Surprised? No, of course not. You knew when you read my post the other day that this is the kind of answer I’d get. Don’t deny it — I heard you all snickering that I asked McKlein why their lifetime warranty doesn’t cover a faulty zipper. Several of you emailed me with suggestions for luggage repair places, gently preparing me for this moment.
This is the (now typical) garbled email answer I received:
You would be in charge of the shipping cost to us and back you and also the cost
of the repair. This no longer covered under McKlein warranty is limited lifetime
warranty which only covers one year only that’s the reason of the charge.
Thanx & Best Regards,
P: 773. 378. 5400 x 30
F: 773. 378. 5800
Alas. Should I even be annoyed that they play these games? That they believe they can add the word “limited” before “lifetime” to mitigate the meaning of lifetime to “one year?” Obviously they can, because I have no power to affect this. And it’s old news to all of us isn’t it? You pay the money for something of high quality, but it means nothing. I do believe if you buy the cheapy thing and it falls apart in a few months, you get what you deserve. That’s the whole basis of the disposable society, isn’t it? Cheaper to buy a new one than to repair the old one. Since I get to be “in charge” of the shipping costs (this reminds me of being in charge of cleaning the erasers in the classroom, a very dubious honor), I’m guessing I’d be out around $150 by the time we’re done. Now, however, even the high-quality, high-dollar, lifetime guaranteed stuff falls apart in a couple of years and the manufacturers are deliberately obtuse and obstinate about repairs. Clearly they don’t care about selling me the next bag.
It’s the first 30 pages syndrome, all over again. All marketing today seems to be based on this sale, this quarter. The sale next year, down the road a few years doesn’t matter.
And it really should.
My friend, the writer and photographer RoseMarie London, reminded me that it’s up to the writer to make sure the book is good after the first 30 pages, if she wants readers to come back, since no one else apparently cares. She has a good point. So who’s out there making sure I buy another McKlein bag (which I obviously won’t)? Where are the craftsmen? With all the focus on the stimulus package and rescuing our cancer-ridden economy, I wonder if anyone is thinking beyond next year. President Obama, with great honesty and integrity, I thought, said we won’t see major changes in the economy for a year. But we can all see that changes are happening: my friend who works at Hewlett-Packard reports that all employees are taking a 5% pay cut starting next month. The CEO is taking a 20% cut (on a $24 million salary, so there’s some cynicism there, but nevertheless). We’re wondering if the unions will fall before the needed revisions in the way we do business; I’m surprised by how many very liberal folks I know hope they do.
I heard on All Things Considered that the mobile phone industry promised to standardize phone chargers by 2012. So, that we don’t have to get new ones every two years with our new phones. Along with new car chargers. So that we don’t have to pitch the now-useless old ones. It’s a great move. Oh, except Apple isn’t participating.
Times they are a-changin’. Is it too much to hope that we could go back to having craftsmen repair our perfectly good stuff, rather than bowing to the forces that just want to sell us more inferior shit that we’ll toss into the landfill in a year? Maybe Apple will feel the social pressure and join in on this eminently rational plan.
Still surprises me that I’m idealist at heart.