Julia Meehan reports on her recession-busting approach to DIY carpet cleaning ...
An ivory carpet for a kids' bedroom is probably not the best colour - it's now covered in stains and, quite frankly, it no longer looks anything like it did in the designer magazine which inspired it.
Since I can't afford a new carpet I decided to rent a carpet cleaner called a Rugdoctor.
But when I inquired about the cost, I learned something about supply and demand in a recession. For some strange reason, the price of hiring the unit seems to have doubled: could it be that across the country, demand for these machines and the chemical solvents they use has rocketed, and therefore the prices too?
Obviously DIY carpet cleaning is the new vogue in times of financial hardship. So, in my quest to save even more of the few pennies in my purse, I advertised on our company's intranet to see if any colleagues would like to share the hire cost. Well, the response has been phenomenal.
Only yesterday, while trying to talk to the polymers world, every second call I received was about my advert for the Rugdoctor hire. The calls came from far and wide, and from all walks of carpet cleaners. Despite our different needs, what we all had in common was a dirty carpet and the lack of funds to purchase a new one.
In total, I must have taken more than 15 calls from people inquiring about the share of the hire cost. At £37.50 ($51.68, €29.79) for 48 hours, it would have worked out at about £2.50 each, but owing to time and logistical issues, four people in the hire chain would prove enough. So my girls will have a carpet as good as new for approximately £9, rather than a new one costing about £500.