Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The tale of the pricey ricer

This is the sad story of my potato ricer.

It all began on 6 October, a day like any other until I checked my bank statement. There I discovered two small withdrawals that were not mine. My bank acted swiftly to block further activity on my debit card, refunded my account and sent me a new card, which duly arrived on 8 October.

In the meantime, on 7 October, I had a hospital appointment in Exeter (approx 130 mile round trip). It was raining so heavily that I abandoned my car and, not having a canoe, took the train. After three hours in the hospital and a wet walk back to the railway station, there was nothing for it but a little retail therapy. Book shops were out of the question in my dripping rainwear but just around the corner from the station is that emporium of kitchenalia, Lakeland.

What could they have that I had not already purchased from them via mail order or online? Listen closely and you might hear my family say "Nothing!"  There, however, just inside the door, I spotted the Oxo Good Grips Potato Ricer. Just the thing for making the nursery style meals I now have to produce for my aged mother-in-law. And yes, I did find a few more items that I don't really need but retail therapy has to be applied liberally to be effective.

Many shops now will not accept cheques, so I no longer carry a cheque book; my new bank card had not arrived and so I used that old-fashioned stuff: cash. And that proved to be the next stage in my sorry tale: out of practice in using this commodity, I failed to keep the till receipt!

I made some very fluffy mashed potatoes with the ricer yesterday. I put the ricer in the washing up bowl and I took out not one piece but three!

A frantic scrabble through bags, pockets and piles of paper failed to produce the receipt but I rang Lakeland's customer service and explained. The pleasant voice at the other end checked my account details and must have seen my long record of loyal consumerism. (My kids call my kitchen Lakeland.) But no - no receipt, no refund. I could take the broken ricer back to the store and get a replacement. Mmm, 130 miles, £30 in fuel? Perhaps not.

The morals of the tale:
  1. Never do cash transactions.
  2. Never buy Oxo products.
  3. Never depend on goodwill from Lakeland.
  4. Mash potatoes like you've always done.


  1. Maureen,
    What a sad story. I'm sure you need some more retail therapy to get over this!
    Why not books this time - and check them before you pay, so there are no plank pages or upside down pictures! And save the receipt, just in case!

  2. A cautionary tale if there ever was one.

  3. Oh, boo! to Lakeland for not relaxing their rules for such a loyal customer. :( They do not make things to last any more, do they? But you would surely expect them to last beyond one use! We have OXO products here in the US but I've not seen the potato ricer. If I do, I'll steer clear!

  4. This is a sad story, and frustrating, but you tell it in such an entertaining way. Your kids call your kitchen Lakeland, now that's funny.
    But that is so sad that you are out the money. Any chance you will need to go there in the near future (for something fun, not the hospital) and can get your ricer exchanged?

  5. Thank you all for your kind words - I hope we all had a little smile together! My husband took me out to lunch today so I am now feeling much less of a Grumpy Old Woman!

  6. Dear Maureen,I agree with em,more retail therapy is in order here.:)

  7. Well, M, you can guarantee that Lakeland has a Google alert service set up for mentions of its name. With luck, someone in the PR department will spot this tale of woe and order a change of heart. By contrast, I once ordered some gadget or other from Lakleand that definitely didn't do what it said on the tin. A quick phone call, money refunded and I didn't even need to return the faulty gadget - but it had been an online purchase . . .

  8. Yes, D, I have had the same experience with Lakeland for more than 20 years. It is a family firm that prides itself on customer service. Until now, I've always made my purchases by telephone and, more recently from their website. It is my fault that I lost the receipt and they owe me nothing but I felt miffed that I had lost any right of redress on shoddy goods unless I was prepared to spend far more than the original cost and return it in person.

  9. Dear Monix,

    My name is Jacqueline, I work for Oxo Good Grips. I was really sorry to read about your experience with Lakeland and one of our products. Oxo pride ourselves on the standard of our customer service and the quality of our products. I would like to assure you that all Oxo products are manufactured under tight controls to strict specifications. I am not aware of any other complaints of this nature. I would very much like to resolve this for you, please contact me at info@hot-uk.co.uk to enable me to do so.

    Kind Regards

  10. m. looks like the cavalry may have arrived.

  11. Funnily enough, I was just looking at the Oxo ricer at our local kitchen store yesterday. I've got a request for homemade gnocci and the recipes all recommend ricing the potatoes.

    For what it's worth, I've always had good luck with Oxo products. Their can openers are great.

  12. David
    Customer Services at Oxo have been great. Following up on the comment they left above, I have been in touch with them and returned the faulty item for then to examine and they have sent me a replacement.

    I haven't used the new ricer yet but the one time I used the first, the results were great, much better than my old-fashioned masher.

    I had an uncle who worked for Ford motors and he always said we shouldn't buy a car made on a Friday as the men didn't have their mind on their work. I think my ricer must have been a Friday product and slipped through the quality control! Go ahead and get one but make sure it's a Tuesday model.


I love to read your comments and promise that I will reply as soon as I can leave my garden, sewing room or kitchen!