Wednesday, January 26, 2011
When I informed readers on my Facebook fan page that the Wal Mart Heart-Shaped Waffle Maker would be the next Stupid Product on the blog, at least one reader misunderstood and thought I had a problem with heart-shaped waffles themselves. This could not be further from the truth. I'm a huge fan of heart-shaped waffles. I would make them on every holiday if I could.
See, I'm the kind of person who equates feeding my family good meals with love. I give them a spicy chicken salad - I'm saying, "I love you." Lasagna? I love you. Oatmeal cookies? I love you! Homemade fruit smoothies and breakfast dinners? "I SUPER LOVE YOU!"
So when I saw this at my local Wal Mart, I thought, "It's PERFECT! It says 'I love you' by being a waffle, and it says 'I love you' with a heart! Wal Mart loves me! The universe loves me! Waffles LOVE ME!"
To say that I was giddy would be to vastly underestimate my level of excitement. I went home with my $15 treasure and practically pranced it around the room for the kids. Going to sleep knowing there would be heart-shaped waffles for breakfast was like trying to sleep on Christmas Eve knowing I'd asked Santa for 50,000 hits a day on this blog. I woke up several times listening for heart-shaped hoof beats on the roof and dreaming of heart-shaped ad revenue.
The next morning, I jumped out of bed, woke the kids up to a singsong, "HEART-SHAPED WAAAAAAAAAAAFFLES!" and scurried, yes scurried, into the kitchen to start making breakfast. I scanned the instruction manual for the waffle maker, and after noting that the instructions were pretty much the same as those you'd find with any waffle maker, I plugged it in and started making magic.
Magic...mayhem...one of those.
When the waffle maker's handy little lights told me it was ready for its inaugural portion of batter, I delightedly poured the batter into the heart-shaped crevices, closed the waffle maker, and settled down to watch and wait for the moment the test waffles (read: the waffles I would eat in one bite before anyone was even out of the shower) were done.
And I waited.
And I waited.
And I waited.
I knew the instructions had just instructed me to wait until the yellow light was replaced by a green one, but I also knew what a "just about the be overcooked" waffle smelled like. I decided I'd better go ahead and get those waffles out of there, green light or no green light.
And that's when everything went wrong.
*pausing to breathe as I relive the trauma*
The waffle maker wouldn't open. Not an inch, not a centimeter, not a millimeter. No matter what I did, that waffle maker lid would not budge AT ALL. The smell of almost overcooked waffles quickly gave way to the odor of burning waffles, and I yelped each time I singed a finger on a hot part of the appliance in an attempt to find some way, any way to open the vile thing.
After more than a minute of desperate attempts to pry the stupid machine open, and with a desire to keep my fingerprints lest goons from Wal Mart drag me into the woods and kill me over disparaging the piece of junk the store sold me, I unplugged the waffle maker, focused on the scrambled eggs and turkey bacon, and seethed. Oh, but I seethed.
Once the appliance was cool enough to touch, I propped it up on its back to see if I could find a way to open it. The problem with its construction became immediately clear to me.
You see that little plastic lip that "locks" the lid closed (by reaching out and grabbing a corresponding lip on the bottom of the waffle maker)? When you press the button to release this lip, it shimmies about halfway across the lip on the bottom and no further. That's half a bottom lip that STILL has the top lip firmly attached to it. There is no way to correctly press the button and fully release this lip. The only way I was able to open the waffle maker was to dig my fingernails UNDER the lip and PRY it out of position. Obviously, when the waffle maker is plugged in and hot, this would be impossible, so the only way you're going to see any waffles you make with this thing is if you don't mind them looking like this:
I mind. I mind a lot.
We ended up eating pancakes made from waffle batter, which means we ended up eating pancakes that were much too thick to be made correctly. I cursed Wal Mart and its cheap merchandise all morning long while the kids reminded me we had decided as a family not to shop there anymore about a month before I bought the waffle maker. My kids then hurried out the door and off to the safety of school, lest my wrath turn in their direction for telling me I should have known better.
But really, I should have known better. You buy a $15 appliance at a place known for creating low quality products, and you get what you pay for. I know this. I was blinded by a literal food/love opportunity and didn't think of the possible consequences. Next time, I'll make a heart-shaped lasagna for breakfast and call it good.
Wal Mart can take a heart-shaped flying leap.
Labels: Stupid Products