Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Teapot Happenings - Buyer Beware!

So, this is the teapot that I purchased sometime back from an online tea store in Portland, Oregon. 
It was only about a month ago that I used it for the first time.

When I initially saw this pot,  I was charmed by it because it was unglazed, simple and had much potential in achieving a nice patina with constant use. 
However, this was not to be. 
What I discovered instead was a genie in the bottle that gave me wishes that I did not ask for.

The initial finding on taking the pot out of the box that said "Made In India' was a little black spot. 
I checked the tea website and saw that they had posted that the teapot was made in China. (Hence, the packaging of the box was not where the pot was made.)
There are no markings or seal imprinted at the bottom of the pot as most pots usually do have some sort of marking.
I wipe it off with a damp cloth and the mark became larger. 
At which point I decided to wash the teapot thinking it could be accumulated dust from manufacturing.
To my surprise the larger mark became even larger and the rest of the pot became somewhat dark. 
I waited for it to dry thinking it would remedy itself. 
It did not.

Then I decided to use the pot and it became brackish. 
I then asked my colleague as to what was going on with teapot, as I thought I was going unimaginably delusional.
This is what the teapot looks like after a month of use.

After one month of use - possible carbon in clay?
So, this is the professional opinion as to why the pot discolored quickly and not from the natural aging process of use.

'My experience with clays in not large but many years ago I was involved in the potters craft as a hobby. I remember my teacher explaining to me that with traditional clays used for various potteries that a glaze must be utilized to be able to withstand daily use over fire, baking, etc. The typical white/gray clays unglazed when exposed to high heat, (during firing) that the clay did not have the properties to withstand the heat and exposure to other heat sources during daily utility like oven, boiling water, etc. I inquired if this could be remedied and to his knowledge mentioned only that adding carbon dust to the clay will dramatically alter it's vulnerabilities to heat exposure during daily use.
I noticed this difference in color in the teapot and not so much in the lid....you could discern the amount by tiny black specs in the clay.
In the picture the pot is dark and oddly colored (patina). - C.H.C'

So that's the supposition, that carbon dust may have been added to remedy the clay the manufacture was using. 
It would have been ideal for the tea store in Portland, Oregon to have divulged this even if they did not know about it initially. 
But life is not always ideal. 
It may not have been important to them however, to keep your customer base's trust is what keeps you in business for the long term.
This could have been remedied by sending out an email to your customer base or even putting a notification regarding the issue on their website. 
However, knocking the price down to closeout their inventory does not remedy the fact that people work for their money and want value for their money spent.
No one likes to be hoodwinked!

Things are just that, things. 
Man-made, susceptible to great and minor flaws - these are our inherent traits regardless of what the social garb you choose to put on for your presentation.
Being upfront about the flaws of your product does not show your weakness but your strength to trust your customers and their judgements.
Needless to say, after almost 10 years of patronage, I have sadly chosen to no longer be part of their customer base or referral.
An unfortunate choice but nonetheless a conscientious choice.
Buyer beware!

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