You just had to rub that "gulf view" thing in, didn't you?
My cord reel seams to work ok. However, I have nothing to compare it to and, if I hold on tight enough, I can stall it. I too, guide it back and forth as it is loading. But, as I am doing that, I usually have a damp rag in my hand that wipes it off as it loads. That way, the dirt and other trash is kept to a minimum in that compartment.