My Salad Shooter, by Presto, is a small appliance that I use nearly every week, sometimes a couple of times a week. I've had it for maybe 20 years. Mainly, I use it for slicing carrots and olives. Occasionally, I use it for slicing veggies, especially for my veggie pasta recipe. I use it for chopping nuts and peanuts for making cookies and fudge. I used it for grating cheese in the past, but have since discovered the pre-shredded kind, so I don't salad-shoot-shred cheese no mo'.
My slicing cone is worn out, with some "fractures" that threaten to totally break it, as shown in the outlined areas of the pixstrip. I've done some searches for part availability and bottom-line cost. I've gotten the impression that comparison shopping is more difficult than in the past. Companies might now be less willing to let a viewer see total cost before requiring form filling. I think it might be a psychological nudge so that the visitor invests time and energy into filling information, and might be more committed to purchasing the item. In my online travels for finding a reasonable-cost cone replacement, I stopped at Mending Shed, eBay, and Presto.
Mendingshed.com has an appealing price $4.95, but the shipping is $11.26, bringing the total to $16.21. Decided to pass on it. Furthermore, their form gave me four different options, but when I chose the post office, the tally screen told me they use only UPS. Hmmm. They could have disclosed that info on the first screen.
I was amused at the number of listings for a USED slicing cone on eBay. Something I'm going to use on MY food. Really! Not!
The starting Presto page for buying the part looked simple enough. I even inferred that estimating the cost would be simple. Nooooooo! After I reached the contact info screen, I saw that I needed a user ID and password as part of the form fill-in. Well, I decided I'd just send an email and request the shipping cost info, using the Contact link. Even that effort required more than meets the eye.
The contact page showed that I could use the form to email, or call an 800 number, or send snail mail. As the customer service hours availability didn't coincide with my own availability, I chose to fill the form. What a surprise that the Name field displayed "optional." The reality was that clicking the submit button triggered a you-gotta-give-us-a-name message. OK, so I went ahead and put in something. (Bleah. I dislike places that use contact forms for collecting data.)
The autoreply message that I received stated that they "will be in contact with you within 3 business days." Sure seemed like a long time for waiting for a reply to an inquiry. I think some other companies might have fancier inquiry forms where a consumer can pick a certain topic so the company's system can funnel messages to more specific topic buckets.
Mercifully, Presto got back to me that afternoon. The shipping cost would be $2 for the cone for anywhere in US and Canada. Woohoo! I placed my order. Wouldn't you know, the shipping cost is $3. OK, so I'll write the customer rep after I get my cone. Seems they could improve the customer experience by enabling the customer to more easily find out shipping info, especially a good shipping rate. A couple of more incidentals: ETA is about two weeks, and sales tax goes on top of the part AND shipping.
If anything unusual or unexpected occurs between now and the time my cone arrives, I'll put an addendum to this article. (I want to publish NOW.