Friday, December 05, 2008

Kudos to a Business that Cares

Let me tell you a story of how a business should be run.

Last September on a surprisingly cold, windy, and rainy day, I was in Northport, NY rafted up with my good friends Laura and Cory. We had had a lovely evening before with Herb and Gina and Bobbie and Warren aboard Laura and Cory's boat.

The next morning, as I said, turned out to be rainy and cold. Laura and Cory had to get back to Stamford so when they were going to weigh anchor I had no choice but to do the same.

Unlike their Kady-Krogen, I had to be outside for this little trip back and so reached for my favorite foul weather gear, a Gill O2 jacket. As I was standing out in the rain I noticed I was getting wet. Inside. Like totally soaked. I thought maybe it was just the dampness, but no, it wasn't. I was wet.

This is not the behavior one expects from foul weather gear, so that week I figured I'd call Gill and see what's up. Of course, my expectations were low as the jacket was five or six years old, but it had been taken care of, so I thought, "What the hey..."

After getting the phone number for customer service, I called and talked to Becky - she was as nice as nice can be and suggested that sometimes the waterproofing wears out and I should try that first, and then let her know how it went. Really, she wanted to know.

Off I went to a sporting goods store and picked up some waterproofing stuff. Two bottles of waterproofing stuff as the jacket was considerably larger than a couple of pairs of shoes.

Back at the ranch I started in on the jacket and noticed that a panel in the back below the shoulders was all broken up and I could see the liner through it. That was obviously the source of water inside the jacket.

Soon afterwards, I called Gill again and spoke once more with Becky. She indicated I should send it in and they'd have a look at it and either repair it or replace it if they thought it was a manufacturing defect. It turns out Gill has a lifetime guarantee. I did not know that.

I wrapped the jacket up, put it in a box, and fired it off to Gill at the address she provided. Inside I placed a letter describing the whole sad story. I figured I'd never see the jacket again and it would be deemed my problem.

A few weeks later while staring into the blue it occured to me that I should give Becky a call. Being the man of action I am, I waited until the next day and then called her. "Oh, yes!", she said, "We've just sent out a replacement jacket to you - actually we don't make the one you sent anymore and so the new one is an upgrade. You should have it, umm, let me see here, by Wednesday." Then she added that the panel had delaminated - it might have been the end of the roll or something and I had not done anything wrong.

I was stunned into near silence. No I wasn't - I was just yanking your chain. I reserve stunned silence for other things. I thanked her profusely, and she seemed genuinely pleased to have been able to help. I hope that was the case.

But she was wrong: The jacket came Tuesday. And it's so nice that all the people on my dock want to steal it. Hard to do with me in it, I might add.

So there you have it - I had to get this out because if you're looking for foulies, and you don't know whose to buy, go with Gill. If they can stand behind their product like that it's got to be good.

There's my feel good story for the year. Let's see Oprah beat that! Ahahahaha!

See ya on the water!