Not that the pots and pans I had were terrible, but the non-stick fry pans needed to be replaced and the Calphalon pots & pans were starting to tarnish or otherwise not look so great. So, I first replaced all the fry pans with new Calphalon non-stick as it was on special. I thought that would be the end of it.
But, All-Clad had a booth at the wine festival and I was talking with the rep. I asked him to guide me through what seems to be an incredibly crowded world of pots and pans. He asked one question. Would I ever want to throw the pot/pan in the dishwasher. The answer was definitely yes (had already done this with the Calphalon goods even though it was clearly stated that this was a mortal sin). He said the All-Clad stainless line was the way to go - with a stainless interior and exterior (along with the aluminum core for even heat). This line could be put in the dishwasher (though hand wash was still recommended).
I stopped at a bunch of places, but the prices were high and the selection seemed limited. Somehow I ended up on eBay - probably the result of a Google search. Suddenly - the selection and prices seemed a lot better. But could the eBay sellers be trusted? I found a few that seemed to have a wide range of All-Clad for sale. I then focused on the few that had extremely positive feedback.
The first purchase was a chef's pan. Bidding picked up at the tail end of the auction. The competitive spirit often kicks in at this point - you want to beat the other bidders regardless of cost. Kind of strategy/mind game thing. In any case, I didn't get totally caught up in this, but did end up winning at a decent price.
The pan arrived about 2 days later - sooner than I expected. Everything appeared authentic - from the box, to the shrink wrap to the inspector tag and warranty card. Visual inspection also looked good and authentic. So, over the past week I added the 9-pc set and a 2-qt and 6-qt saute pans. If nothing else, it definitely looks a lot better than what I had before.
Now I just need to figure out what to do with the old Calphalon.