Have Dental Floss, Will Travel

Mapping the world, one waxy strand at a time…

Fickle Friends and Lifetime Guarantees

This morning I went out for a five mile run in the snow, and my trusty Garmin wouldn’t turn on.

I assumed it just needed a recharge, so upon returning home, I plugged it in and waited for the screen to come to life.
I switched outlets.
Still nothing.
It was official. After short eleven months together, Louis was dead. RIP, Louis.
When I first started thinking about investing in a Garmin last February, I paid a visit to our local REI. Though the 205 was a bit more expensive there than on amazon, the salesman made a compelling argument for forking over the extra $20.
“Electronics are fickle friends,” he told me. “If you order it online and something happens, you’re on your own. But if you spend a little more and buy it here, if ever have any problems, just bring it back and we’ll give you a new one.”
I was dubious of his claim, but his point about the accountability of online retailers was well taken. So, after careful deliberation, I laid down the cash (or, in this case, the treasured dividend check), and brought home my new friend.
This afternoon, after discovering Louis’ sudden demise, I decided to pay REI a visit. I doubted anything would come of it, but I figured I might as well try.
I walked into the store and up to the customer service desk. I took the Garmin out of my bag and laid it on the table. “I bought this here last spring,” I told the man, “and it’s stopped working.” I stopped at that, and waited to see how he would respond.
“Hmm…” he frowned, picking up the little machine. “Do you still have the receipt?”
“But I’m an REI member.”
“Oh!” he exclaimed, smiling. “That’s easy, then.”
With that, he typed my membership number into the system, and a minute later, he had the transaction in front of him. I felt like I was a part of a secret club.
“Would you like a refund,” he asked, “or just an exchange?”
“Is there any way to see if it can be fixed?”
“Maybe… But if I were you, I’d just get a new one.”
Point taken.
He sent me over to the experts at the GPS counter, and after deciding against an upgrade, I walked back over to him with a brand new Garmin 205.
“The price has gone down a bit since last winter,” he said. “I’m afraid I can’t refund you the $30, but it’ll go toward this year’s dividend.”
Works for me!

11 responses to “Fickle Friends and Lifetime Guarantees

  1. RunningLaur February 18, 2010 at 11:21 pm

    Wow, best REI/Garmin success story ever!

  2. Jill February 19, 2010 at 8:12 am

    I used to work at REI for a very long time so I'm loyal to the core; not only do they have an amazing return policy, they also educate their employees with classes on products and customer service. I think that speaks highly for themselves. Have a great weekend, hope your new Garmin works wonders!!

  3. Denise February 19, 2010 at 8:15 am

    a lot of the people in my running club suggested i buy my garmin at REI for this exact reason. thankfully, i haven't had to take them up on the exchange policy, but it's nice to know they stick by it.

  4. Amanda February 19, 2010 at 8:57 am

    Wow, that's a great customer service experience. RIP Louis, hello new friend..does he have a name yet?

  5. N.D. February 19, 2010 at 6:44 pm

    That's great and good to know! Is the REI "exclusive club" free? I never shop there but they have great stuff!

  6. Amanda - RunToTheFinish February 21, 2010 at 5:16 pm

    holy cow, that's friggin AWESOME!! good customer service right there

  7. I Run for Fun February 21, 2010 at 8:26 pm

    Oh wow! Awesome! My brother loves REI. I want to become a member of this secret club too!

  8. Angela and David Kidd February 22, 2010 at 11:53 am

    Awesome. I love, love, love REI.

  9. X-Country2 February 22, 2010 at 3:15 pm

    I've always thought Garmin is a great company. Happy it worked out so well for you.

  10. The Happy Runner February 24, 2010 at 10:38 am

    Wow, that's great. That definitely makes me want to shop at REI!

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