Frustrated with Calphalon

When we moved into the house, I threw this exciting housewarming shindig in an attempt to get our family and friends to see the house, plus to acquire stuff we’d need for the home. Mairead at work was unable to make it, but gave Craig and I a gift card to Bed Bath and Beyond, then a few days later, my Dad and Kim gave me another gift card to the same place, so I went on a bit of a shopping spree.

When we moved into the house it had this hideous(but truly fantastic) avocado Frigidaire stove that was original to the house (1973). While it worked fine, it wasn’t going to be in the kitchen long-term, so when we went to the Sears scratch/dent warehouse to get a washing machine, we also bought a white flat-top ceramic range. I wish we had gas run to our house, but paying to have it run plus a good new gas stove was out of the question, so we stuck with the ceramic cooktop. This made the majority of my collection of vintage cast iron useless, as it has a “heat ring” on the bottom which elevates the bottom of the pan about 2mm from the cooking surface. It works fine with traditional coil-type electric, or gas ranges, but not with a flat-top, which requires a super-flat bottom. It also means that my cheap nonstick pan wouldn’t work, as the bottom wasn’t perfectly flat. I only had 1 skillet (thank god it’s cast iron) that was of any nominal size, but needed something that I can cook acidic stuff in, as it’s not cast iron’s favorite, and I occasionally find myself needing 2 skillets/sauté pans when making an elaborate dish.

When wandering through BB&B, I decided that I needed a Stainless omelet/sauté pan and was doing some serious hemming and hawing between the $100 Tri-Ply SS Calphalon and the $140 All-Clad. After spending probably 15 minutes cuddling with both of them, I called Craig for guidance, and he told me to buy what I thought I needed. Great, thanks for that. I finally decided that even though the All-Clad was SO MUCH nicer, I probably wouldn’t notice the difference in my day-to-day cooking, and I haven’t used All-Clad, so I wouldn’t know that I was missing. I bought the Calphalon.

Fast forward a few months, after 2 stir fries and searing a batch of chicken breasts, the bottom of the pan seems to have become convex. I’m pretty disappointed with Calphalon regarding this issue and made the time to call their customer service line this morning. I ended up talking to a gay guy that was a total bitch! He basically told me that I was cooking incorrectly and that I should never need to preheat over high heat. I pointed out that when stir-frying, and searing, you need a screaming, smoking hot pan. Regardless, we got into an argument, and he pointed out that the manual that comes with it suggests that you don’t need to preheat over more than medium heat. (oh, ok, thanks for that) Then he told me that if I were to send it back to Calphalon (on my dime) for a warranty issue, and they determined that I used it improperly, they wouldn’t replace it. I told him that I expected my $100 pan to be able to take high heat, and it’s ridiculous that after so little use, it warped. The little bitch had the audacity to say “Well, you know it has nothing to do with how much the cookware costs, ma’am.” (No shit?!)So much for a lifetime warranty on a pan with a good name.

I’m pretty furious about the whole situation. It seems ridiculous that a $100 pan cannot stand up to mere months of home use (not even being used every day, I only pull this pan out if I absolutely have to, it’s not nearly as good to use as my cast iron). Searing is a standard, and normal method of preparing a great deal of foods, and this type of pan is generally the vessel used to do the searing. I can see if I was trying to sear on a baking sheet, or a sauce pan, but a sauté pan!?!?!
I don’t understand why companies with good names put out junk (in their top of the line line) and then refuse to provide decent customer service and support for the product when it has a clear issue.

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