I wanted to replace my old non-stick bake-ware with new, not non-stick, North American made bake-ware. After reading some great reviews about Chicago Metallic bake-ware, I decided to do some research here, and found out all their products are made in the USA.
From the website:
So, I found a Canadian distributor, and placed a fairly large (to me) order.
Now, keep in mind I'm doing this via mail-order, and paying more for both the product, and for delivery, because I want North American made, good quality products. I've researched the company, read on-line reviews, done my due diligence, so to speak. And everything I've found says this product is well-made, long-lasting, good quality - and made in the USA.
So, imagine my surprise when I opened the box:
WTF? I e-mailed Chicago Metallic to ask about the discrepancy, and this is the reply I received:
We are sorry about your pans but you have the wrong Chicago Metallic. We are the industrial side of the pan market and we do not have house ware pans. Chicago Metallic is under another company also and the company you have bought your pans from buys from China. All the pans we manufacture will not fit in the normal oven. Yes you are right, you could go to the nearest Walmart and buy the same pans. Our pans are made in the USA and we sell to distributors. If you have any questions please feel free to call.
Now, I am under the impression that no business will allow another to operate under the same name, in the same country, making the EXACT SAME PRODUCTS, without approval. I'm also under the impression that all loaf pans, cake pans, muffin pans and pie plates will indeed fit in a "normal" oven, but that's a minor quibble.
Digging a bit deeper on-line, I find this site, which, conveniently enough, is under construction. Nowhere can I find any "warning" that there are two companies called Chicago Metallic, one that manufactures in the USA, one in China. In fact, I can't find ANY information on Chicago Metallic the second and their manufacturing processes.
So, I can either believe this is all innocent, and Chicago Metallic the first is either unaware of, or can do nothing about, Chicago Metallic the second.
Or, I can believe the two companies are linked in some way, and are using the reputation of the first to sell the products of the second on the home market. I responded to the e-mail above with some of these questions, and to date, two weeks later, am still waiting for a reply.
What to do?
I can return the pans to the distributor, and pay the shipping and re-stocking fee (since this is not their fault in any way), then go buy lesser quality products at a local store.
I can keep these pans, and provide a "win" to Chicago Metallic for their marketing strategy - and indeed, these are decent quality pans,
better than I have found elsewhere.
The one thing I apparently cannot do is find North American made bake-ware, or force Chicago Metallic to own up to their misleading marketing tactics.
It shouldn't be this hard.
Since I will most likely cave in, and keep the pans, the tally for the challenge is as follows:
Two square cake pans, two round cake pans, one rectangular cake pan, two muffin pan, one min-muffin pan, and two loaf pans:
$149.75 + $9.97 shipping + $20.76 tax