Those Crockpot Blues

Today I am not going to delve into any heavy-heavy nursing issues, or talk about cholera (though you may see an update later). There is only so much this nurse can give, and my brain is tired. Instead, I am going to rant about a crockpot. The one we bought a couple of weeks ago.

It’s a Hamilton Beach Model # 33723C. Why, o why, you might ask, did buy a crockpot, the curse of church suppers and mid-week dinners? Well, because, frying eggs taxes Mister Man’s culinary skills, I loathe having to cook after getting home from a busy day of playing charge-nursey, and yes, I am cursed by the occasional church supper.

We didn’t intend to buy it. We were at Zellers. For my American readers Zellers is a low-rent department store that really wants to be the Canadian version of Target but usually ends up looking like a slightly tacky Walmart. Anyway, we had to get something at Zellers — some fancy lightbulb evidently something exclusively available at Zellers — and when we went through the check-out the girl there said “You have enough Club Z points for sixty dollar gift certificate!” (It took us twenty years of shopping to accumulate enough points, incidentally.) Oddly, just that morning I had said to the husband, “We should by a crockpot.” Some things are meant to be.

Anyway, it’s not goumet cooking, but I am reasonably satisfied with it. Stew and soup and such are credible. It makes a tolerable bœuf à la bourguignonne, believe it not. Pot roast not so much, or maybe I’m not doing it right: it’s strangely flavourless. Midweek stew and church potlucks, that about sums it up.

None of which is the real reason for this post. The point is that after two weeks of using the crockpot maybe five times, the little writing on the temperature control dial, which tells me “High”, “Low”, “Warm”, and “Off” have worn off completely. It’s not like I’m using some weird concoction of bleach, ammonia and oven cleaner to wipe the thing down. Yet the happy sticker on the side, which tells me I have bought a lovely Hamilton Beach Crockpot with Travel Case in the event I forget, remains stubbornly stuck on despite repeated assaults. It’s not that I need to know where “High” is. It’s the principal of the thing. Why should something which I paid fifty bucks for develop a defect after two weeks?  So yesterday, I emailed the company:

The defective crockpot. Note the sticker on the side.

About two weeks ago I bought a crockpot at Zellers, the fancy one with the travel case. I am very pleased with it, except, the markings on the temperature dial have already worn of. Ironically, I cannot get the promotional sticker on the side of the pot off. Can you please send me another dial, and instructions how to replace it? Also, how do I remove the sticker?


I have not received a reply, perhaps because of my faintly sarcastic tone. (I am constitutional unable to write to anyone in authority without being faintly or obviously sarcastic.) But then I remembered something about the concept of “quality control.” Most people believe “quality control” means making something the best way possible. It actually means making something to the cheapest, most minimal quality standard possible that will sell to an ignorant and apathetic public. Hamilton Beach obviously strongly believes in quality control. The company also knows it can save ten cents a unit on dial labelling because few people will complain about such a triviality, and if they do bitch, they can be safely ignored, because we won’t do anything about it. (Customer service essentially has the same definition as quality control. Bell Canada has elevated customer service to an art, for example.)

So I feel cheap and used. By a corporation. I know, take a number, and stand in line.


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  1. #1 by Cartoon Character on Tuesday 09 November 2010 - 1454

    I have a very expensive oil-core electric fy pan that had the same thing happen. I should write the company since there is a guarantee for it. I have had a lot of success with complaint resolutions. Every year for at least five years I got a brand new butane curling iron sent to me because each year at the one year mark – mine would die. I did the same with my mother’s.

    On another note….maybe switch to “President’s Choice” or “Loblaws” as it is called in Eastern Canada…..I get anywhere from $100 to $150 per month in free groceries every month, never mind a whole lot of free merchandise (barrister’s bookcase, coffeetable, tea kettle etc etc). The points add up very quickly …..never mind the banking is all free of charge. And no, I don’t own interest in the company! :)

    I’ll let you know what comes of my complaint about my own fry pan……..

  2. #2 by Jenn Jilks on Tuesday 09 November 2010 - 1921

    Hard to imagine you cooking after a day of what you go through. Happy crocking! I must get ours out.

  3. #3 by Eleanor Cramer on Tuesday 09 November 2010 - 2029

    “…Zellers is a low-rent department store that really wants to be the Canadian version of Target but usually ends up looking like a slightly tacky Walmart. …”

    True, but perhaps changing. A friend works at a Zellers in Winnipeg, and his store dumped a sack of money into spiffing up the store. Apparently the chain is testing the idea in the Winnipeg stores (everything gets tested in Winnipeg) and preparing to roll out similar spiffiness nationwide.

    I went. It’s great. Excellent layout — everything was easy to find and nothing looked shabby. I’m hopeful about it.

    • #4 by torontoemerg on Tuesday 09 November 2010 - 2035

      Well good. I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for Zellers, but lately my local one looks like K-Mart before they went bankrupt in Canada.

  4. #5 by cara on Tuesday 09 November 2010 - 2205

    Hilarious post, I agree. I had a Hamilton Beach crockpot too, and it would burn everything on the side that sat closest to the back of the counter. I ended up at Costco (my fave store) and they had the “Crockpot” brand crockpot, with an automatic TIMER, plus a little mini (when would I EVER? use it) pot for the bargain price of $35.00. Couldn’t believe it! They run over $100 at the “fancy stores” (like Sears).

    Try cooking a pot roast with 2 cups of apple juice and a package of dry onion soup mix. It’s deadly good and tasty, and you can thicken the sauce at the end with cornstarch and the gravy is awesome on mashed potatoes.

  5. #6 by Barry on Saturday 13 November 2010 - 2053

    A few years ago I bought a Brother fax that covered in those stupid stickers. I emailed them pictures and complained snottily, and lo and behind they sent me a new handset and other bits, replacing the stickered ones.

    Thermos on the other hand just ignored me when I complained.

  6. #7 by GothamNurse on Saturday 20 November 2010 - 1754

    Zellers! LOL. The chain that manages to make Wal-Mart look up-market. At least the one I used to frequent at Gerrard Square was pretty tired-looking.

    Anyhow, sucks about the crockpot. You’re right about it being the perfect antidote to cooking after a 13-hour shift. Hope they manage to get back to you. I’d start whining on Twitter or Complaints-Dot-Com.

  7. #8 by Art Doctor on Sunday 21 November 2010 - 1614

    So, when I read, “Hamilton Beach” in my e-subscription message of your post, I thought, hm, something is wrong with the Beach in Hamilton…Duh.. So, there’s no beach, I think, in Hamilton, at least not like Ashbridges Bay. That dummies moment is through.

    Now, you still have not had a reply from Hamilton Beach? That’s too long. I think they need better customer service for sure. Sometimes you can use a product called, “Goo Gone” to remove stickers like this. You can get this at Canadian Tire. You will have to make sure your crock is completely cooled off though.

    Good luck!~

    PS. Don’t eat too much rice in those things. A friend told me that her buddy did this and ended up with appendicitis. He stupidly went over to his Nurse friend’s house at night because she is a Nursing student…oh man~ and by then it burst and he was going into shock. I think he was eating rice 3x/+/day…rolling eyes…

  8. #9 by Crock Pot Bloggers on Monday 05 September 2011 - 2303

    The writing on my crock pot disappeared almost immediately after I bought it, it still works fine, but like you I still have that pesky sticker = /

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