Hey Amazon: Cast Iron Frying Pans And Glass Don't Mix

Reader TJ questions the mind that packed a cast iron frying pan and a glass coffee pot in the same box, without adequate padding:

I’m sure you get a number of these, but here’s another one because I know I don’t get tired of them. A word of advice to anyone planning on making a purchase from Amazon.com that I overlooked myself; do not order anything glass with anything heavy, as they most likely WILL package them together.

Two weeks ago I placed an order with Amazon. My order included some kitchen items: a strainer, some bakers cooling racks, a French press coffeemaker and a cast iron skillet. In my own stupidity I figured Amazon had been in this business long enough to know to package a glass coffee press and a cast iron skillet either in separate boxes, or with enough protection from one another.

Well, as you can tell from the attached photos, they were placed in direct contact and of course the coffee press shattered into about 20-30 pieces. At least they used the right size box, right? Well, joking aside, since I placed a “Free-shipping” order I’m told it will take over a week for them to get me a replacement. So, just as a warning to others, the best advice I can give is carefully select how you place your orders, because Amazon won’t think twice about packing a fragile item with a weighty one.

TJ

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Comments

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  1. azntg says:

    Sharp. Real sharp, Amazon.com!

  2. corthepirate says:

    common sense is not very common

  3. bohemian says:

    I want to know what Amazon facility it shipped out of. I get grocery orders out of somewhere in TN or KY. They have usually been packed properly.

  4. Leiterfluid says:

    Nobody’s blaming the maker of the coffee press for poorly packaging their product?

    I would think a reasonable amount of packing foam or other materials would have helped keep it safe.

    Plus, where are the 500 air bags Amazon usually packs in the box…

    Maybe I’m just being cynical this morning.

  5. Dervish says:

    That really, really sucks. But I approve of the purchases shown.

  6. royal72 says:

    “Hey Amazon: Cast Iron Frying Pans And Glass Don’t Mix”

    you’ve obviously never smoked meth.

  7. valarmorghulis says:

    @Leiterfluid: retail store shelves aren’t known for their propensity to damage products. i’m sure that when they are bulk shipped they are adequitly packaged.

  8. courtarro says:

    @Leiterfluid: The coffee maker is packaged for retail display, which is pretty common for a lot of products sold by Amazon. It’s Amazon’s responsibility to see that retail packaging is properly supplemented for shipping abuse, and they obviously didn’t do that in this case.

  9. mopar_man says:

    I got a single 52mm UV filter in a box filled with air bags from Amazon. Not long before that, I received my iPod touch from them in a padded envelope. Inconsistency is the name of the game at Amazon.

  10. sir_eccles says:

    Clearly it’s the consumer’s fault!

    Having said that, those “Lodge Logic” cast iron skillets are lovely. Just don’t get any soap on them!

  11. FrenchBenj says:

    What is happening at Amazon? Their packaging used to be (a few years back) best in the business: just enough that the items would arrive safely without massive waste. Now it’s completely haphazard… What has changed?

  12. jesuismoi says:

    @FrenchBenj

    I don’t think Amazon is shipping directly anymore for many purchases. They are simply often acting as a ordering mechanism for manufacturers who drop ship directly to you… even when you buy “from” amazon and not one of the other sellers.

  13. arcticJKL says:

    Was this purchased from Amazon directly or from one of the companies that uses their web interface?

    Ive seen a lot of low price products that seem to be sold from companies staffed by idiots on Amazon.

    When you buy from Amazon.com choose the company you deal with carefully.

  14. Difdi says:

    I’ve ordered books from Amazon before, that arrived with those airbag things. Just books in the box, books that wouldn’t be harmed by a little rough handling. Yet they rate airbags and a glass carafe does not? Way to go Amazon!

  15. DrGirlfriend says:

    Yeah, that sucks.

    But, being the owner of that very same Lodge cast iron pan, may I recommend to the OP that he use it to make cornbread. It’s the perfect cornbread-making vessel.

  16. ShortBus says:

    Ditto; I too highly recommend Lodge Logic iron skillets. They’re dirt cheap and work much better than any of the expensive nonstick, aluminum pans I own. It’s also going to outlast my eventual grandkids.

    I’ve washed mine once in four years, generally just wiping it out with some kosher salt (an abrasive) and vegetable oil (to help keep it seasoned).

    Lodge Logic is also the last remaining company in the US to make cast iron cookware domestically (at least they were a couple of years ago–don’t know if they’ve moved overseas)

  17. montecon says:

    Did it come with a note that said, “This wouldn’t have happened if you sprung for Amazon Prime like we told you to do.” ?

  18. matto says:

    I also want to know if this was really from Amazon or an Amazon Marketplace merchant. It really looks like a typical Marketplace merchant screwup, and is the reason why I never buy from them.

  19. surgesilk says:

    Ughh, understand how a channel works before assessing liability. Depending on who you bought it from, it may have come directly from merchant (about 40% of the time). You could not readily or easily tell where it came from…merchant or Amazon. But guessing from the category those products fall into, I would hazard a guess that it was merchant shipped.
    Not that it makes any less stupid to pack it that way, of course.

  20. BigBoat says:

    Why not use soap? Absorb forever?

  21. Amazonian says:

    I know a fair percentage of our order fulfilling stuff is automated, but damn, I’m disappointed that it didn’t catch that.

    However, the post does say he used the free shipping. There is a reason it’s free.

    If you don’t feel like paying the$10 it probably would have cost to ship the order that included glass, just go to the mall and buy it.

  22. consumed says:

    Note to readers: Never buy a plastic French press. I made the mistake of getting one of those once, and the press mechanism lasted through about two pots of hot water before the plastic went brittle and broke in half. So I bought a Bodum press at Starbucks and it still works great… except the metal holder kind of rusted onto the glass after a few uses.

  23. LikeYourFace says:

    @Leiterfluid:You’re right. The average packing job on a coffee press should totally be able to withstand being shipping around the country, repeatedly whacked with a cast iron skillet. I mean, that’s normal wear and tear, right?

  24. GearheadGeek says:

    @Leiterfluid: The coffee press ships from the manufacturer in a box containing several other coffee presses, each packed in the cardboard retail box shown, probably with a little packaging to keep it from moving much in the retail box.

    My little 8″ Lodge skillet weighs 5 lb, and my 12″ fryer weighs 8. Since Bodum doesn’t ship things like that packaged with their coffee presses, they’re not responsible for designing the packages to deal with it.

  25. GearheadGeek says:

    @BigBoat: Soap will take off the “seasoning”… a layer of cooking oil you initially bake on (if you buy basic cast iron… Lodge bakes it on for you if you buy Logic.) That’s why your granny’s cast iron (and mine!) is blacker than the stuff you see in the store. The seasoning is why stuff doesn’t stick.

  26. itsallme says:

    This wouldn’t have occurred if they used a separate box for each item, but then we would complain of excessive waste.

  27. FLConsumer says:

    Add one more +1 to the Lodge Logic pan. It’s one of the few pans available in the US which works with an induction stove. Also, IKEA’s cookware works well with induction cooktops as well (no surprise).

  28. lpranal says:

    Coffee Presses and Cast Iron. Two of the coolest things i’ve discovered this year.

  29. mikelotus says:

    I am sure Amazon took care of the issue very fast also. And cast iron skillets rule.

  30. TJ Gant says:

    Hey all,
    That’s my lovely Amazon order above.

    @Leiterfluid: I submitted another picture as well that showed where the airbags had been placed. There were two “in” the skillet, one below the skillet and one above the coffee press.

    @arcticJKL: The order was placed directly with Amazon, so it was not an Amazon merchant.

    @DrGirlfriend: You got that exactly right. I purchased the skillet mainly for making cornbread, among other things.

    @Amazonian: I’m not sure what you mean by “paying the $10 for shipping.” Are you referring to them getting me a replacement sooner or better packaging? Because I’m not too sure they’d have packaged it any better if I had paid for shipping.

    TJ
    P.S. – Glad to hear most are approving of my purchases.

  31. Muhlyssa says:

    That cast iron rocks, I got that same one from Amazon last year. They have the best prices on kitchen stuff.

  32. TehRev says:

    I also wonder if it was marketplace or not.

  33. stradric says:

    That doesn’t look like typical amazon packaging. They use boxes that say “amazon.com” on them and they pack the hell out of their boxes and include all sorts of promotional leaflets. It’s probably from one of the resellers on amazon and not amazon.com themselves.

  34. Michael Belisle says:

    @stradric: @matto: I vote that it’s direct from Amazon. The tip of an Amazon-like packing slip is visible and he got free shipping. I hypothesize that he removed the airpack before snapping photos.

    @Amazonian: Having worked in a warehouse, I’m pretty sure a human being said “Lodge Logic” + “Chambord” = “Ship it”.

  35. jeff303 says:

    OT: How often do you people have to season your Lodge skillets? It seems I have to redo mine after every second use.

  36. ShortBus says:

    @jeff303: You’re likely using too high of heat setting. I (unfortunatly) have an electric stove and never use anything higher than “Med” with my skillet.

    Cast iron sucks up–and retains–heat like crazy. So if I need more heat, I just let it set on the burner longer rather than dial up the heat setting.

  37. Michael Belisle says:

    @stradric: That’s on the outside of the box, which isn’t visible. Do work for the NSA like in Enemy of the State, where you can rotate the box to see what’s not in the picture? I didn’t think so.

    From poking around on Amazon, there’s no way he got both a French Press and a skillet from the same merchant through the Marketplace and even if it was possible, only Amazon would offer free shipping on a skillet. It had to be direct.

  38. GW2K says:

    Well at least you can enjoy the pan. Good stuff Lodge Logic is. I ordered a 3 piece set from Amazon and they all came in the same box. Guess what happened? One of the pans was broken. Amazon will you ever learn?

  39. Michael Belisle says:

    @ShortBus: I don’t have that problem. I have a smoothtop and regularly dial it up to maximum (for deep frying).

    I only did the oven-style seasoning once. Now I scrub it with hot water (no soap) and apply a thin layer of oil after each use. I’ve only had it for a few months, but it looks better after each use.

  40. GearheadGeek says:

    @jeff303: Either you’re never getting a good seasoning in the first place or you’re scrubbing it too much after using.

    The amount of heat shouldn’t be much of a problem, since you’re baking the seasoning on in the oven at 300-400 deg in the first place. Are you using a really thin oil to season it with? Crisco is the lightest thing you should use for that, and real traditionalists recommend bacon grease or lard. (I use Crisco.)

    I usually don’t use much water to clean it… get the pan warm with a tiny bit of oil in it, wad up a paper towel and hold it with tongs, throw some kosher salt into the skillet and scrub around the inside with the paper towel on the salt. That’s abrasive enough to get off any foody bits but doesn’t damage the coating. I haven’t had to reseason any cast iron since my mom gave me a rusty piece my stepdad had run through the dishwasher years ago.

  41. azgirl says:

    I got a small box of raisin bran with my last order from Amazon- it was my carb blocker pills– that seems mean right?

  42. mikelotus says:

    @jeff303: you can heat it up for cooking as high as you want. for first seasoning, coat inside good with vegetable oil (not olive unless its not virgin) and heat in oven at 400 for an hour. repeat if the coat is not good. from then on, only clean with water, paper towels or sponge that has roughness on it (but don’t scrub it down hard, just enough to get food chunks out). then heat on stove to make sure its really dry and wipe inside out with oil (can be olive oil) to final protect.

  43. pfeng says:

    @Amazonian: Um, wow. Was that an actual admission that “free shipping” means “we don’t give a shit about how your order gets to you”? If a store is running a free shipping offer and it AUTOMATICALLY comes up with a zero charge, I don’t expect to need to manually add a shipping charge to ensure quality packaging.

    You’ve strongly reinforced the message this consumer suggested: that Amazon doesn’t really care about customer service as much as it does cutting costs and corners. Thanks, I WILL be shopping at ANY STORE BUT YOURS.

  44. @ShortBus: Still domestic, and I, too, love my Lodge. I’ve got a normal-sized one, and a tiny little one (big enough to fry a single egg) to saute up garlic and onions super-quick and things like that.

    If your pan needs a little oiling, make grilled cheese, you don’t even have to clean up afterwards. :D

  45. ribex says:

    I purchased a Lodge Logic from Amazon very recently and it too was packaged with one other (non-breakable) item in the exact same box. NO packing materials aside from some brown paper equivalent to 2 or fewer grocery-bags-worth. Not Amazon marketplace. Amazon. The handle poked a couple of holes through the sides of the box, but luckily the pan was unharmed.

    Seems to me that use of 10 or so of the smaller inflated packs, wrapped around the handle area, would be enough to 1) keep it from poking out of the box and 2) minimize movement of the pan within the box.

  46. Rode2008 says:

    An anagram for “Amazon ships” is “zap him on ass”. Do you feel that’s what they did to you?

  47. Unnamed Source says:

    @Leiterfluid: the 500 airbags are only packed in boxes with things that don’t need the airbags.

  48. memphis9 says:

    I ordered some clearanced steel cut oatmeal from Amazon recently. It was still more pricey than at my local Wild Oats (Whole Foods), but came in cool little tins that were printed with an antique label duplication.

    Zero padding, the amazing thing was that half of them *didn’t* dent. I just couldn’t see returning FOOD, but I thought about it as the packaging was half the reason I bought it. Short of something very cut and dried, I probably won’t piss Amazon off too badly — they are handy, and I already have enough battles picked to round out my average week, thanx. But I notice I’m buying less from them — they know they don’t have to try All That Hard, and it does show.

  49. magilacudy says:

    I’ll vouch for Lodge too. It’s just a hassle cleaning sometimes when I’m in a rush.

    Anyways, just a tip in case you don’t want a pan in various pieces, it may be a better idea just to buy from Walmart. The prices for the Lodge cookware are maybe a couple of bucks more than Amazon.

    Depends how much you can tolerate Walmart though. :)

  50. Wheels17 says:

    I had Amazon ship me two metalworking vises and a CD. Loose in the same box. I complained about the smashed CD, and they were very accommodating. They shipped me a single metalworking vise and a CD loose in the same box. Same result. And billed me for it.

  51. @magilacudy: They’re also carried at a lot of hardware stores with kitchen gadget sections, like Do-It-Best and places like that. And at camping/hunting/outdoorsy stores (REI, Gander Mountain). They’re so heavy that the extra couple bucks you might pay locally is typically offset by the cost of shipping from an online merchant.

  52. NoLongerInUse says:

    The lodge pans are great. When I ordered mine from Amazon, though, the handle had come through the packaging and was outside the box.

  53. Norskman says:

    See what can happen when you combine orders to reduce shipping? I think someone needs to be re-trained at the Amazon packing facility in the proper use of cushioning material and how to stack items.

    Simply securing the frying pan and putting the french press on top with packing material would eliminate this.

  54. ren1hoek says:

    Are you sure the the french press isn’t supposed to look like that?

  55. notfamous says:

    OK, I have nothing to contribute about Amazon/shipping (that blows!). But as a cook, it gives me cheer to see so many folks extolling the virtues of cast iron pans!

    But here’s a tip for those of you using these pans and having difficulty with the seasoning: don’t wash it. Ever.

    Instead, right after the food has gone from pan to plate and the pan is still hot (that’s the important part!), run the hot pan under hot water and give it a quick wipe with a high-temp resistant scrubby (those Chinese fiber scrubbers are excellent for this). The water turns to steam on contact and if the pan was seasoned to start with, and foodie bits will come right off with that surface blast of steam. Shake the water off the pan, put it back on the stove to cool down and dry, and it will be ready and waiting, perfectly seasoned, for the next meal. You don’t need to apply any additional oil, or re-season. Ever.

    Worried about germs/bacteria? Think about it. The pan was hot enough to flash steam during the rinse. There ain’t gonna be no baddies that survive that.

    Bonus tip: don’t add your oil, butter, lard, margarine, etc. (cooking oil in whatever form) until the pan is hot. These two steps will guarantee an ever-better seasoning to the pan. My cast iron skillet will slide out an omelet like it was coated with fresh teflon. Only, no teflon!

    Cheers.

  56. synergy says:

    Time until OP writes back to say they sent a pot AND another skillet and same thing happened in 3…2…1…