I really need an answer quickly on this one

Joined Oct 24, 2017
My mom is a wonderful woman, but not a rich one. She bought me a walmart utility knife today, which is a big deal for her as she is very frugal and I'm very touched by her having done this. I can't use the damn thing for much though because it's serrated and the edge wouldn't be straight even if it were, I don't have the receipt and have already used my receiptless return for this year at walmart so I can't just go trade it in unless I tell her it's totally useless and I need the receipt; basically a slap in the face but I'm in desperate need of a utility knife until I can afford one for myself. So the question is can I regrind the edge on this knife without just ruining it? If not I'm going to be forced to ask for the receipt because no, I can't afford an $8 Victorinox or the like (no, I'm not exaggerating, that's literally above my budget right now) My only tactful option is to regrind using a friends tools but I'm afraid it has a pig iron core and if I grind it out and that ends up being the case I pretty much can't do my job correctly and my whole life gets even more screwed than it currently is. I'm pretty much at my wits end here, I'm on the street, I'm on the very edge of being fired for not having the proper tools to do my work and I'm new in a town a thousand miles from anyone I know except my mom, if I mess this up my whole life is messedand I don't know whether I need to insult the only person who cares about me in the whole state. HELP!
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Joined Oct 31, 2012
First of all, Relax. This too shall pass. As to your current problem, go see your mom. It's no insult to ask for the reciept. You can tell her how much you appreciate the gesture but how you need a different style of knife. Your mom wanted you to have a knife. She had no way of knowing the knife would have to be specific. I'm sure she'll be understanding. After all, she still bought you the knife, whichever one you end up with.
By the way, not having the proper tools doesn't or shouldn't put you on the edge of being fired. The kitchen should provide the proper tools, certainly something as basic as a utility knife. If they can't or won't provide a simple utility knife for you to do the job you were hired to do, you should find another job. As time passes collecting your own knives is commendable and convenient but if you are just starting out in the industry, having your own knives should not be a job requirement.
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Joined Oct 24, 2017
I agree that it shouldn't be a requirement but "should" and "is" are often very different things. I know that I'm not in a permanent bind, but it's hard enough finding a career in your chosen industry and much more so when you don't have access to the laundry and showering capability provided by having a home. My boss is a tightwad and as I said my mom isn't rich, combine the two and I'm walking a fine line between meeting the requirements of the one without asking too much of the other. I wake my mom up almost every morning when I pop in to shower, shave and collect the laundry I need, so I really don't want to hurt her feelings by slighting the gift, but I guess you are right. Ah well, I guess I'll ask for the receipt.
Joined Oct 24, 2017
First thing: Relax a bit brother. Don't let this situation get the better of you.

Next: You're already in a better spot than you were without any knife at all. Your Ma gave you her love and her support the best way she figured she could. Even though it isn't the tool for the job, it is still more than you had before.

Now, I definitely advise not to grind that knife down. Most likely end up worse than it already is. Lookup all the thrift shops in your town. Start with the closest and head in and politely and calmly explain your story. Ask if they might have a knife more suitable they are willing to trade for the new one you have. I guarantee you won't have to go to another if they have a knife that your looking for.

If all else fails, just be straight with your Ma. Tell her you are grateful, and thankful, but you need a utility instead. She's already shown she wants to help.

No fear. Be humble. Stay focused.
Those are traits of a good Chef.
Good luck.


Founder of Cheftalk.com
Staff member
Joined Oct 5, 2001
Keep the knife it was a gift this is not something to take so seriously. Save up and by the knife you want.
Joined Oct 24, 2017
Wow, I was writing my reply and got a call, finished it when it was over, and then saw yours above. That's something. I like your way of thinking chefwriter. Must have had similar experiences in this walk of life.
Joined Aug 21, 2004
I would keep the gift from the heart. I would either make do with it exactly as it is, or approach my boss about providing the kitchen with the correct tool to perform my job or an advance so that I could purchase one, or check out thrift/hospice stores.

Don't fall into the trap that many do of over emphasizing the importance of the tool, rather than the skills.
Joined Nov 23, 2017
Don't be so worried! I think that she noticed how much you appreciated this gift so if you gently explain the situation, I think that she won't be so hurt! Besides you can possibly use it later for cooking other dishes so this gift will be used anyway!

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