You can ban their e-cigs, you can ban their plastic bags—but do not, under any circumstances, take away the people's high-powered vacuum cleaners. Brits stocked up on supersuction devices before a EU ban went into effect yesterday, with retail sales of models 1,600 watts or higher increasing fourfold and some people wheeling out two or more units at a time, reports the Daily Mail. "They have been flying off the shelves, and that has been across the board—from uprights to cylinders," says a spokesman for the Currys electronics chain.
The European Commission's rationale for the ban is to help stave off climate change and cut down on energy costs, notes the BBC. Retailers are allowed to dump the inventory they already have, but they can't import any more units, and manufacturers are banned from churning out more. But although people are complaining that less suction will mean more time pushing their vacuums around—therefore no significant reduction in energy use—a man who runs a vacuum museum in Derbyshire and goes by the name "Mr. Vacuum Cleaner" tells the BBC that high wattage doesn't guarantee great suction anyway. Sir James Dyson of the Dyson vacuum empire agrees, pointing out that his company doesn't even make a machine over 1,600 watts, but he's still worried that current regulations will hurt the industry overall and keep people from buying powerful cleaners, reports the Guardian. (See what happened to AK-47 sales when sanctions against Russia took effect.)