Chinese Materialism and the $1000 Vacuum Cleaner

I overlooked the pricey tickets to Biltmore House.   

I overlooked the cabin rental in the Mountains.

Though it took two years, I did finally break down and buy a Lexus.  (I myself wanted something less….”luxurious”)

But now my wife has bought a $1000 vacuum cleaner. 

I don’t know what to say.  

What does a $1000 vacuum cleaner look like, you ask?

Well, it’s not Made in China.  German model, you see.  Top of the line(cleans dog hair!).
The problem is this:

I do not have a $1000 vacuum cleaner mentality.   

Yes, I’ve been accused of being “cheap”.  Stingy maybe.  But am I the only one seeing my children’s tuition right around the corner?  A post 65 life?  My goal is not to be a Wal-mart greeter.   (Really, it’s not.)

You see...this is easy to root cause.  This is simple to troubleshoot. 

I do not have a $1000 vacuum cleaner background.   I do not come from $1000 vacuum cleaner STOCK.   When I was a boy my father made $1700 a month.  That was for 5 of us.  My mom would work whenever she got the itch.  (it wasn’t often)

But I have myself to blame.  I married a “rich” Chinese Girl.   Even worse, I married “The Mentality”.  And I’ve been trying to keep up ever since.

It was tough when my wife decided she wanted to redecorate my office last summer.  I stupidly fought her tooth and nail.  The “4500 sq feet belongs to you but 500 belongs to me” feelings I repeatedly expressed didn’t do the trick.   So now I have a sofa in my office that I rarely use(except for now!).

It was tougher trying to come to terms with the $1000 vacuum cleaner, however. 

And she did it “behind my back”. 

She had been wanting for the last couple of months to “upgrade”.  I got it.  After all, our previous cleaner was “only” $400.   It weighs a ton and once nearly gave me a concussion when the handle hit me squarely on the skull while I was using it.  (I was vacuuming the stairs)

I wouldn’t have even found out if I hadn’t by chance seen the receipt on our credit card statement the other day. 

When I confronted her with it, her only response was,

“How do you know”?

And my Princess being herself, she certainly didn’t apologize for it.  Not at all.  You see, my wife’s reasoning is simple:  she needs to keep showing progress in her life.  And if you are Chinese, that means “Material Progress”. 

If she can’t upgrade to a larger house(yep), than she will need to find other channels for fulfillment.   

You see, the Lexus was so…..last year.  She needs other ways of marking progress in her life now.

Biggest house in the subdivision…check

Japanese luxury vehicle….done

$1000 vacuum cleaner….finally

So what’s next I wonder? 

It’s here I sometimes wonder what it would be like to receive the same type of attitude from an 

“American” wife?  She’d probably say something like…..

”You don’t take me to the movies anymore”…..  ($20 plus popcorn)

“When’s the last time we watched Netflix together…”? ($9 a month…I think)

“Why don’t we go catch Pearl Jam?”….( a couple hundred bucks)

(Alas, one must give the Chinese Lady credit…..i.e., they sure Think Big.)

I’m pretty sure she wouldn’t be hounding me for a German Vacuum Cleaner though.

As I’ve hinted in previous posts, over the past couple of years, marrying a “wealthy” Chinese has its own drawbacks.  The lifestyle may change, upon marriage, but the “mentality” never leaves.  It just sits dormant.   And its blossoming results in a major boost for the local economy.

You will remember my wife is not “rich” in the modern understanding of the word.  She missed out by a generation.   If her Father had simply retired twenty years later my dear wife 1) would be a millionaire and 2)sure as hell would never have married me…i.e. she would have married a Rich Chinese instead.

The Materialism of the Chinese is unlike something I have never seen before.  True, it’s very broad shoulders has lifted many an economy up, and kept many a merchant happy.  But I see it everyday, manifested in my wife.  Her comments.  Her thoughts.  Her philosophy.  Her habits.  And of course in the vacuum cleaner.

So one day, as the Visit that Would Never End was winding down(the inlaws), I decided to “use” this Machine.  I was curious how a $1000 vacuum cleaner looked like, and how one worked.
I opened the box.

It’s an oval shaped thing, tiny and easy to pick up, with a very long hose.   It has multiple plastic heads.  I did not know which one to use.   I asked my wife. 

“That one”, she said, and pointed.

Then she and the Woman from Hell left. 

I took the plastic head and tried to fit it into the hose.  It would not fit.  I used the tried and true method of assembly.  I used force. 

One does not use force on a $1000 machine. 

The plastic head finally fit.   I vacuumed a bit with this machine.  (To my surprise I found it has sound control)  If you had told me it was a Wal-mart product, I would have believed you.  Then I put it away. 

Later in the day, the Woman from Hell wanted to “play” with the vacuum as well, but wouldn’t you know it, she couldn’t remove the head.   (I whistled.) With much effort 4 people were finally able to remove the plastic head from the vacuum hose.   The wife chastised me for my clumsiness.(ok, fair enough).

But should a $1000 vacuum really be that hard to assemble?

3 months have passed since this vacuum was welcomed into my household.  I still have trouble with the functionality, and am too proud to read the manual.  (does one really need to read a manual for a vacuum cleaner?)

I wonder what will be next in the Fontenot Household?  Now when my wife brings something home one of the kids inevitably asks the cost.  (they get that from me)

Before Wife can answer, I simply say “I don’t want to know”.

Wife than replies to kids:  “I don’t want to give your dad a heart attack”.


  1. Hey, since she bought on a credit card she is almost an American now....

  2. I know you love your wife...but the more I read into your blogs, the more I get confused at the difference between a ruthless peasant girl in Shenzhen and her...only because she had a "good" upbringing/college dgr?

  3. Interesting comment....though the upbringing may be different, the goal is the same? With a broad brush, the answer would be YES. There would be a difference though and that would be 素质, or a touch of “Class" . Educated Chinese girls are less "uncouth" abt the goal. Peasant girls have less opportunity to begin with, and thus are more direct.

  4. Miele? I could never figure out why they're so expensive. I'd figure you'd have central vac in a house that big.

  5. Swedish vacuum cleaner might be safer? Or maybe more pornographic. I never managed to acquire such vacuum cleaner that would have made my chinese gf to do any vacuuming at home. Thank you chinese parents for totally spoiling your offspring.

  6. OK, I will have to go look up online and see what a Swedish vacuum cleaner looks like. As for the China gf not doing any housework, I wouldn't dwell on such things. I'm more than happy to clean up around the aprt myself and my expectations towards China gf are very low. I just want great sex. And I want a woman to ask me to give her great sex. I receive these two things I'm more than happy. Where have the Female Haters of this blog gone to? Suddenly no where to be found these days?

  7. Interesting comments; some thoughts.
    1. The Peasant girls are more honest the educated girls.
    2. Chinese girls from a good background have grown up with an Ayi doing everything for them; they can't use a vacuum cleaner anyway.
    3. Good luck with getting a typical Asian lady to ask for it; unless it is time to make a baby. This is one time where their Western sisters definitely excel (of course the pickup scene is a different story).

  8. That was for 5 of us. My mom would work whenever she got the itch. (it wasn’t often) roomba reviews


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