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Saturday, August 11, 2012

Post# 271 - Black and Decker: Do You Manufacture a Non-Auto-Shut-off Iron? - 2/9/1998

Dear Ironing Board,

I recently purchased  your SurgXpress â Steam Iron, Model X690 for use at the restaurant which I reluctantly inherited.  With little ambition to own a struggling family restaurant that requires MAJOR investment, I have tried and tried to sell.  My staff’s wrinkle-free clothes have provided the sharp appearance necessary to sell this establishment.  It would cost almost as much to level as I would gain by selling the land.

Last week I left the iron on all night in the back room where all of the grease and paper products are kept (oops).  My wife (coincidentally) left the gas stoves on. As I soon discovered, your iron has the automatic shut-off function. 

I searched the shelves of my local appliance store, only to find that all of their Black and Decker irons feature automatic shut-off.  As a company that satisfies the varying needs of a host of different consumers, you have no doubt designed irons to meet the spectrum of differing demands.  I am interested in a model that does NOT feature an automatic shut-off.  For my particular demands, an iron that will stay on overnight is an appropriate choice.

Please provide some information (model number, suggested retail price, location) as to where I might purchase one of these “Non-Automatic Shut-off” models.   No questions asked.

Pressed, But Not Permanently,

Note from Black and Decker Service Representative Vanessa, dated 3/10/1998:

Dear Jerry,

Thank you for contacting us regarding a Black & Decker Product.

As a manufacturer, we do not engage in the retail sale of new household products.  Black and Decker Household Products are normally available from most mass merchants or discount stores, catalog showrooms, department stores and many drug, hardware and variety stores.  We suggest you call the store first to assure they have availability of the model you want.

We appreciate your interest in Black & Decker Household Products and if we can be of assistance in the future, please let us know.


Service Representative
 My response to Vanessa, sent 3/16/1998:
Dear Vanessa,

As a manufacturer, I find it alarming that you cannot provide a valued customer with a simple answer regarding the products that you ship each and every day.  I asked you a simple question:  “Do you manufacture a Non-Automatic Shut-off Iron?”   By asking Black and Decker, I felt that I was pledging my loyalty.  You responded by referring me to the “mass merchants or discount stores…department stores and many drug, hardware and variety stores.”  Obviously it doesn’t bother you that those stores might recommend other brand names (Sunbeam, Panasonic, etc.).

In any case, my needs as a customer have quickly shifted to portable space heaters.  The very same back room, containing grease and paper products, seems a bit drafty.  I am wondering if you can provide me with a part number for a space heater that does NOT feature all of these safety bells and whistles.  My efforts at the local appliance store were fruitless.  It seems that the verbiage on the packaging of every single unit contains buzz-phrases like “Cool to the Touch,” “Tip-Over Shut-off Switch,” “Thermocylindrical Heat Regulator,” or “No Heating Elements Exposed.”  I’m sorry, but that just won’t do.  My needs as a customer require a space heater not restrained by the fickle demands of a government who is overzealous on safety requirements.  Please respond.    

Ironing Out My Problems,

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