simplehuman™ Rectangular Touch Bar Trash Can, $139.95

Dear Dave is a series in which I address poor reviews of pricey consumer goods in the advice column tradition of Dear Abby or Dear Sugar.  Aren’t most online reviews a cry for help, anyway?

simplehuman_trash_can_sh-cw2014d-s3

Dear Dave,

The Lid Pops Open!

The concept behind this trash can is great: lightly touch the front bar and the lid opens. Gently push the lid down and it closes.
I received the can one week ago and it functioned well until the past few days when the lid has taken on a life of its own. Now nothing keeps the lid closed. Push the lid down and it almost instantly pops open. So I have an open trash can all the time–not exactly aesthetically appealing!

Trashed, Katonah, NY

Dear Trashed,

I feel like much of my time is spent helping people to manage expectations. Have you ever heard the common wisdom that serenity is inversely proportionate to expectations? That’s a clumsy way of saying, “Get a clue!”  That nice quiet girl, who kept her lid shut during those first dates, pretending to be interested in your fantasy football team or the sibling rivalry with your attorney brother, will naturally take on a life of her own once ensconced in your home. And, she should! It seems like you think she can be controlled with gentle touches, like the woman in your iPhone. Perhaps you were fooled by the “simplehuman” t-shirt she wore when you first met? That wasn’t a label! It was an ironic push-back against a complicated yet shallow world. Or, something like that. The point is, real people are complex and they have a lot to say, some of it, perhaps most if it, pure garbage. I’m not sure what her open lid has to do with aesthetic appeal. Perhaps she’s talking with her mouth full or chewing with her mouth open? Or, maybe she has really bad teeth. If that’s the case, then I would put her out on the curb on Wednesday, before 7:00AM, or you’ll be stuck with her until next week.

Best,

Dave

Nespresso Gran Maestria Espresso Machine, $699.95

Dear Dave is a series in which I address poor reviews of pricey consumer goods in the advice column tradition of Dear Abby or Dear Sugar.  Aren’t most online reviews a cry for help, anyway?

gran-maestria-titanium_grande

 

Dear Dave,

Wanted to love the machine, but did not last.

I was in love. Everything I wanted in a single-serve machine. I looked forward to my morning cups of delight. Then little things started happening. The heating element on the side would work sometimes, but not every time. Not a big deal. But then it stopped taking the capsules. I would put one in, attempt to start, and it would do nothing. I would have to turn it off, turn back on again, raise the top, (then dig the capsule out) and put it back in. So sad.

Decaffeinated, Portland, OR

Dear Decaffeinated,

Many people spend their entire lives avoiding an inescapable fact about relationships, chasing an illusion into middle age and beyond.  There is a honeymoon period to new relationships!  It’s all hot, rich, and strong at the beginning.  Perfect crema on a wonderful body.  And, the energy!  Then it starts to feel like a dark grind, with an aftertaste.  That perfectly roasted espresso leaves us with the jitters and lying awake at night thinking that something’s wrong with the machine.  We try to buy time, ignoring the intermittent failure of the “heating element”.  It’s no big deal, we tell ourselves.  But, Decaffeinated, did you not bring this upon yourself?  What’s with the capsules?  Do you really think you could medicate your partner into being exactly what you want?  People are not single-serve machines, put on Earth for your exclusive pleasure!  Little things can and will happen, but we don’t start noticing until the honeymoon is over.  Then we must all come to terms with the coffee breath, the jack-hammer leg twitch, the inane caffeinated babble.  You can’t just turn people on and off!  If you can’t adjust to a nice sustaining mug from Mr. or Mrs. Coffee in the morning, then you are doomed to try and replicate that espresso surge for the rest of your life, eventually casting that Gran Maestria onto the growing pile of other disappointing “machines”.  So sad.

Best,

Dave

 

Caso Wine Cellar, $379.95

Dear Dave is a series in which I address poor reviews of pricey consumer goods in the advice column tradition of Dear Abby or Dear Sugar.  Aren’t most online reviews a cry for help, anyway?

Image

Dear Dave,

Terrible wine refrigerator – Beware!

I received this as a gift. What a terrible gift. If only the person who had given it to me had read other reviews of the Caso wine cellar – which are uniformly bad.
I couldn’t believe it when I attempted to put my wine into the refrigerator and discovered that most of my bottles DO NOT FIT. Somehow this is designed to hold only slim bottles.
Aside from the fact that this is totally useless because it can’t hold most of my wine bottles, the construction is shabby (the drawers are made of very cheap wood and cheaply glued together) and it’s very loud.
Avoid this wine refrigerator. It is complete junk.

Joe

Phoenix, AZ

Dear Joe,

You can waste a lot of time trying to make it work with the wrong person when it clearly DOES NOT FIT. I think (hope!) you’re talking about romantic compatibility here and not the actual physical insertion of your  bottle.  I’ll assume you’re not that crude.  Though, I must say that your complaints about her shabby appearance and loudness reveal a deep level of self-deception.  You received this Caso (Cassandra? Cassie? Casey?) as a gift?  C’mon!  I’m going to tell it like it is, Joe.  You ignored the warning signs and went for it, didn’t you?  Then you got burned and you’re trying to blame someone else.  Look back on your history with “wine refrigerators”.  How many times have you been attracted to loud and shabby construction, women barely glued together, then regretted it soon after?  What does that say about you?  Why do you not heed the bad reviews and warning signs?  Sometimes, the writing on the bathroom wall IS true.  Next time you’re in the bar checking out that blonde with the tramp stamp (from 2003!) complaining loudly about her ex getting the Nissan, say to yourself, “I know how this will end.  I’ll be the next ex and I’m better than that.”

Are you better than that, Joe?  It’s really up to you.  But, you might start by shopping in better establishments.  And, please stop referring to other human beings as “junk”.  After all, we all feel shabby and cheap sometimes.  Including you, Joe.  (By the way, Coors 40s aren’t wine bottles.)

Best,

Dave

Rösle Can Opener, $42.00

Image

Dear Dave is a series in which I address poor reviews of pricey consumer goods in the advice column tradition of Dear Abby or Dear Sugar.  Aren’t most online reviews a cry for help, anyway?

Dear Dave,

Not worth it!

It worked great when I bought the can opener, looks nice. Was easy to use. Lasted 7 mo. Less than a year. I hate it! Knob is tight. pops and clicks when TRYING to turn the tight knob. No justice. Still have it using up space in drawer. I can’t through it away cause I spent to much $ for it. I’m hoping in my dreams it will work one of these days. Haha. Decided to buy a stainless steel Cuisinart electric opener, that cost as much as this hand held opener. Still love to shop at Williams Sonoma. One bad apple is not keeping me away.

Frustrated

Yorba Linda, CA

 

Dear Frustrated,

Are you aware there is a honeymoon period for any new love?  It’s necessary for human procreation.  People look nice and they’re easy to be around, things pop and click without even TRYING.  For awhile.  Then comes the work.  Here’s the blunt truth, Frustrated.  There is no justice in love.  It is a leap into the void, following a heart that knows no logic, only desire.  After that honeymoon, you gave it 7 months and he still won’t open up, despite your straining!  How much longer can you TRY to open that can?  How much longer can he take up precious room in your “drawer”?  He doesn’t want you opening that can and seeing (smelling!) his inner Dinty Moore Beef Stew.  That’s no substitute for real beef stew, and you know it!  I love your spirit but I might consider another “shopping” place.  This Williams Sonoma scene sounds played out.  Your bitter, “Haha”, makes me think you know it, too.  One bad apple can quickly turn into two and then we’re looking at a bushel of bad apples and then you’re in your forties and then, let’s face it, it’s over.  With your fierce spirit and independence from the rules of grammar it would be a shame to open THAT can of worms.

Best,

Dave

Dear Dave: Le Creuset Tea Kettle, $84.99

img98c

Dear Dave is a series in which I address poor reviews of pricey consumer goods in the advice column tradition of Dear Abby or Dear Sugar.  Aren’t most online reviews a cry for help, anyway?

Dear Dave,

I have been a fan of Le Creuset cookware for many years now. I have, unfortunately, noticed a steady decline in product quality over the past 3-4 years, mostly in the items that are no longer made in France.

This tea kettle feels poorly constructed, the spout feels as if it will break by the years end & is not easy to flip open/closed. The lid does not fit very well, steam escapes from the lid area with each use. My biggest concern however is the fact that boiling water surges out despite very careful & gentle pouring.
It is a shame, I was really looking forward to this tea kettle, as I received it as a wedding registry gift.

 Disappointed with this one

Burbank, Ca

Dear Disappointed,

I think we all know what it’s like to be disappointed when the “product” we fell in love with some years ago starts to let us down.  However, you’re not a kid anymore and must start to realize that people evolve as they age.  Things don’t fit like they used to and that heat just doesn’t have the outlets like when we were younger.  Be grateful that the passion still boils and doesn’t just simmer.  The aging body, while poorly constructed, barely contains this urgent physics-like need to escape.  It’s up to you to provide a willing outlet or that boiling fluid will find a new place to flow.  That “gift” you appreciated on your honeymoon in France may be gone but perhaps it can be located again, if you know where to look.  Perhaps you should be less gentle and careful and let that passion flow all over you, like it used to.  It’s flowing anyway, despite your caution!  Time to throw caution to the wind, Disappointed, lest your “product” finds a new cup of tea.

Best,

Dave