21st Mar 2004 The advertisement for a VAX vacuum cleaner suggested that if your carpets were clean the your kids hygiene was assured. Fat chance. View large

Dear Sir, I think it is time for you to come clean.

In the spirit of fairness, I have to make my own confession first: I have been reading the Woman's Day magazine. This is not something that a grown man normally admits to but I got sick of reading it furtively at the clinic and lashed out and bought my own copy.

Things were fine until I reached the last page, the back cover in fact, and there I saw your advertisement. It said:

I told you not to worry. My Mum's got a VAX!
When it comes to hygiene, little kids just can't be too careful!

Well! I suspect you do not have any children! My experience is that they are, amongst other things, little dirt magnets. 'Ooo, I wonder what this tastes like?' is a common thought and it lead to the demise of a variety of things, not the least being a few passing snails. Another thought that seems to be all to common at about that age is 'Ooo, there is something warm and squidgey in my nappies! Look! It's brown! Let's paint the walls!' Then, of course, there is the old 'suck the dog's ear' routine.

None of this held my sons back, they are all taller than me, two axe handles across the shoulders and built like brick dunnies.

Now, I have no doubt that Vax is a dandy vacuum cleaner and collects all the stuff that you mention in your advertisement (Mind you removing 99.9% of the stuff that accumulates in some corners of our house would still leave a considerable load.) But on the issue in question, the need to protect kids from bugs and stuff, do you really think keeping the carpet clean will make much difference?

Yours unkempt,

J. Cosmo Newbery.