Tag Archives: Talavera Armando Puebla

Talavera Armando, Puebla, Mexico–Making It Good?

In October 2009, I bought some pieces of talavera ceramics from Talavera Armando in Puebla at their factory store in El Parian at the corner of 6 Oriente and 6 Norte.  (They operate at least six galleries in Puebla.) Av. 6 Norte is the street full of talavera vendors that Puebla is famous for.  The quality from shop to shop varies, but I know that at the factory store Talavera Armando sells first quality DO4 pottery.  I paid 1,500 pesos ($123USD at that time) to ship three plates, one soup bowl, and six tiles.  A lot, you might say, but we had already packed our suitcases and knew they couldn’t take any more weight.  We were willing to pay the price for good pack and ship.

Everything except the tiles arrived broken.  The box, too small for the number and size of the pieces, was only half filled with peanuts, and the bubble wrap was one layer thick around each plate and not secured with packing tape.  In the shipment, bubble wrap must have fallen away from the plates which bumped against each other to cause the breakage.  I filed a claim with UPS and received the retail value of the broken pieces, amounting to $43.  UPS would/did not reimburse for what I paid for shipping.

On this recent return trip to Puebla, I stopped by Talavera Armando and told one of the managers, Omar Rubi Navarrette, what happened.  I showed them a photo of the too-small box, and asked them to reimburse me for the shipping cost.  He said I should have phoned them and they would have filled another order.  Then, he said they use PakMail and once they turn the order over them, it is out of their hands.

After an hour of discussing the customer service problem with a relative who was a fluent English speaker, they told me they would discuss the situation with PakMail, file a claim, ask for shipping reimbursement for me, and let me know if that was possible.  I am still keeping my hopes up that Talavera Armando will make good and reimburse me or give me a store credit for the inferior quality of packing.  I hope they understand that whoever they choose to pack and ship their ceramics is a reflection on their own quality of product and service.

I will write further about this to let the public know how this was resolved.

Meanwhile, not a single piece of the eight pieces of talavera I bought this week in Puebla, wrapped myself and packed in my suitcase, arrived broken!  I insert a sturdy bamboo basket inside my suitcase.  Pack my well-bubble-wrapped pieces into the basket so everything is snug and doesn’t wiggle.  Cover the basket with a plastic bag full of bubble that I secure to the basket with heavy duty wrapping tape, and cover that with my down pillow or bag of dirty laundry.

Dissing Talavera Armando, Los Sapos, Puebla

It was going to be touch and go, I just knew it.  I could imagine the luggage I left back in Oaxaca, filled to the brim and getting heavier in my mind’s eye.  That’s why I decided to ask Talavera Armando to ship the three plates, bowl, and six small tiles I bought.  How much, I asked, would it be to send these by air freight.  Fifteen hundred pesos, she answered.  She pointed to the maestro who was in charge of shipping, saying that he does this every day.  Barbara pulled out her iPhone with the instant currency converter app and showed that the cost would be $123 USD.  We gulped.  Then, we thought about what it would mean to jam these things into our luggage, which was already at risk of being overweight, and decided to take the plunge.  Okay, we said and forked over our pesos.  It’ll arrive by Monday, she said, four days from now.

Back in North Carolina, I waited.  Then, we got a call from FedEx.  Talavera Armando had not transcribed my address correctly, even though I had printed it clearly enough.   My husband, who received the phone call, corrected the address and today, four days later, we received the package.

Gleefully, I just opened it only to find the poorest packaging possible, a bit of bubble wrap protecting the fragile contents, in a box much too small to safely cushion each piece.  In fact, the dishes were wrapped together with only a thin veneer of bubble between each of them, and there was no tape to keep the bubble wrap secured.   When I saw that, I was not surprised to see that the contents arrived broken.

Lots of things work in Mexico.  This didn’t.  I have filed my FedEx claim, but who knows?  Meanwhile, the $123 we paid for shipping and handling (most of which probably went to the “handling” or the “packaging” was a way for Talavera Armando to put a few extra dollars in their pocket.  I’ll know better the next time.

Meanwhile, everything I packed myself and shipped home in my suitcase came undamaged.  The safest bet is to use Mail Boxes Plus or Mail Boxes Etc.  They do a great job from their franchise in Oaxaca.