity for designers to morph it into a number of new products to capitalize on its popularity. There is a jumbo version for those with big, honkin’ hairy dogs, called the Swiffer Max, and then there is Swiffer Wet Jet, for those with nasty stains. And most recently, for those who need a little more suction in their lives, is the Swiffer Sweepervac.On Internet “eco-sites,” there is a raging debate about whether the Swiffer qualifies as a “green product” as its designer, the visionary and clean-living Gianfranco Zaccai of the Continuum product design firm, stated in an article in Business Week. Bloggers, typing on their green-design keyboards, are contending that the packaging, the disposable cloths and the plastic used in the Swiffer deem it to be more damaging to the environment than a B-1 bomber.Me, I give them a pass. The Swiffer is the most energy-efficient cleaning device in my home. Even more important, it provided me fodder for a day on which my well had run dry.