Can I just say, I love John Lewis? I know I’ve said this before, and no, I’m not being paid, but in a mad, bad world there’s something just so blissful about a shop which is nice to you when it’s taking your money and, more importantly, is still just as nice to you when something goes wrong and you want that money back.
Those who follow me on Twitter (and if not, why not? @DDsDiary) will know I’ve been ranting, of late, about KitchenAid. This American firm, which admittedly does make the most beautiful appliances on the market, is really getting up my nose. It’s not fashionable to say it, particularly when their glossy, candy-coloured machines are heavily featured in The Great British Bake-off and Nigellisima, but I’m actually beginning to think they are not all they’re cracked up to be.
My lovely TL bought me a KitchenAid for my birthday in May. It’s a delicious blue, and came with a heavy glass bowl. I specifically chose the glass bowl because I’m not mad about stainless steel (better for operating theatres, surely?). The glass alternative turned out to weigh a ton, and be a pain to attach to the machine, and have a plastic ring which kept falling off, but I decided it was worth it as it wasn’t all cold and steely. Then, about a month ago, after a gentle cake-making session with Child Two, I noticed, to my absolute horror, that the glass bowl had a large crack in it. Blimey! I thought it was unbreakable, or at least made from toughened glass. But apparently not. It had been splintered by a very light Victoria sponge.
Now, as TL had sensibly bought the thing from John Lewis, the obvious course of action would have been to take it straight back. But no. I decided I didn’t want to bother John Lewis, they had enough to do with the paralympics, and I decided I was cross enough to ring KitchenAid instead. I duly did, was told firmly that the bowl was not included in the warranty (why not?) and that I’d have to stump up the money for a new one if I wanted to carry on baking. As the mixer cost over £400 (yes, I peeked at the receipt), I was pretty peeved. But I shelled out for a new bowl, in hated steel this time, and was told it would come in a week.
It didn’t come. And it didn’t come. And it didn’t come again. And every time I rang, I was told it was coming. Eventually, yesterday, I decided to see whether I could get the bowl anywhere else. It’s been a long month without cake. It turned out that Amazon had them in stock. So I rang KitchenAid and said that I was going to go elsewhere. ‘Oh, the bowls have just come in,’ said customer services airily. Yay, I said, and when can I expect mine? ‘Oh, probably in a week,’ was the answer. A week? Why, if they’re sitting right there? ‘Oh, well, they have to be allocated, and that takes time ….’ I cancelled my order, did a re-order on Amazon, and today I have my bowl. Less than 24 hours later.
So where does John Lewis come in? Well, once my bowl had arrived this morning, I decided I’d also do something about my pasta attachment. This worked brilliantly the first time I used it, but ever since has been shredding my pasta sheets into a lacey collection of holes, unless I do it in tiny quantities, which takes hours and is quite boring. I’d bought the attachment from John Lewis, so I thought I’d just see what they said. I rang the Bluewater store, spoke to a kind lady who sympathised with the tattered state of my pasta, but said that the attachments were not in stock. ‘Tell you what, we’ll ring you when the attachment is back in, then you can come along and just do a straight swap,’ she said. Or, in other words, carry on making pasta in very small quantities until we can sort it out for you. How lovely. Thank you, John Lewis, I will. I do wish I’d just told you about my bowl traumas instead of going to blimmin KitchenAid. Grrr. Meanwhile, if anyone has any tips for making hole-free pasta sheets, please let me know x