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As most of you know, buying cookware sets has always been a bit of catch-22; you get better prices, but you often get pans/lids you don't really need. But there may be a cure for this common catch-22.

This past weekend, at my local Williams-Sonoma, I learned that W-S stores now allow free substitution when buying All-Clad sets. This means you can substitute ANY All-Clad products of equal value for any items in the set.

The way the rep explained it, their sets are now free-selection based on price rather than specific pieces. For example:

An All-Clad 7 piece set has a retail value of $1030 but sells for for $699. So, under the new policy, you can buy literally any All-Clad products (from any of their lines, including electrics) that total $1030 MSRP for $699. The same applies to any other sets.

Apparently this policy does not apply to online and catalog purchases.