The Foodsaver® V3825 Definitely Sucks!

V3825 

In this quick review, I provide a verbal rendering of my experience using the Foodsaver® V3825 Vacuum Sealer.  What a chunk of shit.

Between being big fans of BBQ and grilling at home, we tend to make significant use of marinades and sauces in our cooking.  We even have a commercial-grade food dehydrator when it’s Jerky time.  When it comes to ‘manipulating the meat’, we certainly know our business – and our equipment.

The Foodsaver® V3825 has a lot going for it when you first see it in the store (or at CostCo).  Featuring a nifty space-saving vertical design, “automatic sealer technology”, a built-in marinate function and a built-in vacuum hose for all your cool suck-cessories, the Foodsaver V3825 promises to vacuum suck the money you would normally throw away right back into your wallet.  Amazing, really, if you think about all the conveniences and extreme technology wrapped-up into one little toit, shiny box.  Sadly, the machine fails to deliver the goods and instead ends up working more effectively as a boat anchor than as a kitchen appliance.

This isn’t the first Foodsaver® product we’ve owned.  You could easily say we have (or at least HAD) some measure of brand-loyalty when it comes to the Jarden Corporation (whose brands also include Bionaire®, Crock-Pot®, Health-o-meter®, Holmes®, Mr. Coffee®, Oster®, Patton®, Rival®, Seal-a-Meal®, Sunbeam®, and VillaWare®).  We’ve gotten a HUGE amount of use from our previous Foodsaver® model, the V2840.  While wandering around in CostCo one day, we happened upon the 3825 and were sucked-in like flies to a bug light.  We didn’t care WHAT it cost – We MUST have one now!  And so we did.  Little did we know we had just volunteered to pay cash to get repeatedly screwed – without the benefit of a reach-around.

Previous designs of the Foodsaver® required at least two hands to accomplish most sealing operations.  You had to properly line up the bag into the vacuum channel and hold it there, then use your pecker (nose or dick) to tap the top of the unit down while you reached over to the side with your foot to lock the top down.  After that, you could start the sealing operation and the rest of the process was relatively automagical.  Once sucked and sealed, all you had to do was unlock the top, pull the sealed bag out and toss it into the freezer.  Easy!

The new V3825/V3840 features this exclusive SmartSeal™ Technology thing – Auto Bag Sensing and something else called “Seal Perfection”.  Let’s examine each of these fancy elements individually to better understand why this chunk of shit stinks soooo bad.

Patented SmartSeal™ Technology

This ultimate convenience promises to eliminate the unnatural Cirque du Soleil™-style, three-handed maneuver described above with a more elegant and simple “just insert the bag and wait” procedure.  It seems simple enough, I guess.  You put the food in the bag and stuff the edge of the bag into the machine until it automatically starts to clamp down on the bag and go to work.  Sold as a patented and “Smart” feature, Jarden’s implementation of this so-called “technology” ends up being the biggest chunk of dysfunctional shit I’ve ever seen installed on a countertop appliance.  Here’s how it’s supposed to work:

BeemsOLight

The long removable plastic tray sitting on top of the silver label shown above has two plastic ‘fingers’ (circled in red above) that when properly installed sit in the small square cavity where the red arrow is pointing.  2 beams of infrared light are emitted across the cavity.  When a bag is inserted into the machine, the two plastic tabs (one for the left and one for the right) move towards the back of the machine causing the two plastic ‘fingers’ to move forward in the cavity interrupting the beam of infrared light.  The machine senses this and starts the seal close motor.

The seal close motor embedded in the machine is a small, crappy gear-reduced motor that’s connected to two plastic hooks located on each side of the sealer heating element.  Through the motor start cycle, these hooks “reach up” and attempt to grab on to the top rubber seal bar and pull it down onto the bag below, thus creating that so-called “Smart Seal”.  After the top bar is successfully grabbed and retracted, the vacuum pump starts up and the air is removed from the bag.  After some magical pre-set vacuum limit is reached, the pump turns off and the heating element turns on melting the two side of the vacuum bag together creating an air-tight seal.  Voila!  You have just experienced Patented SmartSeal™ Technology.  Did you feel it?  Huh?  Well did you?!!?

That’s how it’s supposed to work.  Here’s how it REALLY works:

After inserting your food into the bag, you must grab each side of the bag and pull it tight, creating as thin an opening as possible.  Next, slowly and evenly glide the taut bag into the slot of the sealer and keep inserting and inserting and inserting and inserting and inserting and inserting until the fucking thing finally starts to try and grab the bag (the amount of material needed to start the process is approximately 40 feet or so…).  Did it start?  Is it making a cheap-sounding, high-pitched, motor-ish noise??!  STOP!! DON’T FUCKING MOVE AN INCH!  Don’t wiggle, twitch, fart, snort or blink your eyes, or one of those two shit plastic hooks on either side of the bag won’t quite have enough reach to grab the top bar and the entire process will ABORT while the sealer light blinks furiously at you for having caused an error condition.  ERROR!!! FUCKING ERROR!!!  Remove the bag and try again!  Be more careful next time, punk.  If, by the grace of Christ you get the machine to accept your precious cargo and actually begin the arduous process of rampant suckulation, you can move on to the next step in the process – SUCK and SEAL.

Patented Seal Perfection™ Technology

Ahhhhh, Grasshoppa!  I see you have moved on to next level of food preservation!  In this section, we’ll detail the miracle of BURNING PLASTIC.  That’ll be your ultimate reward for making it through this next test. 

So you’ve managed to finally get the fucking bag accepted into the machine – congratulations are in order and you must be a damn genius!  Now the patience…  Patience, grasshopper, for you cannot truly become a Sucker Master until the machine achieves the correct vacuum!  Of course, there’s every chance you’ll DIE A FUCKING PAINFUL DEATH before that happens, since it seems that 9.8 times out of 10 that the machine will NEVER actually get to that magical pressure and automatically seal the bag, so at some point YOU’LL have to reach-up and press that big, precious black SEAL button yourself – or grow old and weary waiting for it to do it “automatically”.  Something about this piece of shit can’t reliably detect when something’s actually sealed.  So it just keeps running and running and running and running and running and running until it sucks 30 atmospheres of pressure out of your food, and even still it won’t start sealing.  It makes it to this point and just keeps going FOR-FUCKING-EVER:

SealLight

That’s where my machine sits regardless of what mode I use.  Marinate, seal, ANYTHING.  It works just fine until it should stop or stop & seal, but instead it just runs forever until you save it from itself and turn it off.  So close and yet so far.  It’s anyone’s guess why the Foodsucker V3825 gets like this.  Our machine is absolutely pristine clean inside.  There’s nothing in the water tray; there’s no food debris in the foam seal.  It’s just a poorly designed CHUNK OF SHIT that was obviously never tested by anyone at Jarden.  I would soooo enter this paper weight into the Special Olympics if I had the chance.  You are truly a gold-medal champion if you can make this piece of crap work reliably several times in row…

So that’s how the Foodsaver V3825 really works.  There’s absolutely NOTHING convenient about this kitchen doodad DISASTER.  All that’s really needed to complete this ultimate exercise in infuriating frustration is some extra special Customer Service.  Well, halleluiah!  Jarden’s got your ass covered there as well!

Patented Pass-The-Buck™ Customer Service Technology

JardenCustSvc

Jesus fucking Christ.  Jarden’s the technological leader in EVERYTHING, aren’t they?  Hot damn!  I think they must have used Sirius-XM’s so-called “customer service” as a Model of excellence when they figured a way to Pass The Buck™ from one clown to the next and cease to actually provide true customer service.

I have a confession, dear reader.  This isn’t the first V3825 we’ve owned.  We’re on unit #2 now, and we’re contemplating a trade-in for unit #3…  The first unit would NEVER grab the bag ever, even if there was no bag present.  It just always failed.  We tried exorcism, chicken blood, voodoo magic, Benny Hinn-grade healing sermons, etc… No change.  No sucky.  No sealy.  So we took that chunk of shit back to CostCo and they happily traded it out for a “new” chunk of shit that we still have today.  Just for what it’s worth, we left Benny Hinn playing on the TV in front of the Foodsaver last night hoping SOMETHING would change… but it didn’t.  I’m fresh out of faith at this point.

From: Eric
Sent: Monday, August 25, 2008 8:47 PM
To: ‘customerservice@jardenstore.com’
Subject: Foodsaver 3825 Problem

Hello –

I purchased a new Foodsaver 3825 on August 23 from CostCo in Woodinville, WA.   I set the unit up yesterday.  While examining the unit, I discovered a potential problem with the design of the unit that’s probably going to cause me to take it back to CostCo for a refund, but I wanted to ask Foodsaver about the problem before I did that.

On my unit, the auto bag clamper is only attempting to clamp down on the Foodsaver bag about 30% of the time.  The rest of the time it doesn’t even come close to trying – you can hear the clamp motor running, but it doesn’t actually grab the bag – or if it does grab the bag, it only grabs it on the left-hand side.  When it fails, the red sealer light flashes quickly after it makes a light “pop” sound.  I’ve found that if I open the front cover and use the tips of my fingers to “help” the clamper by pressing down slightly that it grabs about 75% of the time.  All in all, however, I have to try about 6 or 7 times at the cost of ~12 seconds per shot to see if it’s going to work. 

I’m absolutely certain it won’t work with potato chip bags like my older model will, given that they are slightly thicker than the Foodsaver bag.  At $150, I’m pretty disappointed, and I can hardly justify the time wasted waiting to see if it’s going to work, or if I have to slide the bag out and try again.  When it takes up to 7 times just to make it work once, there’s no value in the upgrade and I’d just as well go back to my older unit.

Is there an adjustment to make this thing grab each time, all the time, or is this some dorky over-sensitive safety feature that’s effectively ruined the usefulness of an otherwise handy appliance? 

Thanks,

Eric

After the auto-responder pooped-back the obligatory “Thanks for your e-mail, we’ll respond within 1 to 2 business days”, I received this reply from the dopes at Jarden the next day:

From: customerservice@jardencs.com
Sent: Tuesday, August 26, 2008 7:49 AM
To: Eric
Subject: RE: Foodsaver 3825 Problem

Dear Eric,

Thank you for contacting Jarden Consumer Solutions.

To better assist you, please contact Customer Service at the phone number listed below. One of our representatives will be happy to assist you. For assistance in French, please ask to speak with a French interpreter.

Our toll-free number is 1-877-804-5383.  Representatives are available to assist you from 8am to 8pm Monday – Friday, and 9am to 6pm Saturday, Eastern Time.  Thank you.

Sincerely,

Margarita M
Jarden Consumer Solutions  

In order to offer you a more extensive line of innovative products for your home and family, we have joined our sister brands under the Jarden Consumer Solutions umbrella.

Great.  See that Patented PASS THE BUCK™ technology in action?!!!  So Margarita and anyone else that works in this department has the most excellent job EVER.  They don’t have to do a fucking thing except PASS THE BUCK™ and tell you to call the 1-877 number so someone else will help you.  That way they can continue to sit on their lazy ass doing not a god damn thing.  And I don’t say that based on only 1 e-mail, my friend – I have lots of examples.  Here’s another:

From: customerservice@jardencs.com
Sent: Tuesday, August 26, 2008 9:53 AM
To: Eric
Subject: RE: RE: Foodsaver 3825 Problem

Dear Eric,

Thank you for contacting Jarden Consumer Solutions.

There is quite a bit of troubleshooting that may assist you with the problem you are having. Our telephone customer service representatives can walk you through all of the troubleshooting steps.

If you need further assistance, please don’t hesitate to contact us through our toll free number, 1-800-777-5452.  Our hours are 8 am – 8 pm Monday through Friday, and 9 am – 6 pm Saturday, Eastern Time.

Sincerely,

Jennifer H.
Jarden Consumer Solutions  

In order to offer you a more extensive line of innovative products for your home and family, we have joined our sister brands under the Jarden Consumer Solutions umbrella.

Sweet… Flustered that she actually had to answer an e-mail from me, Jennifer can get back to polishing door knobs now that she’s PASSED THE BUCK™ to the 1-877 number.  Way to go, Jennifer!  You’re well on your way to upper management.

In closing, I would only recommend that if you do decide to try out all these patented fancy technologies that you…

SAVE YOUR RECEIPT!

Keep the box, too.  Be fully prepared to return this chunk of stinking dog shit to whatever asshole sold it to you.  If you bought it directly from Jarden (You dumb ass!  What were you thinking!???!!), rest assured they’re laughing all the way to the bank, because you just paid cash for an:

 EpicSealFail

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