In 1993, I was in Toronto and stopped in at the Tilley Endurables store at Queen's Quay Terminal. I bought a blue travel blazer-one that is sturdy and has Velcro and zipper fasteners on inner and outer pockets. It has a hard finish and does not wrinkle.
I have worn this jacket on trips all over the world. When I go through airport security, I can seal my wallet, keys, cell phone, pen, etc., in the Velcro pockets; fold the jacket; and put it in the tray for its trip through the X-ray machine. At the other end, I know these personal items will be safe in the pockets, and the jacket will not be wrinkled.
Old L.L. Bean once said that he did not consider a sale complete until the item had worn out and the customer was still satisfied.
Such is the case with my 15-year-old Tilley Endurables travel blazer. At the end of May I flew to Los Angeles for the BookExpo America convention and wore the jacket. I noticed that the lining was torn, and it was time for a new one.
During some downtime in my hotel room, I went on the Tilley Endurables Web site and found the jacket, which you see illustrated here.
From the sales copy:
Savile Row meets Fort Knox in the Tilley Travel Blazer, our all-season dark navy blazer that is capable of protecting you from the elements and pickpockets with equal flair. Equipped with eight secured pockets, all either Velcro-sealed or zipper-closed for security and peace of mind. This classically styled blazer has a double back vent style and just a touch more room across the back and down the arms for comfort and fit.
The cost: $265.
I have a truly dreadful body-fat neck, short arms and a spare tire around my middle. When I shop at Boyds in Philadelphia, the salesman takes me to a back room, where he shows me jackets. I choose one, the fitter makes chalk marks on it and a week later I pick it up. It fits beautifully. I have no idea what size it is.
I looked at the Tilley size chart, which offered 13 choices from Regular 38 to Tall 52. Rather than guess at the size, I decided Tilley would know. So I clicked on "Contact Us" and found a form. Here is my e-mail:
I want to order jacket #TW49. I am 5'8" high, with a 17" neck, 32" arms and a 40" waist. I can get the sleeves altered, so please send me the size that will best fit the rest of me.
Please ship it the cheapest way.
I filled out all the required information-name, address, phone, fax, e-mail, MasterCard account number, expire date, ID code.
I clicked on "Submit" and went off to BookExpo.
When I got back to my room and went online, I received an e-mail from a customer service representative at Tilley Endurables, which can only be described as a textbook case of rudeness, ineptness andutter unhelpfulness:
Friday, May 30, 2008 3:48 PM
Dear Mr. Hatch,
If you would like to purchase the blazer, please go to our Web site at tilley.com. I apologize for the inconvenience.
If I can be of further assistance, please feel free to contact me.
So much for a $265 order.
So much for a Tilley customer.
Good-bye silly Tilley.
Takeaway Point: Do you have a clue about the caliber of employees who are replying to customer e-mails and answering your phones?