Su Lum: Slumming
Aspen, CO, Colorado
A couple of months ago, I wrote about the tribulations of ordering three “not sold in stores” items as advertised on TV. These purchases consisted of two tortilla bowls, one Hurrycane and two Olde Brooklyn lanterns.
During the course of ordering, so many dizzying extended offers popped up on my screen that in the end I didn’t know what I’d end up with. These are the results and reviews:
Tortilla pans: Thought I ordered two, received four fluted nonstick tortilla pans and a small, ineffective vegetable chopper, made in China. The big selling-point for this product is that tortilla bowls are baked, never fried. The problem with baked tortillas is that they are the consistency of cardboard. I baked flour tortillas, which fit nicely into the pans and looked lovely, but were inedible. I tried smaller corn tortillas, first brushing them with lard, which sank into the pans, shrank to the size of scooping chips and were as tough as plywood.
Hurrycane: Ordered one and received one! The Hurrycane is a lightweight walking stick, made in China, a foldable cane with a wrist strap and carrying bag. Its selling point is its three-toed foot, allowing it to stand beside you while you’re reaching for, say, groceries.
The Hurrycane is prone to topple over on carpets but stands well on solid surfaces. I’m not yet lame (I am a “halt”), so I’m not familiar with what’s good and what’s bad as far as canes go, but I like the wrist strap and stand-alone feature. It is tucked away for the indeterminate future.
Old Brooklyn antique lantern: Ordered two, received four, made in China and definitely not antique. It is made of metal, which a friend of mine described as “one step up from aluminum foil,” and is supposed to run for 100,000 hours on LED lights (included) and two D batteries (not included).
The lanterns took forever to arrive and were sloppily packaged. Included in the package were promos for other products, including a diamond and platinum wedding and engagement ring set – “Hand-set and layered in Pure Platinum with the look of the finest diamonds,” appraised at $98 – yours for only $20. This lowered my lantern expectations considerably.
Only two of the lanterns worked, and it’s anyone’s guess how long the remaining ones will be operable. On the positive side, the lanterns, while not bright enough to read by, give off a nice glow, which can be adjusted from low to high.
To my surprise, the invoice included a phone number to call “for prompt resolution of any billing questions or inquiries.” A young man who called himself Brandon answered the phone. His voice did not have the lilt of India – perhaps I was speaking to China. He gently asked if I had inserted the batteries properly; I said that I had.
Brandon apologized for any inconvenience, told me they would send two replacement lanterns “at absolutely no cost to you,” did not ask for the return of the bad ones and said to expect delivery in four to six weeks. I think that they are used to this.
These lanterns ended up costing $17 each and are not worth it, but it also wasn’t worth the stress and hassle to ask for a refund, much less to send them back, so I’ll chalk it up to an enlightening experiment and wait to see if the replacement lanterns shed light.
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The COVID-19 pandemic has caused untold amounts of suffering and disruption, and we’ll probably tell those stories for the rest of our lives.