Tuesday, January 23, 2007

When They’re Good, They’re Good. When They’re Bad, they Suck.

I have two spinning wheels. The first is an Ashford Traveler (which I bought when I was 14), and the newest addition to our little family is the Schacht.

The drive wheel on the Traveler is really warped. It's been warped since Day 1, but it has gotten worse with time. That's fine, I'm willing to pay to replace it myself. It has been ten years, which I agree is an unreasonable amount of time to wait to call and complain, but hey, it sat unused for five to seven years. My fault.

Colleen's wheel (Ashford Joy) is only 3 years old and had SEVERE manufacturer's defects. It has from the start; she spun obsessively for a few months after its' purchase, and then it sat unused for a couple of years. Ashford says that it's out of warranty. When I pointed out that this was not wear and tear, but a manufacturer issue that the dealer overlooked, Ashford said that it didn't matter. One year is one year.

The woman on the line suggested either taking it to Morgaine (at Carolina Homespun in San Francisco)- who is an hour away, or to John (at Village Spinning & Weaving in Solvang)- who is FOUR hours away, without traffic (hahahaha!). Oh yeah, and Colleen is going to eat the cost of repairs and replacement parts, even though it is a case of negligence on behalf of the dealer.

Compare that to my call with Schacht:

Me: "Hi Schacht. My wheel has a problem."

Schacht Switchboard: "Let me put you through to our spinning people."

* connect *

Suzanne: "Hi, this is Suzanne."

Me: "Hi, my wheel has an issue."

Suzanne: "Which one do you have? The matchless or the Reeves?"

Me: "The Matchless."

Suzanne: "What's the problem?"

Me: "You know, the housing, where the flyer unit goes? The ball bearing is all flipped around and no amount of lubrication or force could get it turned the right way, and it just won't work." [I thought I heard a stifled giggle, but hey, say "lubrication" to me on the phone and I'll laugh really loudly.]

Suzanne: "That's odd. We'll send out a new ball-bearing/housing today. Also, if it's not inconvenient for you, could you please mail us the old housing so we can figure out what is wrong? We will be happy to reimburse you for shipping."

???!!! My cup runneth over!

Does it get any better than this?

Andrew made the analogy of Target vs. Nordstrom customer service, and I think he may be right. So what have we learned?

My next wheel (if I buy a third) will very likely not be an Ashford, which is a pity for them, since I was considering replacing my Traveler with a Joy- because the only downside (which is also an upside, oddly enough) of the Schacht is that it is H-E-A-V-Y. There's also no way that I can take it as carry-on to Rhinebeck (which I am seriously considering attending and working out the pesky financial details).

Any suggestions on a more flight-friendly wheel?

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