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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Post # 109 - Magic Chef, Walmart, and This Too Shall Pass - 8/17/09

This started as an innocent letter to "Magic Chef", the supposed manufacturer of my bread maker.  All I wanted was a replacment paddle thing for my bread maker--mine disappeared.  As it turns out, Magic Chef is another name for....Walmart.

Dear Magic Chef,

It happened last month--I made a loaf of bread using my Magic Chef bread maker. The loaf was intended for my Great Auntie Marge's 95th birthday party. We had rented a moon bounce, hot air balloons, and a Frank Sinatra sound-a-like. The loaf would be the final piece in a delightful deli spread. The guests--Marge's still-living friends, and relatives, but no kids (Marge doesn't like kids), would take turns at the different activities, while enjoying thinly sliced cold cuts, delightfully aged cheeses, and gourmet spreads, on my delicious bread.

They say it happens for every baker once--you bake a recipe to perfection, and it seduces you with no warning. That bread came out perfect, and it was all crunchy on the outside and steamy moist on the inside. The steamy aroma grabbed a hold of my attention like some gin-fueled temptress. Next thing I knew, I tore into that loaf like a rabid bear. In my mind, as I ingested large chunk after large chunk, I thought of mean things Marge did to me as a kid. Pennies for Halloween. Eating all of the cookies. Clipping her toenails in my father's lazy chair, and not chasing after the shrapnel. As I polished that last bite, I thought "to heck with Auntie Marge."

As I hastily threw back together the ingredients, I realized that I accidentally ingested the little paddle that kneads the dough. Often, that thing would come out of the bread maker, impaled, if you will, in the bottom of the loaf of bread. I've had several close calls, but this time, I accidentally swallowed it. I know it's large, but this loaf was REALLY good and I got a bit overzealous. When I get overzealous, sometimes I forget to chew. This was confirmed when I received my x-ray, which shows it more or less "lodged" in my intestinal tract.

Doc says it's harmless, as long as I don't feel any pain. He said more harm could come from operating, than could come from having it "pass" naturally (which could take 7 to 10 years). Doc said I would know when it was "passing". He also gave me a special "permission slip" for airport security, since it may set off the alarms.

To me, this is something that should be fixed with your design. The paddle shouldn't come out in the loaf. That seems unsafe to me. A lesser man might have encountered complications.

In the meantime, is there any way you could send me a replacement paddle? Otherwise. I have to wait several years to bake bread again.

By the way, Auntie Marge won't be having another birthday. She passed.


Reply from Ray at Magic Chef, on 8/18/2009

That is not a product that we sell or service. Please contact Wal-Mart Small Appliance @ 800-966-6546 for assistance with that item.

MC Appliance
I sent this on 9/13/2009

Dear Walmart--

I was referred to you by Magic Chef Ray. He said Walmart Small Appliances services Magic Chef Breadmakers. Please see my attached note. And no, it still hasn't passed. Can you help?

Walmart replied on 9/15/2009 with a survey asking me to critique how well they handled my problem. It was 25 questions--basically five questions restated five ways. I'll skip to the comments section:

Dear Customer,

Our records indicate that you recently contacted our Customer Service Department at We would appreciate it if you would take a few minutes to share your experience with us so we may continuously improve our service in the future.

The survey is short and should not take more than 5 minutes to complete.

Thank you in advance for sharing your time and opinions with us today. We really appreciate it.

It's Your Walmart!!!

Walmart: Is there ONE thing could have done to completely satisfy you? Please be as specific as possible.

Jerry: For starters, respond to my note before you send a survey asking how well you handled my problem.

Walmart: Do you have any other comments you would like to share with us about this experience with's Customer Service?

Jerry: Unacceptable. This survey would have been much more positive had someone responded first. It looks bad--like all Walmart cares about is their image.

Response from Walmart on 9/15/2009

Thank you for your message.

Dear Jerry,

Thank you for your correspondence regarding your merchandise inquiry. Our goal is to assist you by forwarding this information to the proper department. Please assist us in expediting your resolution by providing the following information:

Regarding the Wal-Mart store you visited (there may be more than one store in your city and we would like to narrow it down to your local store):

- Store number or telephone number (located near the top of store receipt)


- Street address including City/State

Regarding your contact information so someone may contact you back:

- Your telephone number

Regarding merchandise information:

- UPC #, located underneath the product barcode or on your receipt

If it is a food item:

- 'Best By' date
- Lot code number (located next to 'Best By' date)

If the UPC number is unavailable, please provide the following:

- Brand name
- Model number (if applicable)
- Please, describe the size, color, use, etc. of the product

Your Walmart experience is important to us and we will make every effort to address your issue in a timely manner.

Thank you for allowing Walmart to continue saving you money, so you can live better.


Walmart Customer Care

For further correspondence regarding this issue, please reply to this email.
My response on 9/22/2009:


This breadmaker is a Magic Chef. I contacted Magic Chef. They told me to contact Walmart. This was all covered in my original note.

The breadmaker was purchased circa 2004 at your store in Livonia. This isn't a store issue. It's a design issue with the product. The paddle in the bread machine came out in the loaf of bread. I accidentally swallowed it. My x-ray is attached.

I don't have a phone. I threw it out when I became Amish. It didn't take, and I'm part-way back. No phones or TV's. Computers only for email and internet and games. Amish people eat bread, so I felt justified with my bread machine purchase.

Model Number is CBM-310(310).

Walmart Michelle's response on 9/28/2009:

Thank you for your message.

Dear Jerry,

Thank you for contacting us about the Magic Chef Breadmaker that you purchased. We appreciate your comments and have forwarded them to the appropriate areas for review. Unfortunately, we do not carry replacement parts for this model any longer.

Again, thank you for contacting us and for your business. We look forward to serving you in our stores for many years!

If we can be of any further assistance, please contact us at by e-mail or at 1-800-WALMART.

Thank you
Wal-Mart Merchandising Team

For further correspondence regarding this issue, please reply to this email.
My reply 9/28/2009, sent to Walmart Michelle and Magic Chef Ray

Dear Michelle,

I am angry.

I am actually yelling the words that I am typing, at my keyboard. Are you actually sending this case to Ray at Magic Chef Appliances? What that really means is, no one at Walmart read my original note that detailed that Magic Chef Ray referred me to you.

So my question is, for both you, Walmart Michelle, and you, Magic Chef Ray: Who stands by a product that neither party wants? At some point a decision was made that Products 1 to 1000 were staying with Company X, and Products 1001 to 2000 were staying with Company Y. Were there other products whose customers, it was decided, would not receive support?

The irony of my situation is, I need lots of fiber to “push” the paddle out. That fiber comes from the very bread that I CANNOT MAKE because no one will provide me the service that I need.

Magic Chef Ray, I’m sorry—I don’t know much about your outfit—maybe this is standard procedure—to magically disappear. Walmart Michelle—I expect more from your outfit, founded on Customer Comes First.

I think you should both drop and give me 20.

It will be a long time--a very long time--before I spend money on either of your products.


Walmart sent two follow-up letters by mail, asking me to call about a settlement.  I didn't call--the word "settlement" sounded a little too official for someone who lost his breadmaker paddle and was just looking for a replacement and a better product for future customers.  It sounded like they were finally making an effort.

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  1. That's horrible! I had the same experience with a swimming pool I purchased from Wal Mart with a 3 year extended warranty. Not even a full year after purchase, the pump quit working. I was given several run arounds from both the pool suppliers and Wal Mart. Finally, I got tired of the run around, took my pump to the Wal Mart it was purchased and explained my problem. They began to send me on the run around again! Luckily I had all my proof that I had already done this. It took a representative from the pool supplier calling the Wal Mart representative a liar about the pump even being sold with my pool. Apparently the Wal Mart rep didn't like being called a liar so she took me the back, opened a pool box same as mine and gave me the new pump that the pool rep said we wouldn't find in a new box. My advice would be to avoid all the phone calls and letters and go straight to the source, you will find someone there who can actually help you and not direct you somewhere else!

  2. Man! Could remember my name at wordpress and lost you a couple of times - but I really wish to thank you for such a great blog experience! hah hah! You made my day here at my slow-moving job! THANKS! I used my new (very old - not used) bread machine I got at freecycle yesterday. It emitted an odor of burnt plastic or something - but the bread was delicious! THANK GOD I pulled out the little thingie before I swallowed it - I can get how that happened to you! HAH HAH hah hah!

    So anyway THANKS. Mari