Hard-to-find stuff I found online, pt. 1

Back in the mid-90s, I can remember being really skeptical that I would ever buy anything from a website. Ha! I still try to shop locally when I can, but I’m a guy with esoteric needs. Here’s a partial list of oddball stuff I’ve bought online. 


BACKPACK VACUUM CLEANER—We’re pet owners who like to keep a clean house. That means we need a serious vacuum cleaner. I’ve used a lot of vacuums in my day and have always found both canisters and uprights wanting. One day it occurred to me that a professional-style backpack vac was the way to go. You can move easily with them and it’s easy to switch from bare floors to rugs. I went to three local vacuum stores and found either nothing or a limited, ridiculously expensive selection. It was then I discovered Vac Depot. We got a Sandia full-size backpack model with an assortment of accessories and it is perfect for us. We can vacuum our whole house without ever unplugging the vacuum cleaner. Our main worry is that we’ll pull the nails out of the hardwood floors. Vac Depot has excellent customer service, too. Vac Depot

A lot of my online purchases have been driven by searches for replacement parts. It drives me crazy when something becomes unusable because a small, easily replaceable part of it breaks. But when I can’t find a replacement locally, I can almost always find it online.   

HAND TRUCK CASTERS—For instance, I have a convertible hand truck/4-wheel dolly that I use to move my drums. After a few years of rolling over potholed parking lots, the front caster swivel bearings went kaput. These dollies are so ubiquitous, you’d think replacement wheels would be, too. I believe Breed & Co., a fine local specialty hardware store, may carry them, but if so, they were out when I looked. Hello, M&M Supply Casters

UPGRADE SOFA BED MATTRESS—We bought a sofa bed so we can use one of our home offices for a guest bedroom. We forgot that most sofa beds come with shitty mattresses. Lo and behold, there’s an online retailer that specializes in quality replacements. Of course there is. I remember this transaction being a pleasure, too. The site gives you a lot of information, so you feel confident that you know what to get and what you are getting. Replacement-Mattress.com

PRESCRIPTION SWIM GOGGLES—I’ve been pretty seriously myopic since elementary school. If you don’t need glasses, you don’t understand what a drag it can be to go swimming. Either you go swimming with your glasses on (impractical, extremely dorkacious), or you swim without them (blind). When we decided to take a vacation that had snorkeling opportunities, I decided to take the plunge and get prescription swim goggles. After a lifetime of swimming blind, they were like a miracle. The product I got from Sea Vision USA is great quality and great value for the price. I’ve paid a lot more for regular glasses. Sea Vision USA