Yeah, that's the same one as the Costco Elite. I suppose some no-name manufacturer in China makes these things under different brand names, same wattage, same shell, same door hinges, same kettle, same everything.
Reading the feebay ad is a hoot. Don't believe anything it says, other than the fact that is makes popcorn. The front panels are plastic
, though the other three windows are thin glass. The warming tray works, but it only heats up the rear half and takes an hour to dry out a batch of corn. The thin sheet-metal lower tray warps, you may need to bend it a bit with pliers after a while to get it to close straight.
With the feebay model you're losing the cart, but paying less also, so not a bad deal. In the end it pops corn just fine. In fact, I'm having some now. Remember that on feebay shipping is a profit center, so you can probably find this thing in Canada for the same price after shipping, and support local business.
Since I'm bored I'll play with this guy's ad... Ad Versus Reality
Ad: We are the only company on EBAY authorized to sell Great American Popcorn machines.
Actual: Because we took the same machine everyone else sells and gave it a new name.
Ad: We have placed a heating element underneath the unit for ultimate performance. Combine that with the heat lamp/light, and your popcorn will remain fresh & hot for hours.
Actual: See above re: warming tray. The lamp on top is a standard PAR lamp, that doesn't put out any appreciable heat.
Ad: We use 20% thicker steel and 25% thicker glass.
Actual: Well, it's still paper-thin metal and 1/8" glass.
Ad: All of the glass on the Great American Popcorn Company machines is tempered.
Actual: Just don't ask about the plastic front doors. I guess those aren't technically "glass."
Ad: We specifically designed this machine so the popcorn will be cooked within 3 to 5 minutes.
Actual: Yes, it does get hot fast.
Ad: We added a 3rd switch so you can control the stirrer, the heating element, and the hot lamp independently. This puts lets wear and tear on the machine and allows for preheating for the fastest cook time possible.
Actual: True. Not that it matters much, the thing wont wear out because the stirrer was on for an extra 2 minutes, but it's nice to shut off the kettle heat a bit before the corn is done popping to reduce smoke and scorching.
Ad: Simply "rake" the popped corn with a scoop and the "old-maids" disappear.
Actual: LOL. I wish. The "old maid" holes are so small that you'll have a tough time getting anything to fall through them, even when you try.
Ad: Our machine is strong enough for every day use in the toughest environments. It was built to withstand years of use
Actual: This is a generic chinese model that will probably break in a year, but you pay half as much for it as for the more expensive brands.
Ad: We are so confident in our product, we offer a 3 year guarantee on all parts to assure you years of use. This warranty is provided by the Great American Popcorn Company.
Actual: Well, they said parts. And only if the company decides the part was defective, and only after you ship the part to them, and then they will just send you a new part back.
Ad: Why do you think our competition doesn't show more than 1 photo in their advertisements? Perhaps they are afraid to show the details of the components. We have taken several photos of the product and try to show you the intimate details. We have provided a fresh design, used a rich maroon color, and added decals or etched glass to add the final touch.
Actual: Who knows? Perhaps the competitors know they're selling a knockoff product and don't care. Costco shows you photos. Besides, the product in this guy's ad is black, not Maroon. The standard model is maroon.
Ad: Heavy-duty powder coated steel and stainless steel construction
Actual: The popper itself (that I have) is still doing well after 4 months. The cart it sits on is starting to rust out a bit on the plated 'gold' pieces. I'm willing to bet 100 Yuan though that the only stainless steel on the thing is the kettle. The rest of it appears to be brushed aluminum or sheet metal.
Ad: Popcorn supply storage in base.
Actual: Huh? This thing comes with a base? It's not photographed or featured anywhere, though the generic chinese knockoff this is based on does come in one large box with a stand, so who knows. The storage is nice though, and it comes with a scoop, a salt shaker, and some ladle things. I wouldn't expect to get a base with this guy's ad and price.
Ad: These commercial quality machines feature stainless steel food-zones, easy cleaning stainless steel kettles, an exclusive warming deck, old-maid drawers (for unpopped kernels), tempered glass panels/doors and an industry leading 8 ounce kettle operating on 860 watts.
Actual: Lie, lie, lie, and exaggeration. This is not commercial quality, the warming deck is not 'exclusive', the doors are not tempered glass, and the kettle is the exact same model you find on all the other two dozen poppers from china that share this same chassis (but use different color schemes and labels).
Ad: Makes roughly 3 gallons of popcorn per batch.
Actual: On Mars maybe. Your real yield is probably 2 gallons with an 8oz pre-pack, just enough to cover the bottom of the machine about 2 inches deep. If you want to fill it, you'll need to pop three batches. That said, 8oz is a lot of popcorn, enough for two popcorn hog adults, or four more moderate people. One batch will fill two 85oz bags with a handful left over. And no, 85 ounces is not nearly as much as you think (3.5 x 5 x 9.25")
Ad: Thicker Glass: ---- 40% thicker than our competition # Premium Grade Steel ---- 30% thicker than our competition
Actual: Waitaminute... I thought it was "20% thicker steel and 25% thicker glass" like earlier in the ad? Oh noes, the popper is growing like the blob!
Ad: The Great American Popcorn Company utilizes a specially formulated coconut cooking oil that is partially absorbed by the popcorn as it pops. This is what gives the popcorn its flavor.
Actual: Yes and no. Correct on the flavoring, incorrect on the 'special formulation'. This guy likes to take credit for everything, like Al Gore.
Ad: The only real cleaning that is required is for you to wipe off the excess oil from the kettle after you finish popping--a damp cloth will do the trick.
Actual: Thus far fairly true. I wipe it off once in a while, boil water in the kettle when it gets really nasty. Truth be told, unless you like smoking kettles, clean it every time. This is harder done than said, because wiping it out will leave your hands covered in coconut oil; good for your skin, bad for your clothes.
Ad: If I have any 8 ounce kettle, do I have to make 8 ounces? Absolutely not!
Actual: Somewhat true. However most of your blowout (unpopped kernels being ejected from the kettle along with popped corn) happens early on, so if you use a 4oz batch, you'll get a lot more wastage.
Ad: Please keep in mind the GAP poppers hold approximately 45 quarts of popped corn
Actual: Again, maybe on Mars. While I bet you could theoretically jam that much popcorn into the machine with your foot, in reality you will have popcorn falling out of the machine when you open the front doors by the time you hit 16 quarts of popped corn. Of course, I can't imagine anyone needing that much popcorn outside of a commercial establishment, and in that case, why buy this cheap chinese knock-off popper?
Ad: In the event you have received a DOA product, please contact us for a Return Merchandise Authorization number (RMA#) by sending an email request to *****@dtxinternational.com
Actual: Hey, I thought this was "The Great American
Popcorn Company"? Oh well, I guess it's just the great chinese importer company.Fun With Fine Print
Ad: WARRANTY: Since we sell our items with no reserve and at such low prices, we do not provide warranties of any kind. All warranties, if any, are provided by the manufacturer.
Actual: Wait, what? So this guy is NOT the manufacturer? LOL.
Ad: We will not ship to Military APO Addresses, International Addresses, or P.O. Boxes.
Actual: Wait, what? Maybe they were kidding when they said, "To Canada -- US $89.95"
Overall, this is a fine popper for the price. It's not commercial quality but for occasional home use, if you don't make doctor or lawyer money, this is a fine buy. Just don't believe what you hear on feebay, or from its "power sellers". These guys make just as much profit as the local stores do, if not more, so if they have a low price, it's because they're selling you a cheaper product.
For the actual 'movie theater popcorn' that makes the difference, check out Stargate Cinema
. Even if they cost more, at least they're a better dealer.