Friday, September 14, 2007


Or, How Cuisinart Broke My Heart

Many many years ago, or exactly 30.5 years ago, my aunt received a Cuisinart food processor for Christmas. And she loved it, and she and my mom played around with it and then my mom loved it.

Here I am, having just turned three years old, sitting on my aunt's lap as she perused her brand new Cuisinart instruction manual.

She read and I stole her bracelets. A good time was had by all!

So the following year for my mom's birthday, my aunt bought my mom a Cuisinart. My mom loved her own Cuisinart food processor as much as she loved my aunt's and let me tell you, she used the hell out of that little machine. She had a dozen or so fancy blades as well as the regular ones and she basically used it every night. And yes I remember her using it every night because the dish washer, that would have been me, had to wash the parts by hand since they weren't put in the dish washing machine. Anyway, when she died, the Cuisinart came to me where it did not get much use for several years. And by much use I mean no use. It sat on a shelf, collecting dust. But then I got into the whole "cooking" thing and the Cuisinart came out more and more often (as did the KitchenAid mixer, but that is a whole 'nother story).

So, the Cuisinart and I were friends. We made many things together, many good things like chicken croissants and spinach dip. And a couple of months ago, we were making one of these very good things, chicken croissants, when my little Cuisinart gave a gasp and quit working. I gave a gasp too.

I contacted Cuisinart and the woman told me I could send my machine in for repair but she wasn't sure about the details of costs and things like that, so I did nothing. I figured the shipping on this thing would be an arm and a leg being that it weighed just under four tons and couldn't decide what to do. A friend told me to send it in and see what Cuisinart would do. She thought as a loyal long time customer, they would repair it for free or send me a new one if it couldn't be repaired. She was an optimist and it was contagious.

So I called Cuisinart and said, "Yes sign me up! Fix my machine!" And Cuisinart said, "Okay, give us the serial number." And I said, "I have no serial number, it is a CFP model nine." And Cuisinart said, "No, no, silly, all machines have a serial number." And I said, "No really, no serial number!" And Cuisinart said, "Liar!" And I said, "Nu-uh!" And they said, "Uh-huh" And I said, "Listen to me, this is a CFP model nine, it is like 20 years old, There. Is. No. Serial. Number." And Cuisinart said, "Let us speak amongst ourselves." And they did. And they decided that maybe I was not in fact a liar and that they gave me a random number to use and told me to mail it in. And so with my random number, I went to UPS and paid thirty friggen dollars and sent off my little baby with a kiss and a sob letter explaining that it was my mom's machine and I've treasured it and loved it and used it and my dozen blades and could they please fix it, pretty, pretty please with sugar and a cherry on top, oh and give it kisses while I wasn't there to do so.

Well yesterday Cuisinart called me and left an obscure message about a thirty year old machine and how I should go look at new machines and then please call them back. And I was confused, but did as asked and then called Cuisinart this morning. Cuisinart said, "Dumbass, your machine is twenty-five to thirty years old, what the hell are you doing sending this old ass shit to us. We no fix." And I said, "What?" And Cuisinart said, "Yes, we don't know why you were told to send this machine in, must be the stupid people in Florida's new call center. Anywho, we haven't done repairs on this machine in at least ten years. And I know this because I, Customer Service Representative, have worked for this fine company ten years and when I started we did not fix machines this old." And I said, "But ... but..." And Cuisinart said, "We'll make you a deal, we'll sell you a refurbished machine for $100." And I said, "Pardon?" And Cuisinart said, "We realize you can get a brand new machine for around the same price, but that is our offer. And just so you know, I personally wouldn't recommend taking the offer, but it is there none the less."

Here are a few of the Cuisinart's blades. I'm not quite sure what they all do.

And I said, "But my blades, all of my glorious blades!" And Cuisinart said, "Yah you're screwed. They won't work on the new machines, and we don't recommend you try to make them work." And with tears streaming down my face because I am a sucker who personified her poor little machine into an orphan in a far away city by its sad little self wondering why it was sent here so very far away without its family, tried to wheel and deal. Although, with all the sniffling I was probably not at my top level of wheeling and dealing performance. And Cuisinart said, "No. No coupons or rebates or discounts or bupkis. We don't do that kind of thing." And I said, "Well could you at least send me my little baby back?" And Cuisinart said, "Sure." And that was the end of that.

So in the next week or so I expect to get my sweet little Cuisinart back and I'm not sure what I'll do at that point. Per Cuisinart's message, I had gone into Williams-Sonoma and spoke to an Awesome Sales Associate who showed me all the new machines. Awesome Sales Associate feels like there should be a solution to my issues and asked me to bring in some of my blades to see what, if anything they fit on. She was kinda intrigued that my blades had the stems affixed on them. Even though I know it is not going to work, I'm going to bring the blades in anyway. But from there, eh, I don't know what to do. The Cuisinart customer service rep was really nice when she was bursting my bubble, destroying my hopes and telling me to go screw. But nonetheless, she did tell me to go screw. So, do I by a new Cuisinart knowing that the company won't do squat for long time customers? But at the same time knowing I may not need squat for thirty years? And also, would it be weird to bury my poor dead machine in the back yard? You know, a proper burial and all that.


Brena said...

Interestingly enough, you've now made ME want a Cuisinart. 30 years!!!!! And all 3 of you loved them? Hmm...

I think they should reimburse you your $30 though. That is crap customer service.


barbp said...

In this situation I would check with a small appliance repairman - he would of course laugh at me and tell me I'm screwed. So I have no useful suggestions.

Keeping my fingers crossed that your baby doesn't come back COD.

Rebecca said...

You know, this reminds my of my SLR camera. The trusty camera that got me through college photography classes with a kickass collection of lenses. The kind that is completely obsolete so none of the lenses would work with a new camera, and the broken film-loading mechanism would cost me as much to fix as a new camera.

Obsolescence. Bah.

Anonymous said...

Cuisinart started downhill around 1980. Check the bottom of yours, it was made in France. All French units are the original quality that the name was built on and you loved. Heavy Duty models CFP-5 and CFP-5A. Regular models CFP-9 and CFP-9A. All blades, bowls etc interchange. Search ebay for " Cuisinart CFP ". There currently is a CFP-9A base unit only for under $30. It happens to be harvest gold so you may want to keep looking but they show up regularly. The bowl and blades are the expensive parts so when they break people sell off the other parts. They sold a lot of these units and at roughly $200 a pop in 1980 dollars they were well made.

After 1980 Cuisinart started making things in China and it showed. They also started relying on bells, whistles and marketing instead of quality. Each year brought a new model that was supposedly so much better then last year’s model. Some of these were still pretty good but not like the French models.

Then around 1990 Conair bought the name. They pretend to be the same but they are garbage. You saw how they treat customers. They only have the same name they are not the same company. The units they make now are made to last a few years then thrown away, not fixed and then they expect you will buy a new one.

Anonymous said...

I just bought a Cuisinart CFP food processor today on ebay (I lost mine in the divorce I demoed them for Macy's in the late 70's). If you decide not to buy yourself a replacment base unit I would be glad to buy your remaining parts and love and care for them as you have. But I do urge you to keep yours alive, just don't condem it the garage again.

Dichotomos said...

Just a note to say ...

For 'a reason' I Googled CFP 5A to see what I could find.


The reason I was looking is I got a CFP 5A at an auction the other day. Saw it in a box with a bunch of other stuff, the Cuisinart looked Very unused. I went to lift the unit, realized I would embarrass myself (DARN this is heavy, the base alone weighs about 14 pounds) so I only spun the motor post to make sure the motor wasn't frozen. I decided to get it if the price was right.

I was the only bidder, I got it for $1.

Before reading this blog (?) post I figured this food processor was only going to be a learning tool, something for me to learn about food processors and figure out what I really want in one.

Now I see this may be with me for a very long time.