Like hundreds of other people this weekend, I attended the Northwest Flower and Garden show in Seattle, Washington. These shows are packed full of vendors showing off their latest and best innovations. But Buyers beware, what you buy isn't always what you get. This is my review of the Smart Living Ceramic Cookware set that I purchased at the show.
This year I didn't have any plans to buy anything more than maybe some flower bulbs and try out the new flavors in the tasting court. Last year I got a lovely little garlic grater that I just love. So the opportunity to try and find new things is always exciting.
What I didn't know was that I was about to learn a valuable lesson about smart purchases.
Cookware that doesn't stick
Every morning I make the same thing for breakfast. 2 lightly fried eggs and gluten-free waffles. So while my routine is the same, my pans rotate. For many years I was a fan of my cast iron pans. I still love them. But more for the sentimental reasons for cooking like my Grandmother and less for their superior slipperiness when it came to making eggs.
However last year I discovered the joys of ceramic cooking. Thanks to the people at DaTerra Cucina, I discovered smooth, slippery cooking with little fats added to my food.
I LOVE my frying pan, and I used it daily. So when I went to the show this weekend and found another beautiful frying pan that promised the same surface in red, I was delighted.
I should have known better
For the “Show Special” I was able to get multiple frying pans and pots in delightful red. I LOVE red, and these just made me happy to look at. And I got all of them for around $250. I loved that deal!
Excitedly I took them home, washed them, and made my first batch of fried eggs. The guy had shown me in his demonstration how eggs were cooked with no oil at all and came out as perfect omelets.
My first batch… the eggs stuck to the pan and ripped apart. Hmm… maybe I needed to add a little oil. And yes, that did help. They slipped around the pan nicely. But something was off… and I couldn't figure out what it was.
Ruined on the first try
What was off was that this “high heat indestructible oven safe pan” was actually burning. My pan was on fire!
The gas flame and oven safe handle was charring!
I stared in horror at my pretty little egg pan with now a crispy ugly handle.
I went through a range of emotions. Sad that my pan was ruined, angry that it wasn't doing the job that it was supposed to do, and embarrassed that I ruined my pan cooking eggs on the first day!
More bad news
I called the number I found online for the pans to talk about the warranty for the pan. Even though I was confused when the man answered with a “Hello” instead of a company introduction, I told him about my issue with the pan.
“Well, these pans aren’t good for gas heat. They heat up very high and warp if the coil gets too hot.”
Wait.. that wasn’t the issue that I called about. He hadn’t been listening. And now he’d just shared the critical difference between these new pans and the Da Terra pan that I loved.
My pan can get hot. I mean crazy hot. It can go from the gas stove to the oven, and it’s freaking perfect. And surprisingly, the lid and handle with the cool silicon never changes at all.
Is this guy telling me that you can only cook on the heat plates they used at the show??
Dazed I stood there looking at my pan and feeling stupid. The whole dazzle of the pans suddenly paled as I realized I’d been duped.
In almost tears, I vowed never to go back to the Flower Show because you really can’t trust what you see. I’d been scammed along with probably dozens of other people this weekend into believing that these were the same quality pans that could be found at a higher cost.
Then I looked over at my faithful skillet and smiled. I’d put off purchasing others. But this morning as I pulled out the shiny red pans and packed them up to send back, I realized the truth that I always preach to my children hadn’t been heard by myself at all. You get what you pay for.
Over the years I've come to depend on user reviews. This weekend I strayed from the path of checking reviews and investigating before a big purchase and I regret it.
No reviews. A strange website, and a feeling like I just gave away a ton of money to a guy selling fake watches in a back alley. I learned my lesson.
Or Try These Instead: Rachael Ray 14 Piece Cucina Hard Anodized Cookware Set Agave Blue
This just proves that you are never too old to learn something new or to be reminded of the lessons of the past. If it looks too good to be true, it often is.
I was able to send my pans back for a refund after I paid for shipping. But really, I'm still annoyed and out $30 for shipping.
Getting A refund:
This part was very hard. I had to do some heavy research to discover that these pans are part of the ugly side of Multi-Level Marketing. You can not return them to the company. You have to track down the seller that you purchased from, have your receipt, and send everything back in the original box.
Don't let up!
You will need to track everything and make sure you have dates and the seller's information.
It takes effort, but we were able to get our refund.
We have heard from a lot of our readers about the frustrations they have had with this company and these pans. It is so frustrating because the company changes names and doesn't have a company standing behind it.
They are sold by vendors who travel around from show to show, peddling these products and making claims and then vanishing. So buyer, don't be fooled by these pans!
Have you tried a new gadget or invention that didn't measure up to the hype? What about found something new that you just can't live without? We'd love to hear about it.
Leave your thoughts in the comments!