fishing for words

(and tossing out random thoughts)


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a benefit to keeping fly fishing one of the smaller sports

I suppose it’s inevitable that with time and age I’ll someday become that “get off my lawn” guy. This week, however, I purposely took a step in that direction.

Over the last few years I have dealt with customer service at Sage, Redington (prior to its acquisition by Sage), TFO, Orvis and Galvan. In every case, response was immediate and exceeded my expectations.

Last month I contacted [name redacted], the manufacturer of a now relatively well-known brand, regarding the replacement of an integrated iPhone adapter. Apparently, I can replace it myself, saving a bit of money, but the part can only be bought from the manufacturer.

Hindsight being 20/20, I should have seen trouble on [name redacted]’s website email form, which stated, “Due to extremely high email volume, if you require order changes or immediate assistance, please call our Customer Service Department,” followed by a toll free phone number and the typical office hours. Heeding this advice, I called. After a cursory “hello,” I described the issue to the customer service representative, offered the model number and was told they could certainly send out the part.

“Can you take a credit card,” I asked. The answer: “No.”

The silence that followed was finally disturbed by the representative telling me that I could send a check or money order. I did so on Oct. 5.

Life interrupted and it wasn’t until earlier this week that I realized the part had not arrived. The check had been cashed, but no part. So I called. And called. And called. And called. And called.

Each of those five calls, no matter the extension I chose, entailed more than a few seconds of silence before an automated message told me that my call was important and a representative would get to me shortly. That message was immediately followed by a click and dial tone. I’ve since sent an email, despite the advice mentioned above, and three days later there has been no reply.

Sidestepping any debate of the merits or problems of growing the sport of fly fishing, it dawned on me this week that the relatively small population of fly fisherman — those who regularly support manufacturers and retailers of fly fishing gear — offers a benefit rarely seen in other consumer segments. Strong customer service.

That’s why I’m now more inclined to encourage only a limited number of folks join the sport. The fewer of us who fly fish, the harder retailers and manufacturers have to work to keep our business. Not necessarily a bad thing.

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