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Wooden cookware handles?

I was looking to help someone find a generic replacement handle solution for a 90’s era Revere Ware pot, and did a search on Amazon.  Much to my surprise, they were a lot of results for wooden replacement handles and knobs.  I wonder what is driving the sudden foray into making replacement handles out of wood.

Granted, wood is a good insulator and some people have turned to wood to craft a bespoke replacement handle when he couldn’t find one.  But still, is this a trend being driven by something else?  Is there new cookware that is suddenly popular that has wooden handles and knobs?  I wonder.


You’ve got to love Amazon customers

Reviewing returns on Amazon today, I just had to laugh.

In short, customer returns product and blames us because our website description was not accurate; the product wasn’t compatible with Rena Ware and we should have said so.  Here is our listing on Amazon.

Yes, we clearly need to fix that listing. 🙂

Here is another one.

Hmm.  What does the listing say about no screws:

Ah, it says there are no screws.

The sad thing is that every time a customer doesn’t bother reading the listing and ends up returning an item, it gets us one step closer to Amazon removing our listing for too many returns.  🙁


Amazon and the INFORM Act

You might think I am obsesses about Amazon given how much I write about them.  Consider though what a big part of everyone’s lives they have become in the last decade.  If you buy stuff, it is far more likely than not you buy at least some stuff from Amazon.  My household has done a lot of shopping on Amazon and I can trace my first purchase back to 1997.

Buying on Amazon is not without its challenges, and we all know that the reviews are almost always gamed and can not be trusted.  (I religiously use Fakespot for new purchase.)

But as a seller, I get a unique perspective on just how self-centered Amazon is, and how poorly they treat their sellers.  Part of the problem is that they extend far too generous terms in order to get people to compulsively buy from them.  Much of the brunt of this falls to sellers.  For example, too-generous return policy means buyers often just order things without bothering to read any of the listings, thinking they will just return it if it doesn’t work.  The downside of this is that sellers items get delisted if the % of returns are too high.  Sometimes this just means you have a product that people think will work in ways that it won’t and no amount of information in the list that people don’t read will change this.

Well this week two more things happened that made me think of the ridiculousness of Amazon.  The first is this removal I received yesterday.  A removal is a return that is considered not-resellable that the seller has opted to have sent back rather than destroyed.

Bakelite is a brittle material, so, packing like that (yes there was zero padding) isn’t the greatest.  Is this how they ship my products?

Secondly, Amazon has been really screwing up this required verification for the INFORM Act.  They first sent me such a request a month ago.

So I dutifully did as they asked.  Two weeks later, I got the same email.  This time, I went to the seller verification page and saw this:

Unfortunately that tells me nothing about what I need to provide additionally.  So I opened a case to ask what I needed to do.  Mind you, just opening a case with Amazon is a chore because they make you go through this process where they try to get you to accept some help information instead of contacting them, and it is hard to get to the point where you can open a case.  Eventually I got this response to my request.


We have received your inquiry, but we cannot provide support on this matter.

Why is this happening?
Your account has been deactivated because you have yet to complete your registration. If that is the case, you will continue to have limited access to your selling account until you complete all pending tasks.

Say what?  They can’t help at all and instead deactivated my account.  I’ve been a seller in good standing for 14 years now.

I angrily responded and eventually got them to help.


We reviewed the documents that you provided and were able to complete your verification process. You can now sign in to Seller Central and start selling on Amazon.

We’re here to help
If you have any further questions, you can contact Selling Partner Support:

The Seller Identity Verification team

Thank you for selling with Amazon,

Well thank goodness.  But here we are two weeks later and I get another seller verification email.  I’m not sure why they need to again verify my.

I am debating with myself on whether Amazon in this regard is just inept, malicious, or just don’t care about seller.



Amazon listings – another one bites the dust

If you’ve read our blog at all, you know we’ve got a lot to say about the deficiencies of Amazon’s seller marketplace, from the sellers perspective.

Oh Amazon


Selling on Amazon; can this be fixed?

Whoops, Amazon did it again and suspended listings

Amazon feedback – don’t believe what you read

That’s just a select few.

Well they did it again, with our replacement gasket for vintage pressure cookers.  The listing has been suspended and can not be reactivated.

By my calculations, over the last 12 months, 34 of 172 gaskets we’ve sold on have been returned; almost 20%.  The root of the return problem is Amazons excessively generous return policy; this motivates most customers not bother with the minimum amount of due diligence before ordering.  Combine that with the fact that Amazon routinely returns items to inventory that customers claimed were damaged, and you have the perfect storm for high returns, and the delisting of specialized replacement parts like ours.

It does appear that perhaps Amazon is taking some baby steps in the right direction.  Last month, they announced that they will start flagging items with high return rates with a “frequently returned item” tag.  I’m not sure if this is meant to truly help the problem or just mark certain items with a scarlet letter.

In any event, while we’ve tried to keep as many of our parts as possible available on Amazon for the convenience of the buyer, the headache of dealing with high returns for an items with modest sales just isn’t worth it; I am somewhat relieve to let this one go.



Amazon shows they don’t care about the customer with Amazon Day shenanigans

Have you noticed your Amazon orders taking longer than expected lately?  You order a 1-day or 2-day item and it comes several days late?  Amazon’s forced enrollment in Amazon Day might be the reason.

Amazon Day allows you to bunch up your ordered items to be delivered on a single day, in fewer boxes.  It’s a nice option for people that want it, but, beware; if you enroll it it, there appears to be no going back.  In some cases, like with our Amazon account, it can get turned on by itself, and is enabled even when settings say it is not.

If you go to your account settings, you can find your Amazon Day settings.

Now, from looking at our Amazon Day settings, you could be excused for thinking it is turned off.  That doesn’t seem to be the case.  For example, we go to order an item that shows free 2-day delivery.

But on checkout, it defaults to the following Saturday.

I spoke with Amazon customer support and they confirmed there is no way to turn Amazon Day off.  The settings appear to be completely non-functional other than the day selection (although ours shows no day selected and it is using Saturday).

I can only imagine that Amazon is forcing this on customers because most customers will fail to notice the less expedient option is chosen, or get tired of the extra hassle to use them (see below), and Amazon will save money shipping less boxes.  It seems really disingenuous to force this option on customers with no way to cancel it.

Seems strange for the company that “invented” (or at least patented) 1-click ordering to force customers to use more clicks to checkout.  The solution is to be vigilant and chose the speedier delivery option upon checkout.

If you are ordering with 1-click on a mobile app they really try to hide the option.  Click on the date area to bring up the delivery options.

Then click on the FREE Prime Delivery option.

Now here is where it gets a little strange.  You just clicked on the FREE Prime Delivery options, but it takes you to another screen where you again have to make that selection.

Hmm.  Didn’t I just select Tuesday delivery?

The fact that they make you click three more times, combined with the fact that just changing the shipping speed takes an exceptionally long time on both the mobile and desktop versions, I can only think Amazon is trying really hard here to make not using the Amazon Day delivery option really difficult.

As an Amazon marketplace seller, I’ve gotten used to Amazon foisting really unfriendly policies on sellers that help their bottom line, but this move seems just downright sleazy.  Shame on you Amazon.

Update: The deceit is much worse than I thought.  Today I tried to place a 1-click order.  Three times I clicked on the more immediate date, and three times it took me back to the confirmation window with the Amazon Day date shown as the delivery date.  It would appear they have made the area you can click on so specific, clicking anywhere else assumes you are keeping the same options.  On the fourth try, I apparently clicked on just the right spot to select the faster delivery, and it took me to the regular checkout screen with a message that my delivery options had been updated, and yet, the Amazon Day delivery was still selected.

Does the portend some kind of extreme desperation on Amazon’s part to reduce costs?  Is the post-pandemic slowdown causing them to freak-out about costs and take extreme measure to contain them?


Oh Amazon

I think these two returns from Amazon customers do a great job showing how ridiculous they can be sometimes.

This has been an ongoing problem with Amazon.  They periodically remove listings claiming high return rates, but are returning clearly defective items back to inventory to be resold again and again.  Sigh.


Hello (again) Canada!

We already sell to Canadian customers from our website, but shipping is a little ridiculous; that’s just the way the postage is between the USPS and Canada Post.  But now, it looks like has automatically opted us in to selling on from our US based inventory. Woo hoo!

You can find all of our active listings there, so enjoy, Canadian customers.


Solving problems, advanced edition

I must say, the customers that are brave enough to purchase parts from a small independent website like ours seem to be made of heartier stock than their brethren that quietly retreat to the safety of for such purchases.

We know for a fact that those of you that purchase from us directly seem to be better at reading, as you rarely ever return items just because you didn’t fully read our product pages and ordered the wrong item.  On some products on, returns approach 15% of purchases; on our site we sit comfortably south of 1% of total orders being returned.  Even the characters that buy from us on eBay hardly ever return items, so this is definitely an Amazon phenomenon (phenomazon?).

But, there are some returns that are truly based on difficulty with our parts.  Granted, trying to replicate a line of replacement parts on a shoestring that was once developed by a huge corporation is bound to result in some imperfections.  But I give you our website customers credit, you seem to either figure it out or contact us for help (which we dutifully supply in droves) and rarely ever give up and just return the darn things, like your cohorts at Amazon are more likely than not to do if there is an issue.

So we’ve made some changes to try and engage with customers more; we now put stickers on every part with our Gmail address to make it easy for people to contact us for help, and we contact every customer who returns a product (that Amazon will allow us to in their infinite wisdom) to ask what went wrong.

And it turns out, we’ve been able to identify some small issues that are worth noting from al this.

Knobs that won’t screw on easily

Sometimes, the lid knobs just don’t seem to want to screw on.  I suspect it is corrosion on the lid screws that is the ultimate culprit here.  When you see a screw that looks like this, you know there will be trouble.

I suspect the tolerance on our embedded nuts is a little tighter in our latest production run vs prior runs.

Here are some things to try if you are having hard time

  • Use some WD-40 or household lubricating oil
  • Scrub a rusty screw with a green Scotch-Brite pad to try and remove as much of the rust as possible.  A wire brush might also be helpful
  • Push the knob onto the screw to try and engage the threads
  • You can always remove the screw, drill a hole, and use a separate screw from the hardware store, as we detail here, if your screw is too far gone.

If it still doesn’t work, contact us for more help

POH-2 pot handle won’t fit flat against the pot or the holes don’t line up

This one is another head scratcher.  We’ve had a few customers where the handle fits on just fine, but the hole in the handle isn’t line up with the hole in the bracket.

If this happens to you, you can sometimes get the screw to fit in just enough to screw down, and it holds fine.  Another solution is to nibble away at the inside hole of the Bakelite handle with a Dremel tool, or a round file, to provide extra room for the screw; usually you just need another 1/16th of an inch.

We’ve also had customers for whom the handle won’t fit all the way over the bracket. Here is the bracket of one such customer (who also had the hole won’t line up issue).

I measured several brackets from my test pots and they came out at 1.75″ x .5″ x 3/16″ (deep) the same exact measurements as the customers bracket.

In this case I sent her a replacement handle that worked, so it was probably just a little extra Bakelite on the inside of the handle where the bracket fits in that was preventing it from going all the way down. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have this problem.  If you are a DIY type person and don’t want to wait for another handle to try, use a Dremel tools to remove some of the Bakelite material from where the bracket fits to get it to seat all the way.



When a customer returns an item to Amazon, warehouse staff evaluates the item to see if it is OK for resale or not (fulfillable), or they are supposed to. Since we started getting our unfulfillable Amazon returns send back to us, we’ve seen some strange things come back that were supposedly our parts.  Either customers get mixed up and return the wrong item with the wrong label, or people are intentionally returning something different than what they got so they can keep the item.  Probably some of both.

What is troubling though is when the Amazon staff returns things to inventory that are either damaged, missing parts, or the completely wrong thing.

A few months ago we started putting a sticker on all of our parts with our Gmail address so Amazon customers know how to contact us if they have an issue.  We got an email from a customer this morning that seemed really strange.

I only received the yellow part. Missing the brake part of the device

We don’t sell anything yellow and I have no idea what on our parts might be considered the brake part.  So I asked for a picture.

Well the knob looks familiar, but the yellow thing is part of a steering wheel lock.

So it appears that someone ordered that item, and our knob, and returned part of the steering wheel lock and our knob in the same return.  Amazon staff somehow evaluated this combination and found it fit for resale.

As a seller, I find much to be desired with Amazon’s Marketplace for 3rd party sellers.  As a customer, I’ve become more and more cautious about what I buy from Amazon and always try to use a service like Fakespot to vet items.  This one example shows a little bit of all that is wrong with Amazon these days. Clearly, they have chosen quantity over quality, at the expense of customers and sellers.

What I mean is that they have prioritized growth in sales volume, number of sellers, and number of products while making it harder for honest sellers and for customers, and virtually ignoring abusive sellers that do things like massively fabricate reviews and steal other sellers stores and ruin their reputation with cheap knockoff products.

Why would they do this?  Perhaps because they are the 1000 pound gorilla now and they can.  Perhaps because they have been able to deflect criticism thus far and have been taken to task over their failures.  Perhaps because they are making a conscious decision that it would just cost too much to provider better customer service for sellers and to put more effort into cracking down on abuse and fraud.

Last night my wife and I both found the same food for one of our pets, me on Amazon, and she on; same price in both places.  The choice was easy; whenever we can, we will divert our spending to another retailer over  We still give them a lot of business, but less than we used to.




Funny eBay drop shipper listings

If you aren’t familiar with the practice of eBay drop ship listings, sellers take items they can buy off, and list them on eBay for more.  When an order is placed, they simply place an order with with the eBay buyers address as the shipping address.  All this is done behind with automated software, making it very easy for these sellers to list tons of items and handle sales with a minimum of effort.

But of course, they just make money from unsuspecting buyers that don’t know to look directly on for a cheaper price.  Returns can be difficult, and you will get no support from the seller typically.  We recommend you stay away from cheesy looking listings like these on eBay.  But sometimes they can be rather funny in how inept the listings look.

We also do sell some of our more popular parts directly on eBay.

Much of the time when people list products from our listing on eBay, they just copy everything over.  But sometimes, seemingly to attempt to make them more attractive, they embellish them.  I found two such embellished listings that makes it clear the people doing this are just doing it en-masse and don’t really check the content for accuracy or to see if it makes sense.

Okay, great, top seller and fast shipping.  Does anyone really believe claims like that anymore?  It’s like adding L$$K or RARE! to an eBay listing title.  Personally, I avoid all listings like that.  And what exactly do this icons mean in the context of a product like this?

But now look what they’ve done to the content?

I got a chuckle out of that.  I’m guessing that no-one is really buying from listings like that.