Well, really just two returns. I am glad they worked out.
In tough economic times, but really any time, I want to make sure I get full value out of my purchases. I had a couple of pieces of gear fail last year and decided to contact the stores and see what they could do for me.
My West Marine Third Reef foul weather pants started to delaminate last fall. A similar thing had happened to my jacket during the skeeterbeater trip. On day four of that trip we sailed into a thunderstorm and I felt the water coming through my jacket. Bruce showed me the delaminating material and said I ought to ask for a replacement. I took the jacket to West Marine and they handed me a new one.
So this year some panels in in my bib overalls started to delaminate. The exterior shell was fine, the interior lining was in great shape. But the waterproof lining inside the shell was peeling off. I emailed West Marine's customer service and they said take them to a store, with the receipt, for replacement. I no longer had the receipt so the customer service people emailed me one. The pants were out of stock for much of the Fall, but I got a call today that they had a pair for me. Dropped by and made the exchange. Can't beat service and support like that.
That's a nice photo by Bruce, below, showing me trying to figure out where we were on the Crabhouse 150. In the background you can see James Island, we were crossing the mouth of the Little Choptank River on our way to Tilghman Island. We had had heavy rains all night, a steady mist all morning. About an hour later the skies cleared. I remember how nice it was to take off the foul weather gear and enjoy the bright, warm sunshine.
The other item I had a problem with was the griddle on my Coleman stove. While cooking dinner on the Bay Days trip I heard a metallic pop and the griddle shifted on the stove. I soon found that the aluminum griddle had warped. As such it no longer sat squarely on the stove and rocked back and forth. Annoying to say the least, unsafe (when you consider how hot the griddle gets) at worst.
I emailed Coleman. They took nearly a month to get back to me but when they did they asked for details of what happened and a photograph. I responded with the information and within four or five days I had a new griddle. That's the new griddle, right, with the old griddle on the left. The fact that they had raised the new griddle about 1/4 inch higher off the stove makes me wonder if this was a design flaw with the original griddle. The newer, raised griddle will let heat escape a little easier. I'm not sure if that was the problem or not, just glad to have a new griddle that will fit better on the stove.
The cool thing about dropping by West Marine today was that I had to wait a couple of minutes for them to go into the back and get the new foul weather gear. While waiting I glanced over at the magazine rack and found some copies of Small Craft Advisor No. 67 on sail. A nice surprise! I finally got to see the article about our Tag Team sail last June. On a cold day with snow in the forecast for tonight, it was nice to be reminded of a great summer sail.