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Our View: Cheers & Jeers for recent newsmakers – Eagle |

Our View: Cheers & Jeers for recent newsmakers – Eagle

It’s hard to envision what a good scenario would be for replacing 48 miles of natural gas pipeline, service to 8,600 homes and businesses, as well as thousands of gas appliances, boilers and water heaters throughout the Merrimack Valley. Still, poor communication by Columbia Gas has made matters worse than necessary in the month since the utility’s gas disaster.

JEERS to the beleaguered company for its latest failure, as described in Sunday’s Eagle-Tribune by reporter Kiera Blessing. She quoted a gas company representative saying Columbia Gas may reclaim equipment used to temporarily heat homes or provide hot water until gas service is restored.


That’s not necessarily surprising. After all, Columbia Gas is paying for that temporary equipment, as well as the cost to replace whatever was broken when a surge of over-pressurized gas welled up in its underground system on Sept. 13, causing fires and explosions and untold amounts of damage.

The bad part is that it’s unexpected. This is because the company didn’t make its intentions abundantly clear, especially for those people, already living in hardship, who went to great lengths and expense to modify their homes for temporary heat and hot water.

Pam Pietrowski is one. She and her husband spent more than $4,500 to buy and install a pellet stove, which required additional pipes in her North Andover home. She’s since learned that the utility may reclaim that pellet stove once her gas furnace is replaced, which Pietrowski wasn’t expecting.

“I feel like we’re being punished for taking a proactive approach,” she told Blessing, adding that it was “unethical and immoral” for the gas company to collect its equipment.

Columbia Gas has not confirmed that it will remove her pellet stove, or anyone else’s temporary stove, elecrtic hot water heater or other equipment. Its representatives only will say every case is unique and will be addressed on a case by case basis.

That seems reasonable. What Pietrowski heard doesn’t.

At the very least, the company, which has frustrated this difficult situation with one communication gaffe after another, should have been more clear out the outset what its intentions were.

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Before there was the Ronco Rotisserie Grill, the Popeil Pocket Fisherman, the Shamwow or the Snuggie, there was Saladmaster. And for decades, Christos “Chris” Nahatis was the face of the cookware brand.

If TV viewers across New England weren’t lured in by Nahatis’ rapid-fire delivery, they surely stopped to watch him handle Saladmaster’s pots and pans with the nimble dexterity of a magician performing a card trick.

Nahatis was proud of what he was selling, too. He would often seal the deal by banging a Saladmaster pot against a competitor’s offering. The Saladmaster cookware would always be unharmed. The same could not be said for the competition.

CHEERS to the legacy of a marketing whiz who set the standard for the television pitch. Nahatis, a lifelong resident of Manchester, passed away earlier this month at the age of 95.

It’s no surprise that Nahatis became an infomercial pioneer. He got his start as a teenager selling suits around town to support his family. He hooked up with the mail-order Saladmaster business in 1951 and made history a few years later when he pulled carrots and lettuce from his pocket and feeding them through a company food processor during a spot on a Providence TV station.

In short order, he was doing regular 60-second spots on WBZ in Boston, making himself part of New England history. 

“I truly learned to make the Saladmaster ‘talk,’” he wrote in his memoir, “What-A-Hell-Ova-Way To Make A Living,” released last October. “I eventually perfected the presentation so well, I hardly ever missed a sale.”

Next month, many families will pull Saladmaster pots and pans — some bought decades ago — from their cupboards to help cook Thanksgiving dinner.

Chances are, it was Nahatis who made the sale. 

Category: Cookware Pots  Tags: ,  Comments off
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