A poor Virginia lady just trying to enjoy her holidays in peace and quiet learned this week that the personal phone line in her home is more or less identical, save for the area code, to the hotline Cuisinart set up for the bazillion Americans who suddenly have questions about its record-breaking 8-million-unit food-processor recall. Jacqueline McDonald tells local-news channel WVEC she’s started mistakenly fielding calls that “keep coming in day and night, and she doesn’t know how to make it stop.”
“Two or three days ago I started getting calls, and I just thought they were wrong numbers,” she says. “But as I paid attention, they were all saying the same thing about this Cuisinart recall.” She estimates the number is now in excess of a hundred, coming in from everywhere from L.A. to Puerto Rico. “I’ll get, like, ten calls back to back — bam, bam, bam, bam, bam.”
Cuisinart was woefully underprepared for the response to the badly timed announcement, made just two weeks before Christmas and Hanukkah start, that the riveted metal blades found on 22 different models can crack apart and leave people with broken teeth or mouth lacerations. The Consumer Products Safety Commission tells the Times the agency alone received 1,700 calls about the malfunction on Wednesday, and the company’s hotline has reportedly been slammed with so many callers, it’s all but impossible to get through.
McDonald says the incessant ringing is starting to give her a headache, but can’t bring herself to blame the callers, so she politely informs each one they have the wrong number. Her patience may be wearing thin with the manufacturer, though: “It’s annoying. Maybe they need to compensate me for sitting here answering the phone.”