Sometimes, life gets you down. Sometimes, an abhorrent person cuts ahead of you in the queue at the airport and you miss your flight. Sometimes, you bite into a mouldy peach. And sometimes, your Roomba smears pet shit all over your house.
In the latter scenario, at least, you’re not alone. According to iRobot, the company behind the famed automated vacuum, shit-smearing is a common occurrence.
“Quite honestly, we see this a lot,” a spokesman for the company told the Guardian. “We generally tell people to try not to schedule your vacuum if you know you have dogs that may create such a mess. With animals anything can happen.”
The spokesman was responding to the tale of Jesse Newton, whose Facebook post describing his faeces-laden Roomba adventure exploded last week.
“Do not, under any circumstances, let your Roomba run over dog poop,” Newton wrote. “... it will spread the dog poop over every conceivable surface within its reach, resulting in a home that closely resembles a Jackson Pollock poop painting.”
It’s not just Newton, however. The iRobot spokesman wasn’t exaggerating: this shit happens a lot. Becca, a neuroscientist who spoke to the Guardian but wouldn’t provide her last name, said that it had happened to her “between five and 10 times over the past two years.”
The Guardian reports:
“It’s awful. The poop gets stuck in these tiny treads in the wheels, gets sucked inside and in all the brushes,” Becca explained. “That’s on top of the poop smeared all over the house.”
“A couple of weeks ago we had this big asterisk on the floor because the Roomba was going in zigzags trying to get the spot,” she said.
Personally, if I had pets that shat in my house frequently, I probably wouldn’t use a Roomba, but you do you, Becca.
Besides Becca, it’s also happened to colleagues, Redditors, Amazon reviewers, and YouTube users. It’s not entirely surprising, of course: Roombas don’t typically come with shit sensors, and if you use it at night, as Newton did, you would likely pass out before realising it was trekking faeces all over your house.
iRobot, for its part, appears to be aware that this is a unique, uh, challenge for the Roomba. “Our engineers are always trying to figure out ways to help people with their problems, and we’ve known this is an issue people deal with,” the spokesman told the Guardian. “I can’t say we have the solution yet but it’s certainly something our engineers are aware of.”
At least there’s the Roomba mop!