It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, and it led to The Best Customer Service Experience Ever.
Let me ‘splain. No, there’s too much. Let me sum up.
Bonus Points to the first person – other than HCRP – who can name that movie reference without Googling. I hereby invoke The Official Online Interaction No-Googling Before Answering Clause/Oath.
Back to Socks.
It’s been a big week for me and socks.
Yesterday I got a by-name-mention on my favorite running blog. Which had to do with socks. (Click the link, I’ll wait for you to get back. Promise.)
See? Right here where I said I’d be.
Today my heavy weight Thorlo running socks (a link to which I can’t find) kept my feet warm standing around outside in 30 degree temperatures for four hours volunteering at a 5K/10K. Well those and my faux Uggs boots. But the socks were a pretty big factor too.
Then when we got home I had a package in the mail that made my day and restored my faith in corporate integrity and customer service.
In August 2012 I ordered a pair of orange Thorlo Experia running socks through an Amazon.com vendor. I specifically wanted a pair of orange because my BFF Lisa has MS and orange is The Official Color of MS Awareness. I decided not to wear them on training runs – I had a couple other pair of Thorlos for that – and to make them my Race Socks. Not that runners are superstitious about having a particular pair of socks for races or anything like that . . . I got the socks and wore them in maybe two races before I (was horrified when I) noticed a ‘run’ in one of them and a hole in the other. They were still wearable, but they weren’t in the pristine condition I’d insured they would be with meticulous care. And, not wanting them to fall completely apart, I ‘retired’ them.
Thorlo Experia socks are not inexpensive, therefore having this pair of ‘retired’, high dollar socks staring at me week after week really started grating on my nerves. So I did what anyone would do: I contacted the vendor from whom I’d purchased them.
Their reply was less than satisfactory. Their name will remain undisclosed because I don’t need to have the socks sued off of me for libel.
Despite chronicling the meticulous care with which I had treated these socks down to the number of uses and laundering practices, they stated their ‘policy’ that after thirty days they are no longer responsible for replacement and wished me well and invited me to buy a new pair from their stock.
Again, I did what any self-respecting consumer would do: I stashed the offending, apparently unrefundable, unreplaceable, $14.99 pair of socks deeper in the shelf where my winter weather running gear, bandanas, headbands, and other, in tact socks reside so as to escape their unraveling, orange, mocking stares and tried to forget about them. Which worked for a couple months until one day when I was searching for a particular headband and they fell at my feet.
I’d recently bought a new pair and, for some inexplicable reason, still had the card they hang on racks by and there it was on my dresser with the mailing address for Thor-Lo, Inc. in Statesville, North Carolina right there on it. I tossed the traitor socks and the hanging-thing card in the bag I carry to work every day where they stayed for about a month.
Until the day I glanced down at the bag where the traitorous, ravelling socks were lying there mocking me and I decided to send them back from whence they came. But not alone. No, I sent them with an appeal to their maker to make good on what I knew to be the otherwise superior quality of their products by replacing this clearly inferior pair.
I shared my history with their fine products, including the touching tale of My First Thorlos and how they’d taken me from frightened, newbie runner to successful half-marathon finisher. I told them how I had successfully converted HCRP from being an “any sock will do” runner to wearing only their fine socks for both training runs and in races.
I used phrases like “otherwise fine quality of your products” and “absolutely do not represent your brand quality” in reference to Traitor Socks.
I sucked up.
I wanted these socks replaced. For free. No other pair of this brand and style had ever come undone like this. It was an aberration, an anomaly, a veritable anathema in the world of Thorlos!
And I didn’t want them replaced in any old color. I wanted orange. Orange Thorlo Experia Running Socks. So I explained the significance of the orange socks and about Lisa and how wearing those socks reminds me that I’m also running for her (among many other friends whose mobility is limited by things they didn’t choose) in every race. And I sent the socks and eloquently written letter off to Experia Land. Truth be told, I wasn’t expecting a reply, let alone a replacement. I was just tired of those mocking, orange stares but wasn’t about to throw away a pair of Thorlos! I am not a monster, I am a human being! (More movie reference bonus points. No Googling Clause/Oath invoked.)
This afternoon when we got home there was a small plastic mailing pouch with something squishy inside from a return address I didn’t remember ordering anything from. I did a quick mental run-through of recent Amazon purchases and nothing came back that fit “squishy thing in small plastic mailing pouch”.
So I opened it.
And lo and behold I saw this:
I’d like to draw your attention to two little details on the ‘invoice’ that accompanied those neon orange socks. And I have no clue why the second image is sideways OR how to fix that. Sorry.
This was their message to me: Enjoy!
Now that, Ladies and Gentlemen, is what I call Customer Service with a big ol’ heapin’ spoonful of integrity and standing behind one’s product.
Dear Thor-Lo, Inc.:
I may have mentioned my Running Blog in my letter requesting a replacement for that rogue, raveling pair of traitorous socks. I have literally several followers who hang on my every word about running and running paraphernalia. Especially bras and socks.
Please know that henceforth and forevermore your Thorlo Experia Running Socks will be The Official Running Socks of my little corner of the World Wide Web, and of my feet in every mile I run.
One Very Happy, Vocal, Blogging Customer