About two years ago, I bought a fancy, wheeled laptop bag. In fact, it was October, 2006. I know this because I recently had to look up my receipt for proof of puchase.
After much researching, I settled on this lovely leather bag from McKlein. In this great burgundy color — just say no to black luggage. Plus they had a great reputation and a lifetime warranty. Sign me up.
Everywhere I dragged it, which is a lot of places when you fly once or twice a month, people complimented me on my bag. It has all kinds of wonderful features.
Except that the teeth in the zippler tore out. Everything else about the bag is perfect. The leather looks new; the wheels are barely dinged. But it no longer zips. Which is problematic, especially when you go to lift it into the overhead bin and everything in the bag dumps out on your head. Yes. This really happened to me. And nice nearby businessmen helped me pick up all my stuff and didn’t even laugh at me. To my face.
I looked up what to do online, which involved sending in information like my proof of purchase so I could get some kind of trouble ticket and go from there. Naturally I procrastinated at this point, which is almost certainly what they hope you’ll do.
But after slogging around Delaware lopsided, weighed down with my shoulder-strap bag, (I can only carry it on one shoulder — it falls right off the other. Why? Why? Why?) I bit the bullet and engaged in the process.
I don’t have to tell you the details. You already know how this goes. The email exchange. The photos of the damage. The email I finally receive:
I have advise my boss regarding your damage item she has determined that the
item is not repairable the estimate cost to repair the item is $100.00.
Never mind the broken English — I love the whole Orwellian view of repairability. So after I asked which it was, repairable for $100 or not repairable? and she responded that I was correct, I volleyed back with a challenge to explain why the clearly inferior zipper construction doesn’t fall under their lifetime warranty covering materials and workmanship.
Yeah, we know what’s coming next. But I’m kind of entertained to see what excuse they’ll give. The real question is: do I pay $100, plus shipping two ways, I presume, to repair a two-year-old $200 bag? Or do I just pay less money for an inferior bag that I can count on falling apart in two years also, but that I won’t have invested so much confidence in?
I wish they wouldn’t bother with the warranty that guarantees nothing. Perhaps I’ll look for the bag with truth in advertising: “This bag will last two years in reasonable condition, at which point the wheels will fall off and it will explode in the overhead bin, causing your overstressed fellow passengers to throw you out the emergency exit at a low enough altitude to kill you but not suck them out the door also, at which point you will no longer need a laptop bag.”
I’d buy that one.