Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Dear Williams Sonoma & Sur La Table

I HATE the too-sticky price labels you use in your stores
sticky labels lables

Please send me a complimentary bottle of Goo Gone forthwith.

Last week I bought a couple of tomato sharks at Williams Sonoma. I didn't ask for wrapping but I made it quite clear they were gifts. I mean - who needs two tomato sharks especially when you have one already? It was a quiet, weekday afternoon and the store wasn't busy. I would go so far as to say there were more staff than customers in the store at the time. Wouldn't it be refreshing if the salesperson had taken the initiative and knowing that the utensils were intended as presents had removed the offending labels for me?

And then, on Saturday, I bought 12 tiny little pastry tins at Sur La Table. When the time came to use them, I encountered the same problem. Although about half of the price tickets peeled off without a problem, the remaining six had me muttering unladylike language under my breath. Gentle coaxing with soap and water eventually cleared up the problem, but only after about ten minutes of serious elbow grease and no less than two (not fatal, thankfully) injuries caused by the knife-sharp edges of those fancy little buggers (the tins, not the labels). I enjoyed watching the dramatic display that unfolded as my digits erupted like volcanoes, blood spurting all over the kitchen. Ok, I know I am exaggerating slightly, but those things should come with a health warning, seriously.

Williams Sonoma and Sur La Table - you have been warned. The lesson I have learnt from last week is that I shall from this moment forth request gift-wrapping for everything I buy, present or not and then the onus will be on your staff to complain to head office about the irritatingly sticky labels you use.




Archives | 2004: My first ever entry in a food blogging event for IMBB#8: Boozy Bangers & Mash

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Dear Williams Sonoma & Sur La Table

50 Comments:

  • At 20/9/06 12:35, Anonymous Passionate Eater said…

    Ouch. You have to be careful with those tins Sam! I send my wishes for a speedy recovery so you can get back into the kitchen! Also, I'll sign a petition to Williams Sonoma and Sur La Table, if you are circulating one around. I also despise tenaciously sticky glues.

     
  • At 20/9/06 13:12, Blogger farmgirl said…

    LOL, I'm just glad the injuries weren't fatal.

    P.S. Nature's Miracle is great for cleaning up bloodstains.

    P.P.S. Don't worry, I'm sure within a year or two all things in stores will have the UPC codes lasered right onto them. I mean, if They can stamp advertisements on eggs, I'm sure They can bypass some irritating little sticky labels. *scary music now, please* : )

     
  • At 20/9/06 13:55, Blogger Monkey Gland said…

    There seems to be a critical point with those things. If you can tease off on edge and ease them slowly, using all your ninja zen powers they come off effortlessly. Other time you team off a top layer of paper and are picking little white bits off your jumper all day.

     
  • At 20/9/06 14:03, Anonymous payal said…

    I was JUST complaining about this very thing to my hubby the other day! This method has been working for me though: take a bit of dishwash soap, rub it onto the stickers, then submerge everything in hot water. I walk away and attend to other things, and by the time I get back to the sink, the little stickers have been unglued and are floating in the H2O. :)

     
  • At 20/9/06 14:12, Blogger Catherine said…

    ha! I have a similar complaint to all those stores who put impossible-to-remove sticky price tags on the glass on a photo frame.

     
  • At 20/9/06 14:13, Blogger Catherine said…

    ha! I have a similar complaint to all those stores who put impossible-to-remove sticky price tags on the glass on a photo frame.

     
  • At 20/9/06 14:59, Anonymous matt said…

    Here Here!

    FINALLY someone has spoken up!

    I have to carry Goo Gone with me EVERYWHERE because all the *@&(*@%^^ stickers on glasses, dishes, props and plates.

    I thought I was the only one who cursed worse than a sailor about this issue.

    There must be a better solution.

     
  • At 20/9/06 15:43, Anonymous peabody said…

    Crate and Barrel's can be a little sticky too.

     
  • At 20/9/06 16:14, Anonymous Lady Lunchalot said…

    Take it from an Australian... Eucalyptus oil works a treat.

    Also, what's a tomato shark?

     
  • At 20/9/06 16:45, Anonymous Jennifer said…

    They are quite sticky. I try not to complain much about it when it's on something I got for a good deal at the Williams Sonoma outlet, but it is a bit of a pain.

     
  • At 20/9/06 17:19, Blogger Alanna said…

    DITTO! Also the sticky gooey won't-come-off-bar-codes on fruits and vegetables ...

     
  • At 20/9/06 18:33, Anonymous bea at La Tartine Gourmande said…

    ahahh, when I thought I was the only one hating those sticky labels, just because I have no patience whatsoever. I am glad to see this is not the case. Yeah, you said it for us Sam! I am so much with you, hate hate them!

     
  • At 20/9/06 18:46, Anonymous Ivonne said…

    I had to laugh! I had the same experience two weeks ago with an offset spatula. I used nail polish remover to great effect.

    But thank you for your letter to both stores. Here's hoping they will listen!

     
  • At 20/9/06 18:51, Anonymous laila said…

    my favorite wine shop (swirl in sf) uses special labels that always easily peel off in one piece. would it be too hard for all stores to do this? hardly.

     
  • At 20/9/06 18:53, Anonymous maya said…

    Oh my god, I'm so with you on this. Do these stores have no respect for the compulsively neat among us?? Even if you get all the paper label off, what are we supposed to do with the sticky-greasy smears on the bottom of every plate/tin/glass/whatever? Things like this make me absolutely crazy. Sounds like I need to track down some Goo Gone.

     
  • At 20/9/06 23:08, Blogger The Old Foodie said…

    This is absolutely one of my BIGGEST PET HATES. Life is just too short to have to spend time, elbow grease, chemical solvents - and lifeblood - on something that should not be necessary. It is obviously possible to produce labels that dont require this effort (and worse - damaging the surface, which happens - in my hands anyway, when I get frustrated with the process). Boycott them, thats my suggestion.

     
  • At 20/9/06 23:18, Anonymous deccanheffalump said…

    Everything comes with those horrid labels!Good to know that Eucalyptus oil work to get them off. Now what is a tomato shark ??

     
  • At 20/9/06 23:43, Blogger C(h)ristine said…

    you are REPRESENTING!

     
  • At 20/9/06 23:47, Blogger Alice Q said…

    A tomato shark is a little tomato coring device, also used for hulling strawberries. You can carve the little top piece right out, it looks like a little round spoon with serrated edges. (Scroll down to Sam's entry for more info.)

    I bought eight little cordials at Crate and Barrell (or as we call it, Box and Bucket) and had the same problem. I have some goo gone, but I haven't tried it yet - will have to get it out!

     
  • At 21/9/06 00:40, Anonymous Nicky said…

    Hi Sam!
    Same problems over here! So annoying. Depending on the used glue, they can be removed easily either with water (& dishwash soap) or oil. Sometimes heating it with a hairdryer helps, too.

     
  • At 21/9/06 04:58, Anonymous eg said…

    The tags are that way to try to deter people from switching price tags or to prevent them from removing the tag and pretending that they came in with the item. So we get punished for other people's bad behaviour. Anyway ... vegetable oil sometimes works, WD-40 pretty much always works. I keep WD-40 under my sink. A little spritz, let it sit for a minute , and then wash it all away.

    (Blood stains? - Simple Solution is also good)

     
  • At 21/9/06 05:04, Anonymous mum said…

    We have similar problems in UK stores; and I have yet to find an easy method of removing the glue once the label is removed- now 'goo gone' sounds good; is that something elase I will be asking you to get for me!! I have to say tried soaking; tried dishwasher and I still have labels on some things that will not be removed; however this worked in my favour recently when a catch broke on a storage container that I had for over a year. Took it back to store ( wont name but you will know where) and got a replacement without the receipt as the bar code label was intact. I probably shouldn't be saying this as its a bit cheeky really, however, I expected a longer life for something that don't get continous use.

     
  • At 21/9/06 05:44, Blogger Kalyn said…

    I agree, it's completely annoying. I use a citrus based product called De-Solv-It which is pretty good at getting the labels off.

     
  • At 21/9/06 06:27, Blogger wheresmymind said…

    I use "Goof off" terrible name (sorta) but very good stuff :)

     
  • At 21/9/06 08:33, Blogger Bonnie said…

    Eeek, are you ok? Do you need first aid? I know first aid!! You probably need a bandage don't you? I like doing bandages!

     
  • At 21/9/06 08:36, Blogger sher said…

    Oh, I hear ya sister! I get very annoyed at that myself. And someone had lovely custom made labels made for me to use on my canning jars, and they're horrible to remove. I have to soak the jars for hours before they come off. I understand a lot of research goes into perfecting glue for these things.......

     
  • At 21/9/06 10:41, Blogger hereandthere123 said…

    I'm with you, Sam.

    Today I received a set of three OXO measuring cups, and they had a very easy-to-peel label on the bottom. Leave it to those OXO folks to make an easy-to-remove label!

    d.

     
  • At 21/9/06 10:44, Blogger peanut and planet said…

    I work in a lab. We have all sorts of nice solvents that get stickies off. I generally start with ethanol (the tasty type of alcohol - you'll need more than 140 proof for this to work), then go to isopropanol (rubbing alcohol), and finally to acetone (nail polish remover). These also work quite well for removing marker. The only problem is that all of them can remove paint to an extent, and some of them (isopropanol occasionally, and acetone quite a lot) can disolve plastic!

    Of course, once you've cut yourself on the darn tins, all of the solvents burn like heck on the wound.

    One more disclaimer: except the ethanol, these aren't good to eat/drink/inhale too much of. However they evaporate nicely or can be washed off efficiently.

    j

     
  • At 21/9/06 11:18, Blogger Stephanie said…

    Amen, sister!

     
  • At 21/9/06 15:04, Blogger Mayoor said…

    its just ridicuous. Such waste too!

    http://www.snowboarding-wares-are.us/

     
  • At 21/9/06 16:56, Blogger Garrett said…

    Hot water or, preferably, a blowdryer set to "Hellfire". It'll peel right off.

     
  • At 21/9/06 20:18, Blogger Homesick Texan said…

    Hear, hear! I always use a paring knife which inevitably ends up slicing myself as well.

    Brilliant post! Hopefully the industry will hear your plea and change its methods.

     
  • At 21/9/06 21:54, Blogger Elise said…

    And here I've been suffering in silence all these years. Thank you Sam! Sticky labels drive me nuts!

     
  • At 22/9/06 09:00, Blogger David said…

    I hate those stickers too. They use them on everything at BHV and they drive me nuts. (They must be like 1/8th of a centime cheaper than the plastic ones.)

    At least you can get Goo Gone in the US. Next time you come, I'm gonna ask you for a care package of it.

     
  • At 22/9/06 09:18, Anonymous Jack said…

    I so hate those superglue stickers, too. I think what EVERYONE has to do, is next time you get home, and find they got you again, take them back and have the Store Manager remove the labels and glue. Personally, I think if this happened regularly for just a short while, these stores might change their labels. (Well, okay, I live in some fantasy world!)

     
  • At 22/9/06 10:52, Blogger Sam said…

    wow - so many comments - I would love to reply to them all individually but i have things to do today. Maybe we should all start a peitition!

    In the mean time - everyone just try asking for a complimentary gift wrap and then the ball is totally in their court!

    You'll all be glad to know that my injuries are healing quite nicely.


    sam

     
  • At 22/9/06 12:02, Anonymous johanna said…

    hi sam, i find that peeling the labels off aftersoaking them in water, then finishing them off with white spirit usually does the trick - white spirit dissolves even the toughest of glues, try it next time!

     
  • At 22/9/06 12:24, Blogger Julie said…

    I am totally with you on this--it drives me crazy!!! Asking for complimentary gift wrap is a brilliant plan though.

     
  • At 23/9/06 08:57, Anonymous foodsleuth said…

    Amen, said the choir! We are a small retailer and don't place labels directly on merchandise AND we spend countless hours removing vendor UPC labels from our merchandise. Some items can be soaked in water but typically the adhesives require a product like "Goof Off" to remove the goo. Some simply will NEVER come off. Consumers need to continue to complain. There must be a better way!

     
  • At 23/9/06 13:57, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Baby Oil. Has something to do with it being glycerin/carbon based and will break down the glue...

     
  • At 25/9/06 18:26, Blogger petite gourmand said…

    I get so annoyed by all that super glue.
    what's up with that?

     
  • At 23/10/06 19:37, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Thank you everyone. I just carried about 4 of the items mentioned above to work on my label residue, and tried the baby oil first, because it seemed the most pleasant. Yipee!!! It's nice to know that De solve it is citrus based. Appreciate your site and comments.

     
  • At 27/7/07 19:40, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    You need to get a life! If a sticker gets you nuts, you need help. and BTW that photo is not a william sonoma product!

     
  • At 27/7/07 20:42, Blogger Sam said…

    Dear Anonymous

    Indeed you are right - they are not William Sonoma products which you would have worked out, perhaps, if you had actually read the post where I explained that the situation in Williams Sonoma involved tomato sharks - the picture illustrates the second part of the tale involving Sur La Table.

    So - do you think I should get a life like yours then - a life where I go round the web making pathetic, trite little comments anonymously on peoples' blogs then? Smashing - sounds like a wild way to spend the rest of my days. Thanks for your advice. Can't wait to follow your example.

     
  • At 26/10/07 12:02, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    You can use nail polish remover to take off most sticky labels without too much elbow grease!

     
  • At 15/2/08 00:12, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Suggest you first try simply soaking the labels for a little while. If they don't slip off, scrape gently with your fingernail or a nylon scraper. WD-40 easily removes stickiness. These 2 stores have strong enough customver service standards; why not ask the staff to remove the labels before they wrap your purchases if it's a problem.

     
  • At 21/4/08 07:50, Blogger ThePurpleSeal said…

    Hi there,

    I just came across your post and just thought i would mention that there is a site which has some tips on removing removing sticky labels might be worth checking it out.

     
  • At 21/4/08 07:52, Blogger Sam said…

    thanks so much, purple seal

     
  • At 7/5/08 01:34, Blogger TheWhiteSeal said…

    This comment has been removed by the author.

     
  • At 19/8/08 05:41, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I use a hair dryer to loosen the glue before I even try to take a label off. It works very well. Don't heat an area too long because it could melt the item the label is on!

     

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