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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Post #18 - Bubba Keg Leaks and They Don't Really Care - 9/12/2008



The leaky mug part of my letter is 100% true. For four years, I've dealt with a leaky mug on my way to work. I'll reposition the gasket in the groove, and it will start leaking again two weeks later.

I've seen their improved design. It also has a bottle opener on it.
I refuse to buy the new one. The exchange below made me even more determined. I now put a big beach towel on my lap and drink in such a way to direct any would-be shirt stain drips onto the towel.
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Dear Hubba Bubbas,

As a Suit Sales Associate at an upscale department store, my business is all about first impressions. Appearances are everything, and my apparel must be perfect for me to strike with a vengeance! I depend on my morning cup of coffee to put the extra spring in my step, and that coffee is carried in my trusty Bubba Keg 34.

At night, I hop on my sleigh with my eight Alaskan huskies, and ride around my subdivision. We are 2010 Winter Olympic hopefuls. In the summer months, I glue castor wheels on the rails. During these exercises, I enjoy PowerAde—it keeps the vocal cords moist, so I can holler “Mush! Mush!” at the top of my lungs. My Bubba Keg 34 holds all 32 ounces of refreshment, with room to spare.

Whether my beverage is hot or cold, I always trust my Bubba Keg 34. However, I’ve found what I believe to be a design flaw in the cup itself. The lid features a circular seal that looks much like a rubber band, with non-uniform sections. The seal fits within the unique geometry of the groove, which goes all the way around the lid. The orientation of the seal within the groove is crucial to sealing capabilities of the mug. Over time, the screwing and unscrewing of the cap, seems to ever-so-slightly unseat the seal, creating a leak right below where my mouth goes.

The Bubba Keg becomes the Bubba Sieve. I get coffee drips on my shirts. I get PowerAde on my parka. It’s a nightmarish carnival ride, and I need to get off.
Coffee stains are difficult to remove. Suddenly, the first thing would-be customers see is a drip in the shape of Telly Savalas’ Kojak-shaped head, and not my welcoming smile. My laundry bills are on the rise, and my suit sales are dwindling. Who really wants to buy a suit from “Mr. Coffeestain”?

The huskies no longer respect me—they won’t mush. For the time being, the Olympics are on hold, and I’ve put numbers 4 (Rocco), 6 (T-Bone) and 7 (the Fonz) out to stud.

What can be done? I can’t continue this way. If this keeps up, I’m going to be broke and out of a job. I’ll be filling this thing at the soup kitchen and getting minestrone all over my parka.

Thanks,
Jerry Herman
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Note from “Melissa” at In-Zone, makers of the Bubba Keg, dated 9/15/2008
Date: Mon, 15 Sep 2008 13:10:44 -0400

Jerome,
Thank you for contacting InZone Brands, Inc. regarding our products.
We have designed new lids with a better gasket system. If you would please send us the lid & gasket we will replace the gasket and send them back in their lid with a new gasket it if the size is available. If we do not have the right size or style, I will send them a replacement keg.

Once we receive your lid & gasket we will send out a replacement and please allow 4-6weeks for your replacement to arrive.

Please mail it to: (No PO Boxes)
Eva
InZone Brands, Inc.
2251 Corporate Plaza Park
Suite 200
Smyrna, GA 30080
Thank You,
Melissa
IN ZONE Brands, Inc.
Creator of The Bubba Keg, Belly Washers and Tummy Ticklers!
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My response, sent 9/15/09

Melissa,

Thank you for your prompt response. I find it interesting that you changed the design of the gasket. It sounds like I bought too soon, and therefore have the leaky design. You can imagine the sting of buying a horse and buggy the day before the first Model-T came rolling down the street.

I only see one problem with sending my leaky design lid and gasket, for you to see if you have the right size and style. That is, I am then out of a coffee mug with a lid, for the next 6 weeks. That is 6 weeks of lukewarm coffee from a Ziploc bag with a straw. That is 6 weeks of tepid PowerAde, and an equally tepid fleet of huskies.

Is there, perhaps another solution? What about these words and numbers on the underside of the mug? I don't see any part numbers, lot codes, serial numbers, date codes, etc. Perhaps you have cleverly hid them. What about a photo of the mug? A photo of me with the mug? A photo of the lid? A photo of me with the lid? A photo of the gasket? A photo of the lid and gasket with the gasket "feeling a little leaky?" Let me know if any of these will work. I have preliminarily booked some time with a photographer friend of mine, at his studio for a shoot.

I'm not trying to be difficult. It's just that when I bought this mug, I wasn't signing up for a leaker, nor a six week beverage sabbatical.

When I bought the Bubba Mug 34, it was for three very important reasons:
1) Functionality-Hot or Cold!
2) Sex Appeal--The Ladies dig a fellow with 34 ounces of climate-controlled beverage, in a container that appears to have it's chest puffed out like the biggest, strongest rooster in the barnyard.
3) Shear Size. No one else had a 34 ounce mug that fits in a cup holder.

Let Me Know How We Fix All of This!!!

Jerry Herman
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No Reply. They could have easily sent me the lid if they cared. Don’t buy anything from In-Zone (from my experience).

10 comments:

  1. I can just see you now, sitting there all alone in your 1 bedroom apartment. The room void of light except for that streaming from your 1989 Dell Tinitron monitor that takes up your entire work space. I'm going to let the world know how crass and frugal I am through a pathetic attempt at humor.

    You sit there typing away with a clever smirk on your face. You feel bold behind a computer screen. You've never actually spoken to a woman in real life, and this is your chance to feel liberated and give Melissa a piece of your mind.

    You think you letter is so witty that maybe they will actually take you seriously, or better yet, put your letter up on their website for the world to see.

    You don't see the flaw in taking 4 hours of your time to write Bubba Keg a letter. It would make too much sense for you could take 5 minutes and drive to the store, drop the amount of money it would cost for a Happy Meal, and be the proud owner of a brand spankin new Bubba Keg. Oh wait, that would entail speaking to Wendy the check out girl.

    Signed
    Bubba Luva

    ReplyDelete
  2. Dear Anonymous Person,

    You paint quite a picture with all of your clever imagery--somebody was clearly on the receiving end of an A in Sophomore Composition. You brush with a mighty broad stroke, but surprisingly accurate. You missed on a couple of things though. It's a 1992 Super VGA monitor, a 2 room apartment (there's a small kitchenette and dining nook), and I have a mom and a sister and a niece so that's three women with whom I have talked. I can't afford a chair so I stand and type. And I can use the express lane to avoid Wendy, even though her perfume smells real nice. I just clam up when I'm around her.

    In your anonymous note, you call my letter both crass and frugal, which I find to be a killer one-two punch. I respect your opinion that my attempt at humor is pathetic, and I'm sure you're not alone on this. Nonetheless, you seem to be equal parts bitter toward me, and impassioned about Bubba Keg. I wish I had your passion about something--anything. Are you president of the Bubba Keg Facebook Superfan Page?

    You also mention how "you think you letter is so witty...yada yada...put it on their site for all to see." That would be a real treat. Can you make that happen, since you clearly work at the Bubba Keg Factory, on the new and improved design that doesn't pee on its consumers?

    Let's talk about pathetic. I'm fine with everything you say, even the personal stuff, in your "I'm-bitter-toward-you-for-pointing-out-something-bad-about-Bubba-Keg" note. Everything except this: "It would make too much sense for you to drive to the store, drop the amount of money it would cost for a Happy Meal, and be the proud owner of a brand spanking new Bubba Keg." As someone with fifteen years of experience in the consumer field, both in design and quality, I take great offense to that. When you design a product, like, say, a coffee mug, you are supposed to take every function and potential failure into account. You are supposed to verify that design with testing. You have checks in place on your assembly line to prevent defects. You take the all-too-important customer feedback (positive and negative) and share it with the entire team, so they can keep doing the good things and fix the flaws. You "make it right" with the customer, because their word-of-mouth voice is your best or worst advertisement. Protect the customer, Bubba Luva, PROTECT THE CUSTOMER!

    My mug was poorly designed. I took the time (4 hours, according to you) to share my feedback with In-Zone. In Melissa's reply, did you see any apology? All I saw was "you can go without your mug for 6 weeks while we send you a replacement lid, that we should have given you in the first place if we designed it right". Does it really take six weeks to take care of a dissatisfied customer? I offered to provide any info they needed about my mug, so they could just ship me the correct lid, to avoid interrupted service. I never heard back. Did Melissa and the fine team at In-Zone really protect the customer? I think not.

    So your solution is to reward In-Zone and pad their bottom line by purchasing a second crappy mug. The same people designed this one--what if the handle falls off? I can hear the people now--"Serves you right--you bought a second one". No thanks. Your solution leaks worse than my turd-with-a-handle mug.

    Do you work at the Bubba Keg Factory? I hope not--you're too big of a Bubba Keg Slappee. If you did, you'd know that my leaky gasket mug cost me at least $10, and a Happy Meal costs roughly half of that, depending on whether you order milk or a soft drink. But then, I’d only know what a Happy Meal costs if I had kids, which would require talking to a girl.

    My letter communicated a real problem to Bubba Keg. I stand behind what I wrote.

    Stay Classy!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I love this letter! Right, don't let them off the hook. Companies make bad products and then expect us to pay for it twice. It starts with a mug, but it's not only about mugs people... What if it’s a heart valve? One company discovered they produce a defective heart valve and they didn’t tell the medical community about it until they fixed the problem, in the mean time people were buying defective product without knowing it's defective! Their problem is someone else’s life...where is the professional ethics here? People who say just buy a new mug, don't solve a problem, they allow those problems to happen. The least they can do is not stay in a way of those who care enough to actually take time to write such a letter.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Kait--you and I are coming from the exact same place. I'm glad somebody gets it.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I landed on this site by typing in the search box, "Why does my Bubba Keg leak?" after spilling pop on myself once again while trying to drink from my Bubba Keg. It is my 2nd one, I am ashamed to say. I bought it because it was advertised to have a "new and improved lid". My old one leaked so I thought I'd give them another chance. Bad idea. But I will get my money's worth out of this keg - I'm going to save all my straws from the fast food joints and reuse them in my Bubba Keg!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Renak,

    Thanks for the feedback--this is good to know. I always assumed, based on the number of people who arrive here by Googling "Why does my Bubba Keg leak?" that they took the problem seriously and at least fixed the design.

    I had always been tempted but resisted buying the new design out of principle. I still use my Bubba Keg with a towel, only because it's hard to find another 30-ish ounce mug that fits my cupholder. I complain about it to anyone who will listen.

    I complained again to the company a few months ago. Now, they need you to ship the whole mug--not just the lid.

    Thanks for reading my letter!

    ReplyDelete
  7. I bought a 34 oz Bubba Desk Mug -WM with their
    new multi ribbed, non screw on seal.
    Within a few days it started leaking around the
    seal so I returned it to Publix and came home
    with a new one which now leaks in the same
    fashion as the first one. Fortunately the made
    in China label hasn't been damaged. A lousy
    product.

    ReplyDelete
  8. It seems to me to be a simple fix, make it a screw on lid and not a multi-ribbed seal. Mine leaked the second time I used it. Took it back to WalMart and they replaced it. I guess if enough of the people do that WalMart will quit buying them from the manufacture and InZone can something else to import from China.

    ReplyDelete
  9. i have the bubba coffee 16 oz do they make a lid seal for this .

    ReplyDelete
  10. my bubba screw on leaks. 2014, searched bubba leaks and here I am. was hoping someone figured out a fix for it.

    ReplyDelete