Customer Service

Melissa gave me one of those Le Creuset Screwpull wine openers for Christmas a couple years ago, and I love the thing despite myself. As far as I was concerned, any method of opening wine more involved than a waiter’s corkscrew was a pretentious waste of countertop space. And likely to break at the worst possible moment, too.

But I fell in with the thing, because it just opened wine so easily and flawlessly. It even seems to have some sort of clutch hidden in it somewhere. The two times I had really badly locked-in plastic corks, the Screwpull disengaged the screw, rather than allowing me to continue to apply force until it broke. Nifty. My only complaint was that the (also quite nifty) foil cutter had a plastic body — and doomed to suffer fatigue and split in two. But it was still the best damn foil cutter I’d ever used, too.

Then a few weeks ago I knocked the Screwpull off the bar and onto the hardwood floor, and sure enough bottle-gripping lever snapped off. See what happens when I try to open wine before I’ve had a cocktail?

I emailed Le Crueset the next morning and told the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. “I broke it, it must be out of warranty by now, so just please tell me where to send it for repairs and how much I owe you.”

It took a whole day to get back to me, being in France and all. And they were most apologetic that I’d broken their tool, “please send it back at once and we’ll send it back as good as new. No, no, we couldn’t possibly think of taking any more of your money after having sold you such shoddy wares.”

Maybe I exaggerate, but not by much.

I expected to get a factory-refurbished job back after a few weeks — and maybe I did. But I did not expect to receive it in even nicer packaging than the original. I didn’t expect the package to include a nicer — and all-steel — foil cutter to replace the foil cutter I still have. And I certainly didn’t expect them to send me an upgraded, updated, sturdier and prettier Screwpull.

That’s some kick-ass customer service, and Le Creuset just earned themselves a customer for life.