Le Creuset Braiser through mail - lids scratched
I ordered a 3.5 qt braiser through Williams-Sonoma. When I received it, the packaging seemed lesser than what my dutch oven came packed in around Thanksgiving. There were scratches around the perimeter of the lid, so I returned it for a replacement. The second one came the same way. All of the little plastic things were floating around in the box, and the lid was not protected from the base. I returned it also, and went to a WS store today. I opened 2 boxes before leaving (without it) because I saw the same thing. And, its not just white stuff than can be rubbed off, it is scratched. The one in the store wasn't so bad, but since I am paying 230.00 for something, I'd rather not purchase it scratched.
My dutch oven came (through the mail) with the lid packed separately in its own cardboard, and it is perfect. Since I don't actually "need" the braiser (I've just become in love with le creuset), I'm willing to shop around until I find one that meets my standards.
Just curious if any of you have seen the same problem? Would you have bought it anyway if only a very small scratch?
Check and see if there is a Le Creuset outlet store near you. Even if there is not one close enough to visit you can call them and they will ship. These stores frequently have specials on certain pieces and colors, so you might want to get on the mailing list and wait until a special comes up that interests you.
I purchased a 3.5 braiser last year from the outlet for $US 102 (outlet price for factory second, plus special 30% discount at the time of purchase). Even though it's called a factory second I am hard pressed to find the default.
Even though you might not *need* the braiser, I have found it to be a very useful and versatile piece and I am very glad that I have it. It provides more surface area that a french oven for browning and sauteeing. It's great on the stovetop and can also go into the oven. It's perfect for recipes that don't require a lot of liquid. It is heavy though, I need to remove the lid and lift the pan separately to move it in and out of the oven.
I'd be mighty PO'd, too, if I were you. The LC prices are rapacious to start with; for the retail (and even the "sale") prices, they ought to come swathed in silk damask. The omission of a small sheet of cardboard or foam tells you pretty much everything that needs telling: They. Don't. Care. About. Anything. But. Your. Money.
My advice is that, if you must have ECI--and it must be LC--buy vintage. Vintage may come pre-scratched or in a non-trendy color, but it's usually better quality and at 10-20% of the price. Unlike W-S and LC, eBay sellers know better than to use the "little plastic things".
You sure you're running with the right crowd?
I don't blame you. I would want an unscratched one too, especially at full retail. All the LC pieces I have with lids have come with a piece of cardboard separating the lid from the base. It's usually a full piece of cardboard, the size on the box, with two flaps and a hole in the middle to accommodate the knob on the lid which comes upside down over the base.
I had the same problem with the Staub mini cocottes I bought from W-S online. One of the lids was loose in the box and scratched off a piece of enamel on one of the other lids ( they came in a set of three). I've only shopped online from WS a couple times, I generally shop in the store and even then I've only bought maybe 2 pieces of my LC collection from them. I generally buy on ebay or Amazon as they have better selection and prices and I've never had problems with damage.
In the case of the mini cocottes I kept them because it was one out of the 6 I bought, I knew I wasn't likely to use the lids on all of them very often and I've a lot going on with my husband in the hospital so I didn't have the time or energy to mail them back or return them to the store.
My smaller LC brasier I bought from Amazon and it came in perfect condition, as have my other purchases from them.
Today I purchased the same braiser only to have the same experience. I feel disappointed. The nearest Williams Sonoma is an hour away from me, and I made a special trip to see the ocean color in person. When I discovered the flaw after taking it out while in my car, I took it back inside to inquire about getting another. There is lesser packaging and most of the plastic spacers in my box were lying in the corner and not attached to the pan. I think that the small scratches are happening when the inverted lid is rubbing on the rough exposed cast iron of the pan. Total bummer because a bigger piece of cardboard and better packaging would eliminate this problem.
Back inside the store the clerk said that they see the spacers just floating around in the boxes often. I was told they usually only have one braiser per color in stock at a time and that I could take a look at the display on the shelf and take that one instead. The display also has a few small scratches. I hate to be nit-picky, but this is very expensive cookware. I take care of my collection, and I do use it often. I decided just to take the pan and to come home and inspect the other pieces I own thinking that they may have little flaws especially after years of use. NOPE. They all look great. Even the dutch oven I had shipped through the mail apparently was and is still looking great. I called another WS to see if they would check out their braisers. Same thing. Little scratches on rim. So it looks like if I want a braiser I have to accept the flaws. Just really bummed that something as simple as an extra piece of cardboard would eliminate this problem.
Never bought a LC braiser...I did however have a problem recently with an inexpensive clock to put in my shop...It didn't work...sent it back....they sent another....it didn't work either...sent it back and asked for a refund ~ More than one way to tell time ya know!! ~~ So, no I wouldn't have bought the LC anyway....Ya done good!!