Martha Stewart Dodges Questions On-Camera About Exploding Glass Tables

When Fox5 confronted Martha Stewart on the street about tempered glass patio tables branded under her name that have been exploding all over customers since 2000, in some cases causing cuts, bleeding, and scares, she offered only denials and deflections. She said the glass cracked like a windshield, as opposed to the imploding documented in case after case, and said she had never heard of any injuries, despite that Fox5 had a copy of an email sent by her asking her company internally what they were doing about the “shattering” tables. The problem seems to be that the tempered glass table has jagged, rather than smooth, edges, and these grind against the metal frame and weaken the tabletop. A class action suit is in the works.

Shame, Shame, Shame: Martha Stewart-Branded Glass Tables [Fox5]

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  1. tande04 says:

    Well send her back to jail.

    She had her chance. Look what she did with it.

    Exploding tables, tsk, tsk…

    • jdhuck says:

      @tande04: If I were Arnold Diaz, I would be careful.

    • Anonymous says:

      This happened to me with my Martha Steward table, I took a ton of pictures of it along with the cuts that I received as well. My wife thought I was a dork for doing it and should just let it go – thinking it was my fault for it breaking.

      Thank you Consumerist for the heads up and helping prove my wife wrong!

      -Jon

  2. htrodblder says:

    In a related story, Martha Stewart has announced a new aggreement with Irwin Mainway to introduce a complete line of “Bag O Glass” products

  3. jdhuck says:

    You expect a convicted felon to tell the truth?

    I understand that she paid her debt to society, but I doubt she has changed. Even when presented with the truth, she lies.

    • SkokieGuy says:

      @jdhuck: Yet we let convicted felons run for and serve in Congress.

      So Martha is not fit to run a home decorating empire, but she IS fit to govern our country.

  4. weakdome says:

    Oh C’mon. Would anyone really expect her to be like “Oh my goodness, I had no idea, let me pay back everyone with a broken table!”
    No… she’s going to let her lawyers and insurance handle it, like any other sane person would do… Just because she’s a celeb, people get all righteous about it…

    • little stripes says:

      @weakdome: I know, right? Everyone here would have done the exact same thing. What is she supposed to SAY?

      • SkokieGuy says:

        @little stripes: Frankly she could say it was a manufacturing defect, we have stopped shipping these tables and will provide replacement glass to all those affected.

        That would be a LOT cheaper than lawyers and fighting a class action, and she would get bonus points for actually doing the right thing.

        • little stripes says:

          @SkokieGuy: She probably had NO IDEA what the problem was — that’s not her job — so she probably just told them what SHE was told.

        • little stripes says:

          @SkokieGuy: It amazes me that y’all think that Martha has anything to actually do with production and shipping of the products. WTF do you think she is able to do? I mean … that’s not her job.

          • tande04 says:

            @little stripes: On the other hand if you’re going to put your name on something its in your best interest to make sure that you do know about major issues like this.

            It is pretty snarky of the reporter to be asking her personally about the problems but at the same time her name is all she has. It is her job so to speak. So if there are major defects plauging a line it is absolutely her job to be on top of it.

        • alexawesome says:

          @SkokieGuy: She did do the right thing, and fox5 has evidence of it. She sent an internal email demanding to know what the issue was with the “shattering tables.” She’s following her legal team’s advice and keeping mum to the press. It’s obvious she DOES care and wants to resolve this through proper channels.

    • mythago says:

      @weakdome: Then why didn’t she simply refuse to discuss it and say “There’s a lawsuit going on, my lawyers will kill me if I chat about it without them around, sorry, Media Guys”? Refusing to be gotcha’d is one thing. Lying is another.

  5. Ananelle says:

    Don’t they sell Martha Stewart at K-Mart?
    … Ehrm. You get what you pay for a lot of the time.
    (Disclaimer: Nothing wrong with shopping at K-mart, but sometimes, cheaper isn’t always better.)

  6. "I Like Potatoes" says:

    If you glue all the little pieces back together, it creates a beautiful mosaic table top that the whole family can enjoy. It’s a good thing.

  7. mariospants says:

    But just think of the decorating miracles you can do with 21,617 tiny pieces of glass!

  8. Moosehawk says:

    We can make an amazingly beautiful glittering Christmas tree by piecing together these broken shards of glass into decorating bulbs! Just in time for the Christmas season too. Isn’t this wonderful?

    • Preyfar says:

      @Moosehawk: I’m thinkin’ we can Bedazzle the shards onto clothing and make some faaabulous fall fashion, and then give them to friends as gifts, boy howdy!

      Martha’s glass tables aren’t exploding. They’re an evolving product line.

  9. Git Em SteveDave loves this guy--> says:

    Well, she was technically correct. These do shatter like car glass. But only the side and rear window. The windshield is made of a sandwich of glass and a plastic sheet, which holds onto the glass. A vast majority of the public does not know the difference. But if you happen to carry a center punch to break out your glass in case of your car going into water(I’m paranoid), you know to use it on the side windows as they break into small square pieces.

    Also, if you freeze frame the reports they whiz past the screen, you see that people were using the tables, and I wonder if these burst from temperature differences. Like if you put a hot pan on the table w/o a trivet, or if the table is in the sun, and you put a nice big jug of cold iced tea on it.

  10. Parting says:

    Ouch! Ouch! Ouch!

    At least I know what present to buy to my arch-enemy. Martha’s Stewart glass table.

  11. bbagdan says:

    She didn’t design, engineer, or manufactured the table. What is she supposed to do?

    She just needs to say sorry and have the product recalled. Period.

  12. Canadian Impostor says:

    The problem seems to be that the tempered glass table has jagged, rather than smooth, edges, and these grind against the metal frame and weaken the tabletop.

    Does this mean that the edges of the glass were literally jagged, or that they were ground edges instead of polished?

  13. Skipweasel says:

    I can’t stand glass tables! Apart from being ugly and scary, the wife’s unsteady on her feet and would soon fall through one.
    That’s the tables that are ugly and scary, not the wife.
    Just thought I’d better make that clear.
    Before she gets home.

    • Diet-Orange-Soda says:

      @Skipweasel: I always play that scene from Lost Highway when I think about people and glass tables.

      (I know… it didn’t shatter…)

    • econobiker says:

      @Skipweasel: In one her many of “duh” moments, my ex-wife thought that she should stand on a 1/2″ thick coffee glass table to put in a light bulb. That glass was not tempered and luckily she escaped harm when it cracked and broke.

      Did I also mention that she was 5’11″ tall, woman’s size 11 shoe, and on the plus size of 200lbs (she would never tell me an actual weight). No, she should have known better…

      • tande04 says:

        @econobiker: I had a friend punch a glass coffee table in a drunken rage when the Eagles lost the Super Bowl. That wasn’t tempered either. Needless to say, his hand did not escape injury.

    • HogwartsAlum says:

      @Skipweasel:

      That made me LOL!

  14. balthisar says:

    I had this happen to my patio table when the wind got a hold of it. I’d no idea that it was tempered glass. As an engineer, I was thrilled and surprised, because it seemed at the time to be a perfect means to ensure customer safety. What’s the alternative? Big, nasty, jagged glass can kill you.

    Cleanup was a breeze with the shop vacuum, even considering the glass pieces were in my grass. It would have been a major safety hazard to clean up shards.

    This is the same treatment that your automotive glass goes through (not the windshield, which is laminated). It ensures your safety versus the other stuff.

  15. Farquar says:

    I actually had one of these tables, and it did shatter, just as the picture shows.

    It’s an outdoor patio table with an umbrella that comes up through the center. Ours shattered when a stiff breeze came through and caught the umbrella. The stress created from pole of the umbrella being pushed against the hole in the middle of the table for which it was intended caused the table to shatter.

    • oloranya says:

      @Farquar: My parents patio did the exact same thing. My dad came home and was all ready to blame it on my brother until I told him I’d wintessed the umbrella and the wind committing the offense.

  16. edosan says:

    This reminds me of the English Beat song “Mirror in the Bathroom”:

    “I can take you to a restaurant that’s got glass tables,
    AAAAAHHHH! OH MY GOD ALL THE SHARDS OF GLASS!!!!”

  17. benbell says:

    Like above posters have mentioned, we have had 2 of these tables do just the same thing. The wind blows on the umbrella and the umbrella pushed on the side of the glass and then BOOM shatter.

    Luckily, each time we just took it back to k-mart and they gave us a new one. We are on our 3rd and it has been fine for a while now.

  18. coan_net says:

    I’m sure she has nothing to do with the design or making of the table – she just “sells” her name to products. Why would a news crew think she would have the answers?

    • tande04 says:

      @coan_net: Because she “sells” her name to products.

      Yeah, obviously it makes a more sensational story to go corner Martha then it would product quality assurance tech #318 but at the same time if the problem is wide spread that the news is getting in on it in the first place she should be aware of it and have some kind of answer.

      All she has to sell is her name. If that gets to the point where its a liability more then a benefit she’s SOL.

  19. tc4b says:

    Like many cases of people in high places caught not telling the truth, she’s either ignorant or incompetent.

  20. btravis72 says:

    I had no idea this problem was so widespread. This happened to our table about three weeks ago. I was in the basement when I heard a noise on the front porch. Came out to see little shards of glass everywhere. It was a beautiful day, around 70 degrees, and the table sits on a porch that only gets a brief amount of evening sun.

    I called my wife at work to tell her what happened and she was in disbelief. Now I can show her this!

    • Xerloq says:

      @balthisar: Ditto. This is how tempered glass is supposed to break so there aren’t large, blade-like pieces that could slice off a finger, or cut you to an artery if you happen to put an appendage through it.

      Martha is half-correct on the comparison of her tables to windshields, which are also tempered glass, but don’t fly apart because the layers of glass are sandwiched between transparent laminates with similar refraction indexes to the glass. The laminate holds most of the tiny pieces together, but allows them to break without creating large cutting surfaces.

      The question I have is why are they breaking seemingly spontaneously. That is the bad part of the design. The glass is breaking as it is designed to.

  21. SigmundTheSeaMonster says:

    A Glass Action Suit! (groan…)

  22. bsalamon says:

    you have got to love the fact that arnold diaz stalked martha, and that she wasn’t even fazed

  23. Pixelantes Anonymous says:

    Those Shame, Shame, Shame segments really are ridiculous. The Geraldo Rivera wannabe with his trench coat gotta stop the stalking.

  24. StevePJobs says:

    Like @GitEmSteveDave, I doubt that they just spontaneously exploded. It was probably from putting a hot pan on the table without a cork disc, or something similar.

  25. jpdanzig says:

    For all the people here saying, “what do you expect her to do?”, I must reply, “tell the truth, damn it”. Acknowledge there seems to be a problem and promise to look into it. Don’t stonewall and don’t lie. Accept responsibility. I know these are lost arts in Bush America, but hopefully they will be relearned in Obama America…

  26. ninabi says:

    I had one of these exploding glass tables. Read about the problem but I figured, Nah, won’t happen to us, we’ve had the table several years.

    One afternoon, it sounded like someone shot a gun in the backyard. All around the table frame were what looked like drifts of tiny hailstones. Just glad no one was out there at the time.

    I hope there’s some recourse for table owners. Not only is there the loss of the furniture, it’s downright dangerous.

    Martha’s full of it if she thinks this was nothing more than a windshield crack.

    • Anonymous says:

      @ninabi:
      It isn’t really dangerous. Tempered glass is designed to explode like that for safety. The pebbles won’t cut easily and in the unlikely event that they cut at all they won’t cut deeply. At worst, it’ll make a tiny scratch or two that a prop of neosporin and a band-aid will fix perfectly.

      The product durability issue is another thing altogether. Buying tempered glass furniture and expecting it to last is a fairly stupid idea, but people expect even fragile merchandise to be free of engineering defects which reduce the life of the product and marketing a product with such a defect is bad for business.

  27. The Cheat says:

    My wife and I had a similar incident with a tempered glass table top, probably not a MS branded one though. We were sitting inside one afternoon and heard a huge crash outside. I walked out to find the table top had simply fallen on to the ground and exploded into about 70 pounds of sharp pebbles. It took HOURS to clean up the mess. First with shovels, then a broom and a dustpan, finally I had to vacuum the patio for about 45 minutes to make sure all the glass was up.

    No umbrella was in the table, it was simply standing on its own and (presumably) expansion/contraction from the heat just made it shatter.

  28. Gatcha_Journalism says:

    Now I’m pissed! My 76yr old grandmother purchased one of these tables, almost identical to the one pictured above and it also shattered. It was a brand new table and it shattered or exploded in the exact manner. We still have the tables frame, chairs and cushions, because of course it was too much of a hassle to return. If she’s aware that there are problems with her merchandise, she should do the honorable thing and order a recall and refund loyal consumers who’ve purchased her shit products. A class action is probably in order, if she’s hurting Grandma’s and babies.

  29. Gatcha_Journalism says:

    Oh, I meant disfiguring kids…

  30. FooSchnickens - Full of SCAR says:

    Shouldn’t they file for a GLASS action lawsuit?

    *scurries into concrete bunker*

  31. TheStonepedo says:

    Cuts, bleeding, and *scares*? Who wouldn’t be scared of exploding glass, really? Perhaps Ben meant scars.

  32. banmojo says:

    Yeah, glass tables are fugly anyways. so very 1980s. Get some nice hard wood furniture already why dontcha?! And if you go with the right ‘green’ company – they’ll promise to use only wood from trees that are going to be replaced :^)

  33. iaintgoingthere says:

    is it made in China?

  34. quail says:

    OMG! I met a family outside of Atlanta this summer who’s Martha Stewart table had exploded. My wife and I have the same set but bought ours in 1999 or so. The thing is our set looked much better than the Georgian couple’s 1 yr old set. They’d waxed the set like the manufacturer suggested. But the paint looked awful on the chairs. Ours just look a little weather worn. We’d done nothing with our set but let the elements take their vengeance.

    ?? I wonder if the common thread might be that people were waxing their sets like the manufacturer suggested and got wax over the glass top?

  35. Paperclippe says:

    This happened to my folks way back in 2000; fortunately it was at night during a windstorm which caused the table to shatter, so no one was hurt, but god, did it ever explode. We’re still picking up shards of glass out of the yard eight years later, more than 20 feet from where the table was.

  36. Anonymous says:

    I was trying to find a glass for my table, when i stumble on this report. My table also shattered in many pieces on a sunny day three years ago. I am now trying to replace the glass . K-mart do not carry the product any more. let me know what the out come.