Sometimes, the universe just doesn’t seem to be my friend.
The other day, I received a coupon from Bon-Ton of the sort the department store distributes from time to time. The coupon promised $10 off a $10 or more purchase. I didn’t have a pressing need to buy anything in particular, but the coupon represented an opportunity too good to pass up. I thought I might find something desirable in the clothing line or be able to augment my collection of miscellaneous Fiesta dinnerware pieces.
When I got to the store, I went straight for the Fiesta counter, which, distressingly, was not where it had always been. I feared that the store was no longer carrying the Fiesta line. I looked around a bit and then headed for the discount table that occasionally held Fiesta pieces but was usually not very interesting. To my relief, I spotted the relocated Fiesta counter on my way. I found a small bowl—I forget what Homer Laughlin China Co. calls it—to add to my scant collection of similar items. It was marked $10. This was perfect, I thought.
I proceeded to the service counter with my bowl, my coupon, and my Bon-Ton charge card, all of which I proudly presented to the clerk behind the counter. The clerk scanned the label on the bottom of the bowl and gave me good news and bad news. Fiesta was on sale for 30% off. (If there was a sign to that effect near the merchandise, I hadn’t seen it.) I could have the bowl for $7 but couldn’t use my coupon. I said no thanks and headed back to the dinnerware. There, I found a second bowl, identical except in color, marked, perplexingly, $11. Well, I thought, getting two bowls for $4.70 wouldn’t be too bad.
I headed back to the service counter, this time presenting my two bowls, my coupon, and my Bon-Ton charge card, not quite so self-satisfied as before. This time, I was informed that the $10 discount had to come from a single item, i.e., an item that cost, even on sale, at least $10. (The coupon clearly said as much, but I had not read it closely enough.) “Lots of people buy towels with the coupon,” the clerk suggested helpfully. “Or consider kitchen gadgets.” I didn’t need any linens, but, even before the clerk made his suggestion, I had thought of the kitchen department, my next stop.
My kitchen is filled with gadgets, but I scanned the wall of tools in search of something purchase-worthy. My eyes landed on a KitchenAid bulb baster. My ship, I thought, had come in. I had an old, cheap bulb baster whose tip had partially melted in some long-forgotten culinary mishap. I had tried to use it Maundy Thursday to baste a leg of lamb, but I gave up on it, threw it away, and used a ladle instead. In short, I was actually in need of a baster. This one had clear volume markers on it and was of obviously higher quality than my discarded baster. It was marked $18 but was on sale for, as I remember, $12. I bought it at the nearest service counter for $2 plus tax.
Although I usually put warranty information in a file, I had thrown out all the packaging of the bulb baster. Happily, I had not disposed of the garbage, and I managed to fish the information card out of the garbage. It declared
One Year Hassle-Free Replacement & Lifetime Limited Warranty
This fine product is warranted to be free from defects in material and workmanship. For one year from date of purchase, under normal use and care, KitchenAid will replace the product free of charge, if it is found to be defective in material or workmanship. In addition, from year two through the life of the product, any piece found to be defective under conditions of normal use and care will be repaired at no charge or replaced with the same item or an item of equal or better value. Individual products should be returned postage paid to: KitchenAid Products, Consumer Service Department, P.O. Box 9750, Trenton, NJ 08650-1750. You May have other rights, which vary from state to state.I really didn’t want to have to mail the baster to KitchenAid, so I called the telephone number listed on the packaging for the KitchenAid Customer Satisfaction Center. After a short wait, I was connected to someone who deals with kitchen appliances. That person gave me the number for the kitchen gadgets people—they were perhaps at lunch—and transferred my call. When someone answered, I explained the situation and was told, as expected, that I would have to mail in the baster. I said I could send a picture of the damage but was told that that isn’t the way KitchenAid does warranty satisfaction. I then said something rude and was told that the person at the other end of the line was going to hang up. I guess I deserved that, but I was really upset about the baster.
I found a padded envelope, addressed it, enclosed the baster, along with a memo I had to type, and set off for the post office. Postage cost me $3.75, and I was told the envelope would be delivered in two days. I made sure I had a tracking number, as I wanted to make sure the package arrived. (I once had a dispute about a warranty return that was said not ever to have arrived. The dispute ended amicably, but I wanted to avoid such situations in the future.)
I soon expect to see how good is the KitchenAid warranty. By the way, in my memo, I said that my faith in KitchenAid had been shaken, as indeed it has been. Because I didn’t want to request any more basters in my lifetime, I wrote that I “would appreciate being told what I can and cannot expect of this product.” How I wash my new baster will depend on what I hear back.