DOWNEY – Amapola Deli and Market was faced with an angry mob seeking refunds for defective masa that was sold to them over the holiday weekend.
Thousands of unsettled and unsatisfied customers lined up outside of Amapola’s four locations for most of the day Monday, with some waiting several hours to receive their cash back.
According to one of the customers in line, the market announced that they had run out of money sometime around 3 PM, and began handing out numbered tickets and forms to return at a later date.
“You can imagine the way everybody was pretty upset about the whole situation,” said Ruben Escalante, one of the customers seeking a refund. ”At the time that he told us that they had ran out of money, Carlos Galvan told us fill out the form, turn it in and you’ll be given a phone call and you’ll be reimbursed.”
The market is currently reimbursing for the masa it sold, as well as any ingredients that went into the making of the tamales, regardless if those were purchased at different location.
According to Galvan, any other expenditure outside of that directly connected to the making of tamales will be negotiated on a customer to customer basis.
At a press conference held later that evening, Amapola SVP/CFO Carlos Galvan Jr. apologized for the incident.
“The Galvan family and I and our extended family of over 350 employees are saddened and sorry that many of our loyal customers were disappointed with our product and had a bad holiday experience with our masa,” said Galvan. “…As promised from the moment we discovered the incident, we have been taking corrective measures and will continue to provide you with a full refund of your purchase.”
It is currently unclear as to what exactly caused the bad masa.
“Our company is currently engaged in a detailed investigation to find the cause that created this incident. So far we have concluded that the defective masa was sold between December 23rd and December 24th,” said Galvan. “Our evidence continues to point to defective corn bought from a national provider of over 15 years. We have reached out to them to first ensure that no other store or consumer of their corn has a similar experience as ours and to join in investigating and testing the corn used to make the masa in question.”
Tamales that were sold premade were not affected.
Customers who wish to receive a refund for their masa purchase are encouraged to visit amapolamarket.com or Amapola’s Facebook page, or to visit one of Amapola’s locations.
Amapola will reopen Wednesday to resume issuing refunds.