Pleasant Surprise — 2X

Today I had two really good experiences in retail stores. One was not really a surprise on my part, but on the part of the salesperson. The second one was a pleasant surprise for me.

I have finally worn out my Tilley Hat. That is not something that is supposed to happen, but since I live in the jungles of Mexico and have worn my hat about 6 days a week for 2.5 years, it has gotten worn out. I sweat a bit more than the average person and therefore do a lot more damage to my hat than most people would.

There have been plans in the works to get my hat replaced when we moved back to the US. I only needed to send $7.50 along with my hat back to Tilley in Canada and they would send me a new hat. I went to the Tilley website to get the details and found out that I could take my hat to a local retail store and exchange it. Even more exciting was to find out that there is a place which sells Tilleys here in Pensacola.

The local dealer is Weatherford’s. I have lived in Pensacola off and on for 20 years and have never heard about this wonderful store. It is full of outdoor/camping/hiking/climbing equipment. They even have a very nice climbing wall. And, best of all, they sell Tilleys.

When I told the lady that I wanted to exchange my hat she responded with: “Oh, those don’t wear out.” It only took one quick glance on her part to see that it really was worn out. I have sweated the seams apart. I told her that the Tilley site says I could just do a straight trade. She had the same model, but not the same color of hat. While I was showing my wife the new hat color the saleslady called Tilley to make sure she was doing the exchange right. She had never done this before because “Tilleys don’t wear out.” She assured the Tilley rep that the hat was definitely worn out and the rep apparently told her to just replace it, no questions asked. The lady just kept saying, “That’s great” and, “That’s cool.” She seemed to be pleasantly surprised that it was that easy.

Unfortunately, they did not have my size in stock. But she had placed an order a couple of weeks ago with my size. She said I should be able to pick it up next week.

My second experience was at the bike shop today. We found our son a nice bike at the Waterfront Rescue Mission Bargain Center yesterday. But the bike did not have a rear reflector. I had gone to Target and Wal-Mart to find a reflector for it today. Neither store had a basic reflector. Both sold $8+ lights, but no $2 reflector.

I went to the bike shop to purchase one this afternoon. I told the guy what I needed and that it was for my son’s bike. He handed me the reflector and said there would be no charge. “If it is going to help keep a child safe, then I will just give it to you.”

I know that reflector probably cost him less than a dollar. It was not a huge gesture on his part to give it to me. But the attitude that says “I am willing to give away a cheap reflector to help a guy protect his kid and in return have him buy something from our store and say something nice about us to other people” is the type of attitude I want to promote. That mentality is desperately missing in so many stores and service centers.

What an encouraging day.

For many of you, these may be normal experiences with retail. But I have not seen that for 4 years.

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