Daddy needs a new pair of shoes
Not too long ago, I picked up a pair of Patagonia Loulu shoes at REI. I liked them so much, I bought another pair from REI and then a third pair from Zappos.
And then, after only a few months, I noticed that the heels were wearing out. Rather than fork over another $130 or so for a new pair, I went over to the Patagonia site to see whether I could get new soles for them. Yes, it turns out, I can, but..
I found a question/answer on the product page which said that the ONLY option I had was to send my shoes in to Mountain Soles in Oregon to be resoled. And for $80. Plus shipping ($10 or so each way). So that comes out to $100 or so to resole the shoes. And let's not forget the environmental impact - going this route means packing up my shoes and shipping them off to Oregon. And having them shipped back.
I thought I had missed something - Patagonia cares about the environment - the say so all over their web site. So I did what I do best - I contacted their customer service people.
First I tried via e-chat. The person on the other end of the chat said that Patagonia didn't sell soles directly (it was company policy), but that I could contact Mountain Soles to see if they did. Amusingly enough, the Mountain Soles site says:
Q: Is it possible to purchase just the soles so that I can resole my own shoes or have a local shoe repair shop resole them for me?
A: Unfortunately, our agreement with Patagonia Footwear does not allow us to sell soles to consumers.
Great - Patagonia says ask Mountain Soles, Mountain Soles said Patagonia said they can't do it. Awesome..
The e-chat didn't go much further, but the agent did promise to check on why they had this policy (the policy about not selling the soles, and not allowing Mountain Soles to sell the Soles, that is). And surprisingly enough, someone contacted me later that day. Unfortunately, they didn't have anything useful to add - it went something like this:
Blah blah blah we think mountain soles do great work and want to support their business.. blah blah blah We don't offer outsoles for sale, because repairs done by individual will inevitably have a large variance in quality and we cannot be liable for poor jobs at replacement blah blah blah
So I get it. You think I'm an idiot and would somehow blame you and demand my money back if you sold me soles and I took my shoes to the local cobbler (because I want to support his business) and he did a crappy job. And instead, you think it's somehow environmentally friendly to send my shoes off in a truck to Oregon and back.
Your loss really. I'm certainly not paying $100 to get my shoes repaired only to have them wear out in three months. And I'm pretty sure I'm not going to just got and spend another $130 or $140 on another pair, only to have them wear out in a few months.
So how about this. You go to your room and think about your policy and why it's wrong, and when you figure it out, send me an email and I'll think about buying another pair of your shoes. Deal? And in the mean time, I'll go see what Toms Shoes has going on. Blake Mycoskie has a better grasp on things.