Bakery Says It Will Finally Get Around To Cleaning Neighbor’s Flour-Covered House

The homeowner, looking through her flour and cornmeal-crusted front door.  See more photos at NJ.com. (photo: William Perlman/Newark Star-Ledger)

The homeowner, looking through her flour and cornmeal-crusted front door. See more photos from the original story at NJ.com. (photo: William Perlman/Newark Star-Ledger)

Last week, we told you about the New Jersey homeowner whose house had been dusted with a flour and cornmeal mixture ever since a pipe burst at a neighboring bakery back in January — and how the bakery refused to make good on its initial promise to take care of the mess. After her problem caught on with the media, the bakery is suddenly waking up and swearing it will tidy up after itself.

The octogenarian’s roof, windows, walls, lawn, and air-conditioners all became covered in the floury stuff on January 6. This was the second time in less than a year that her property had been polluted by the bakery’s raw ingredients. The first time, the company had taken care of the problem, but was unresponsive when she reached out to it about this larger-scale incident.

Eventually, after involving both the police and the city’s health department, a rep for the company promised she would contact the homeowner about getting the flour cleaned up, but that never happened. The homeowner got estimates for doing a proper cleanup job, but then got passed to a plant manager who refused to answer her calls and was never around when she went to the bakery.

Even when the Newark Star Ledger’s Bamboozled column — penned by Consumerist’s own Karin Price Mueller — got involved, no one at the company was willing to take responsibility and the company’s owner would not respond to multiple requests for comment.

But after the Bamboozled piece ran, and was picked up by Consumerist and other online and TV outlets, the company’s attitude changed.

In this update from Bamboozled, the homeowner says that the bakery finally sent over a crew to look at the mess it had made.

And the owner has finally come out of hiding, claiming his company “was always helping” the homeowner, even though her house had been covered in a floury, corny soot for almost all of 2014.

“We sent cleaning guys over in January but unfortunately they didn’t do a good job and we need to clean up her property,” he now says. “We want to get it power washed.”

He also says his people will see if the air-conditioning units can be saved; if not, he claims the bakery will replace them.

The understandably wary homeowner isn’t taking the bakery owner’s word on this one and is demanding that all promises be put in writing.

The bakery owner never explained to Bamboozled why no one would respond to calls from the homeowner or reporters, but claims, “this whole thing was a misunderstanding and I was never given the opportunity to make things right.”

The homeowner is more realistic, saying she knows it’s only because of media attention that the bakery got around to treating her like a human being.

“If it wasn’t for people like you they wouldn’t have done anything,” she says. “They would have completely ignored me, hoping this problem will go away.”

Bamboozled: Headstone finally at grave; Bun company promises dough to clean up flour mess [NJ.com]