Blog post Consumer reports

Sumo wreslters can’t eat here

In April 2013 my wife and I bought a dining room table from Gallery 1 in Burnside. It looked solid and sported a beautiful finish. It was artificially “distressed”, a look that we don’t normally care for, but it was well done. The price was $1,200, which was a tad high by our standards, but we told ourselves it was time to invest in a “quality” table. Gallery 1, as you might expect, assured us that this was indeed a quality piece.

table-4
Above: End-view of dining table made by Canadel and sold by Gallery 1. The gap is known in the trade as a “crack” caused by a “lousy piece of wood”. However, says Gallery 1, Canadel reasons that because the “crack” took more than a year to show up, it cannot be a manufacturing defect. (Note to self: stop inviting Sumo wrestlers to dance on our dining table.)

Unfortunately, the manufacturer, Canadel, must have turned the dial on their customizer from “distress” all the way up to “create premature failure” when making this table. The result is that three years later, this “quality” piece of furniture now features a large “crack”, to use the technical terms. Consequently, it no longer accepts the extension that came with it and, when you move the table, one leg swings out from under by about 15 degrees.

Again for the technically-minded, the table cost twelve hundred “dollars”.

This happened less than three years after we bought the table, during which time we used the extension maybe twice.

The table was guaranteed for one year. A smarter shopper would have rejected the item on seeing that. My bad.

In any case, neither Canadel nor Gallery 1 felt they had an obligation to fix it, although Gallery 1 offered me the name of a repair person. Here is Gallery 1’s final word on the issue: “Unfortunately, Canadel has declined the claim (because) they feel if it were a manufacturer’s defect it would have happened in the first year.”

I would agree with that if we had been dancing on this table, but those days are long behind us. (BTW, we’ve owned $200 tables upon which Sumo wrestlers could safely dance away the night.)

If you follow Canadel’s logic to its conclusion, purchasers of their fine tables can expect to use the extension once, maybe twice, before it breaks.

By way of contrast, I’ve been buying Apple computers since 1993 or so and never had to replace one because it broke. On two occasions, I encountered problems well after the guarantee had expired. But Apple identified both problems as “known issues” and fixed them anyway  —  at no cost. That is to say zero — no parts, no labour, no shipping. My only expense was driving to the Apple outlet.

Thus, I will continue to buy Apple products, despite their slightly higher prices. The company, even though it’s a behemoth, stands behind its work.

I cannot say the same for Canadel or Gallery 1.

If you need furniture, my advice is to wait for the new Ikea store.

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