Is it really a Robo-Maid?

"Well, sort of."

Telebrands Robo-Maid from the Invention Channel

The television ad on cable TV claims this unique sweep sells for up to $60 in Europe, but they say if you tell a friend through word of mouth you can have this gem for only $10.00 in America.

"Well, not really."

If the unit is only $10, why is the credit card charged $74.87 (see actual statement below)?

"Pads!" is the answer "You have to buy all those pads."

When checking out the deal on the phone, the telemarketer asked if I wanted any pads, which of course I did, the unit obviously useless without them.

"How much could pads cost?" I thought. Well, let's find out.

Take a 74-dollar charge on the credit card minus around 8 bucks for shipping and 10 bucks for a cheap Robot-Maid unit, you come out with 56-dollars worth of pads, the pads being 76% of the total bill. If you had to ask where the profit for the Robo-Maid was buried, you just dug up the treasure. Sadly, when visiting a discount store yesterday, there was a brand-name bagless vacuum cleaner for the entire house for $65, saving $11 over the Robo-Maid that only sort of just dusts.

The Robo-Maid has what looks like to be an easy to break grey plastic cage that resembles a kid's flying saucer that runs around on wood, ceramic, or linoleum floors changing directions as it hits anything that gets in its way. It does pick up dust, so if you have serious allergies along with non-carpeted floors, it will remove those tiny particles that the broom misses and sits along the side of walls.

You will need to sweep or vacuum the floor before using the Robo-Maid because it pushes aside larger pieces of dirt. And if there is a slight bit of any kind of moisture on the floor, such as someone walking in your house from the outside leaving a slight bit of moisture on your floor, the Robot-Maid becomes, pardon the pun, dead-in-the-water and suddenly acts like someone who had one shoe nailed to the floor.

The television ad's voice-over says Robo-Maid is easy to use, the instructions informing the customer it's easy to turn the unit off. Simply press the red button at any time and the unit will stop moving. But have you ever tried to hit a red button while it's rotating wildly within a stationary ball that's sitting in your hand? It's an interesting experience.

I suggest, therefore, you don't make any bets how fast you can turn one of these babies off. You just might have the contents of your wallet emptied out again.

Finally, the printed instructions say that you should allow the unit to completely discharge before charging it, a plug-in AC/DC charger coming with the unit.

But when the ball starts losing power from the built-in rechargeable battery, it changes direction when its surrounding cage meets any kind of resistance on the floor, sometimes the ball with the discharging battery moving only about a foot before it changes direction again and again, making the unit look like it was doing the Rumba until the battery finally gives up its dance.

Charging the ball takes only 4-6 hours allowing you two, one-hour cycles for cleaning (and I use that word loosely) with the ball's motion, the third cycle causing my unit to finally give it up. The ball is plastic with an internal rechargeable battery attached to a revolving motor, the motor surprisingly powerful for its size.

Push the green button on the ball once and the tiny LCD display tells you the ball is ready to run across the floor for 90 minutes. Push again and it will run for an hour. Push three times and it will run only 30 minutes. After selecting a time period, put the ball down on the floor in its cage with a single fresh sheet attached. After a few seconds it starts to cha-cha around the room under its own power.

It's an interesting concept, but only good for picking up lint that is left on the floor after you have vacuumed or swept. But if I had pets with tiny hairs, the Robo-Maid just might meet my needs.

Mickey checking out her new patent-pending Pet-Sitter.  Parrots talk, Mickey saying, "I'm supposed to play with that?  Give me a seed cone and I'll disappear for a few hours."
Copyright Freedom is Knowledge 2005

The only other application for Robo-Maid might be a repurposing reconfiguration as a "Pet-Sitter." I can see and hear the ad now.

"Just set the Pet-Sitter to one of its three running times and watch your dog or cat have the time of their life. Buy Pet-Sitter's pads and clean your pet's sheddings off the floor at the same time.

You can't go wrong. Just promise to tell a friend and we'll charge you only $10 when you buy our optional pad accessory package. Your dog and cat will thank you again and again for the fun they'll have with their new Pet-Sitter friend.

You can even video tape your pet playing with Pet-Sitter, giving you a chance to win thousands of dollars if your tape is chosen to run on America's Most Funniest Videos.

Pet-Sitter. You'll be glad you did."

"Oh, please save us!"


Copyright Freedom is Knowledge 2005





"Freedom is Knowledge"