“An error does not become a mistake until you refuse to correct it.” ~ John F. Kennedy

Discussion in 'Outerwear' started by Superfluous, Feb 20, 2021.

  1. Superfluous

    Superfluous My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    As I was enjoying my self-imposed temporary respite from TFL, I became consumed with a philosophical question that compelled my early return from hibernation.

    “To err is human.” ~ Alexander Pope. “An error does not become a mistake until you refuse to correct it.” ~ John F. Kennedy

    Even the best of the best occasionally error. The real test of one’s character is how he or she deals with the inevitable errors and one’s willingness to correct the inevitable errors.

    We have seen the foregoing play out many times with different jacket manufacturers. Even the most skilled and competent manufacturers, employing rigorous QC, occasionally let a flawed jacket out the door. Certain manufacturers are very willing to remedy their errors and make things right; others, not so much. Great customer service is not defined by how a company deals with its satisfied customers, but rather, how it deals with unhappy customers. “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” ~ Bill Gates.

    So here is my question: If and when we receive a flawed jacket, should we contact the manufacturer and allow him an opportunity to remedy the error before we go public with our dissatisfaction and/or publicly criticize the manufacturer? I intentionally used the word “should” in my question. I am not suggesting an absolute obligation or a moral imperative. Rather, I am asking about etiquette and fairness to the manufacturer. The manufacturer has no ability to discern or correct an error unless and until the purchaser brings the error to the manufacturer’s attention. Otherwise, the manufacturer is in the dark, oblivious to the error and incapable of making things right. Thus, manufacturers are reliant on their customers to speak up and inform them of inevitable errors. Is it appropriate to publicly criticize a manufacturer who is unaware of his error and was never given the opportunity to correct it?

    To be clear, the manufacturer is at fault for sending the flawed jacket to the purchaser, and the purchase is the victim of that error. Thus, one point of view is that the victim of poor workmanship/QC has every right to speak his mind, particularly on a discussion forum focused on these exact issues, and there should be no prerequisites to the sharing of bad workmanship. If all of us were required to reach out to the manufacturer before sharing bad experiences, that would inappropriately chill our open discussion. Completely valid position.

    Now, place yourself in the shoes of the manufacturer that is publicly lambasted by the purchaser of a jacket who never once made the manufacturer aware of the flaw(s), and never once allowed the manufacturer the opportunity to remedy the issue before going public. The manufacturer is blindsided. Moreover, with Google being what it is, the public criticism is now a permanent record for anyone who searches the manufacturer. You certainly can see why a manufacturer would be displeased with the foregoing outcome, without having been extended any opportunity to address the issue in advance. On the other hand, the manufacturer brought it on himself by delivering a flawed product to the purchaser. On the other hand, even the most competent manufacturers occasionally error and deliver a flawed jacket. After all, "to err is human."

    I am not suggesting that purchasers excuse flawed workmanship. Moreover, even if the manufacturer corrects the error, the remedial action, while commendable, does not erase the initial substandard workmanship. Therefore, even if the error is remedied, the purchaser remains entitled to speak out about the initial deficiency. On the other hand, appropriate remedial action certainly mitigates the initial error, evidences good customer service, and warrants mentioning when discussing the original flaw(s).

    There have been several instances where someone on TFL aired hostility towards and/or a dispute with a particular manufacturer, and subsequent posters chastised the OP for not first attempting a private resolution with the manufacturer. Other times, no mention is made of contacting the manufacturer directly. I’m not sure what the factors are that drive the varied reactions.

    I must concede that I have discussed workmanship shortcomings without first advising the manufacturer. Perhaps that was poor etiquette. Perhaps not. Regardless, I am guilty.

    The foregoing obviously does not apply to purchases of used jackets. That is an entirely different circumstance.

    No judgment here. Just trying to outline the issue and solicit your sage input. If and when we receive a flawed jacket, should we contact the manufacturer and allow him an opportunity to remedy the error before we go public with our dissatisfaction and/or publicly criticize the manufacturer? Again, the issue is not whether contacting the manufacturer is absolutely required, but rather, whether it is good etiquette given that the manufacturer is otherwise unaware of the issue and blindsided by the public criticism. “An error does not become a mistake until you refuse to correct it.” ~ John F. Kennedy
     
  2. Harris HTM

    Harris HTM One Too Many

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    Yes, I think the best way is to contact the maker first when we have - or think we have- an issue with a new product.
    The only time I had an issue with a jacket, at least during the check upon arrival, were a few broken stitches at the cuff. I contacted the seller and they immediately offer a free return and free repair. As I had planned to visit the factory the coming month I declined the offer and brought the jacket with me during my visit. It was repaired at the spot, while looking around, they even used the exact same stitch holes.
    It wouldn't be fair to them to post the photo's here first before giving them the chance to correct their fault.
     
    DaveProc, jeo, HoosierDaddy and 3 others like this.
  3. navetsea

    navetsea I'll Lock Up

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    imo, when the jacket arrive at your hand then it has passed the QC of the brand owner, workmanship wise they feel the jacket is final.

    fitting issue or misunderstood details, wrong zipper pull etc. are different story you should give them a chance to fix the misunderstandings, but crooked stitches, misaligned panels, they are there to stay, if you as a client who only inspect a new jacket every now and then could see these sloppiness, then as a jacket maker they must have already seen them too and decided it is good enough for you.
    so either you decide to make peace with it and see the positives, you can decide to call the maker and ask for a remake or whatever, you can accept it but tell the world, all fair to me...

    I don't spend nearly the budget you guys spending here, but in the economy I live the money I pay is still relatively meaningful, most of the time I make peace with the result as long as the mistake is not glaringly visible to my eyes or affecting the proportion of the jacket.

    one time I have vest with button on the ladies side, the maker offer me a full remake, he just sending me the wrong vest to test the size, but I told him it is OK no need for a remake just asked for a set of buttons in case I decided to fix it somewhat so I have a full set of hardware he happily send me 8 buttons (since I hate them losing money over perfectly fine vest just with wrong sided buttons that doesn't matter to me but I don't tell them that)

    I ordered a custom boots with full nubuck upper, but somehow the maker decided to play with contrasted textures between nubuck and roughout suede rather than just full nubuck as agreed upon... I immediately saw it, I understood his intention to make things less boring, although I prefer a full nubuck boots rather than a suede boots, I accepted it without even telling him anything, I never criticized him for it.

    I once ordered 2 pairs of corduroy chinos, even chatting the owner, to make sure it would be chino yet it came in the mail as 5 pockets jeans style, I accepted them, rated them 3 stars, I wear them happily but I never order anything more from them.

    I once order boots then on the photo they sent me before shipping I see the vamp is not symmetrical between the left and right boots, and ask for a remake, the order went cold, I waited for 1 year with no boots nor my money back, they finally remake them after I offer them a little extra money to lessen the cost 1/4 extra of the original price they quoted me the remake turned out fine. but then I openly criticized their service whenever someone ask from where I ordered my boots.

    my latest veg tan jacket has a spot near the collar with the hiccup stitches when it hits triple panels, not visible from the outside but really shown on the lapel side, but the jacket is so cool, and the hide is impossibly hard to work with, the lady who sew it when I collected the jacket mentioned she hurted her arm so much working on this leather so I never even mention it.

    on my side I also once totally misread an order and draw an illustration totally the wrong pose already colored, spent several days on it, I offered her a complete remake or I returned my payment full, I returned my payment and said sorry. I don't have problem if she would told her friends how incompetent I am, it's her right to do that and my own mistake not to read an order carefully.
     
  4. ton312

    ton312

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    100% yes. Anything else is unfair. Period and no further debate required.
     
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  5. Blackadder

    Blackadder Call Me a Cab

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    I agree with Navetsea and would even go further to say this about flaws (not mistake like a wrong hardware or wrong size):
    These are not automated machine made products that require rigorous QC. The machinist sewing the jacket or boots would obviously know he/she screwed up. If the seller send an email or an accompanying note stating the slight defects, letting the buyer decide on what to do then IMO the buyer should not go public before or after he decides to accept the flawed product or a remake or a refund. If the jacket is sent out as if it is perfect whether there is even a QC, then there is something wrong with the whole operation/corporate culture. To me, it would seem like the seller is gambling on the buyer not noticing or caring.
     
  6. Hh121

    Hh121 Call Me a Cab

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    Assuming the mfg admits the flaws.....
     
  7. Marc mndt

    Marc mndt Call Me a Cab

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    Is this a hugely elaborate way of suggesting @Carlos840 should have taken his complaints to DH, instead of publicly discussing them here?
     
  8. ton312

    ton312

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    I just caught up on that thread and wonder the same. Although I do stand by my first statement. I don’t believe it’s fair to air a grievance without giving the maker a shot at making it right. I also wouldn’t presume that an attempt at resolution hadn’t been made between the two parties before said flaws were brought to the public.
     
    Captain Sensible and Harris HTM like this.
  9. El Marro

    El Marro Call Me a Cab

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    I think one should definitely raise these issues with the manufacturer right away. I also thank it would be perfectly OK to write about the experience in real time right here.
    Most of us share info on jacket from the moment the order is placed, if not beforehand. We inform the forum when the jacket is en route, much excitement all around!
    Therefore I don’t see anything wrong with documenting any issues or concerns that one has upon receipt of the jacket. I do not think it is appropriate to badmouth nor denigrate the manufacturer at this time, rather I think one should wait and see how they respond to the problem. More often than not here we have seen that manufactures are apologetic and willing to correct any deficiencies or shortcomings. Sometimes the deficiency is a matter of perception, or a misunderstanding that might not be the manufacturers fault after all.
    As to whether or not this thread is a veiled shot at Carlos I don’t know, but I certainly hope not. I will go on the record saying that I think he is completely entitled to his opinions and I’m always eager to hear what he has to say when it comes to jackets
     
  10. erikb02809

    erikb02809 One of the Regulars

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    I think it's two separate topics that need to remain separate, regardless of the jacket owner's decision.
    Basically, we're looking at 1. talking about Quality Control, and 2. talking about Customer Service wrt fixing the quality control shortcoming.

    I'm not 100 percent sure where I stand on the first topic. If we're having a frank and open discussion about a manufacturer's QC (in general or on one's own purchase), or QC amongst different manufacturers, not discussing these sorts of flaws/problems out of a sense of loyalty or respect to the manufacturer doesn't sit will with me. As Navetsea pointed out, in the case of one's own jackets, the product has passed the manufacturer's QC and it's final. That ship has sailed, and the manufacturer has to own the public results of their customers' satisfaction with that.

    Giving the manufacturer a chance to fix it instead of publicly sharing the news is a nice courtesy for the customer to extend to the manufacturer, but not one that I think they're obligated to give. If anything, as a cynical 21st century consumer, to me it looks as much like leverage as it does a courtesy, e.g. "I really want this issue remedied. If you were so inclined to disregard my dissatisfaction with the QC given to the product you sent me, please keep in mind that I will air my dissatisfaction publicly, which will likely not have a positive effect on your sales."

    Looking back at jackets I've owned with issues that I've mentioned publicly or not, on the FL or elsewhere, I think I have a mixed record. And it's varied depending a number of factors, including severity of the problems, consistency of problems over a number of repeat purchases, and also the context I present those problems with when mentioned publicly. Am I highlighting just the issues, or am I presenting them along with what's good about the jacket too? "Hide was beautiful, fit spot on, but the stitching sucked."? Sharing these issues publicly can almost be influenced by what else is going on in my life. If everything else is super peachy and all sides of my bed are the "right" side when I get out of bed in the morning, I'm probably going to roll with the punches a bit more than if general circumstances have put me in a more critical disposition. It's not going to effect my perception of the QC issues, but might effect my inclination to take the time to talk about them.

    Lastly, in some cases, I've just given up. There's one manufacturer I've owned 3 jackets from that is super highly regarded here that I've had some rather disappointing repeated QC issues with, despite the many outstanding strong points the jackets I received from them possessed. I've accepted the fact that either I've been very unlucky or there's some "Emperor's New Clothes" stuff going with my fellow customers, but either way, on my most recent purchase from them that had some disappointing stitching, I accepted that that level of QC is apparently status quo for that brand and its consumers, so it's pointless to bring it up to either of them.

    Now on Topic 2, if you don't do anything about Topic 1, as a consumer, you can't really comment on the second. And when reading a fellow consumer's thoughts on Topic 1, I think it's super, super important to keep in mind that it's a distinctly different matter than Topic 2, when we're discussing the pros and cons of a manufacturer, whether they deserve the "hype," etc. Criticism or discussion of Topic 1 is limited to just Topic 1, and there are plenty of other significant factors (Topic 2 and more) that go toward what constitutes a brand's reputation and a potential customer's decision on whether to buy from them or not.

    If I'm deciding where to drop $1k to $2k on a jacket, in addition to other considerations, I'd like to know "okay, Brand A, sounds like I've got a 15 percent chance of getting a jacket with QC issues I won't be able to abide by, but a 100 percent chance that if that happens, the manufacturer will make it right, vs Brand B, where I've got a 99 percent chance that jacket will be perfect, but in that 1 percent chance where it's significantly not, they're probably going to tell me to get lost, vs Brand C where I've got maybe a 90 percent chance of getting a jacket I'm happy with, and if it's in that 10 percent where I wouldn't be, the 'fix' will probably be some sort of compromise that's better than nothing I guess", etc. etc.

    As a group of enthusiasts/consumers who take these things into consideration, where does one draw the line with extending a courtesy to the manufacturer, vs. sharing information with your fellow forum members that's important information to share? That's an individual judgment with plenty of room for differing opinions, but for me, I lean towards sharing the info with my fellow consumers, as long as it's presented in the appropriate context, i.e. "this was strictly a QC issue, not a customer service issue", if that's what the case may be. QC is QC, and no amount of good customer service is going to change the fact that bad QC happened. Just need to be clear that the opportunity to fix it with good customer service is a whole other thing.
     
  11. handymike

    handymike I'll Lock Up

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    What I find annoying is when members (often times “newer ones”) choose to post complaint threads either to shame the maker or force a resolution. We’ve seen that certain makers have great customer service while others don’t.
    I don’t mind a report of bad service or an awful experience if the poster has done the due diligence in trying to get the issue resolved beforehand.

    Edit: I also believe that what differentiates this forum from others is that we tend to approach these occurrences from a slightly “pulled back” or “more balanced and thoughtful” approach. While people tend to lash out on other boards, here we conduct these discussions with more decorum- even though the emotions may still be hot. This makes my whole experience more enjoyable. When I make a post that I re-read and find too snarky, I will often edit it or delete it. Sometimes I’m too late and someone has already quoted me...o_O
    I stay away from those more “negative” outlets. There are so many of them out there these days.
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2021
  12. Marc mndt

    Marc mndt Call Me a Cab

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    But what if you weren't knowledgeable enough to make a proper quality assessment at the time of receiving the jacket. After a while after having handled numerous jackets from different makers you come to the conclusion that your jacket wasn't what it should have been.

    Should you still raise the issues with the manufacturer, even though it has been years since you've received the jacket?
     
  13. Marc mndt

    Marc mndt Call Me a Cab

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    I agree on this. In the end it's the maker's responsibility to conduct proper QC.
     
  14. handymike

    handymike I'll Lock Up

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    I think that if you chose to pay a maker for a custom build that you’ve entered into a partnership. It seems that communication throughout the process is key to a happy result. Feedback once the jacket is received is part of that process, either good or bad. I’ve found the makers I’ve chosen to be amiable to the fixes I’ve requested.
    If it’s off the rack, then you should just ask for a different jacket.
    I think this should all be addressed in the first few days after receiving a product. If you decide to live with it, then it’s on you. Going back and complaining later is sour grapes IMO.
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2021
  15. red devil

    red devil Call Me a Cab

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    The key point is whether it is a flaw that was missed or something that is considered acceptable by the maker and sent anyway, or even worse sent while counting on the customer not to notice.

    Edited for clarity
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2021
  16. handymike

    handymike I'll Lock Up

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    Hopefully with the years of knowledge amassed here, we can save folks from wasting their cash on bad craftsmanship and shady characters that we’ve experienced.
    Members have done the legwork already.
     
    powerserge likes this.
  17. Carlos840

    Carlos840 My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    Pretty much what happened to me.
    When i received my Himel i instantly knew it wasn't perfect, but i bought into the whole "it was made by a human" BS, i bought into the hype...
    I had only handled about 10 leather jackets at that point, i now own around 50.
    I had just spent 2300$ on a super fancy jacket, i wanted to be happy with it.
    It's only with the years, the experience, owning better made jackets that i came to the conclusion that my Himel was worst than what i had originally thought. At some point that jacket stop being "A HIMEL" in my eyes, it just became a leather jacket, that i started to objectively analyse, that's when the flaws became more important than the story.

    I bought that jacket in early 2018, what do you want me to do?
    Contact Himel today and tell him "You remember that jacket you made me three years ago that i was happy about? Well i now think it's not as good as i thought it was and i never wear it, could you please remake it for me?"
    Add to that the fact that a remake would cost "someone" around 1000 dollars in shipping back and forth and customs.
    I personally am not ready to spend any money on having a remake, i doubt Himel will send me a shipping label to get it back, and then send the replacement with tax paid.... (if he does i won't say no though!)
    I didn't want to be that guy, IMO it is worst.

    I didn't contact Himel because i didn't really care or want a new jacket, i don't care about the Shinki hype anymore, i don't care about the Himel hype anymore, i enjoy the Chevalier visually, but i never wear it.
    I didn't want to start possible drama with Himel to get a new jacket, but i didn't feel like i had to lie about the "superior craftsmapship" either...
    After seeing all these "Himel is a genius" videos at some point i just thought "screw it" and decided to show the other side of the coin.

    In the end the way i see it a maker should never send out something he wouldn't want photographed or seen in public.
    Dave saw this jacket, inspected it and though "yes, this is good enough to bear my name".
    The second he does that i shouldn't feel any shame to publicly show what he sent me.

    Imagine a client comes to me asking me to put a bass line on a song, i take his money, record the track with mistakes in it think "meeh, he won't notice", send it to him.
    He puts the track online, everybody hears my mistakes, people complain that "this bass player dude sends track with mistakes on them to people"
    Should i get angry at the guy for putting my mistakes online? Or should i have sent him a track with no mistakes?
    IMO the second i send the track i am ready for the world to hear it, same thing with a leather jacket, the second the maker ships it he should be ready for pics of it to end up on the cover of Vogue Magazine.
     
  18. handymike

    handymike I'll Lock Up

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    I personally believe that if the jacket causes you grief, it’s best to move it on. It will probably bring joy to someone else.
     
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  19. JMax

    JMax I'll Lock Up

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    We’ve talked a bit about being a musician, but how you further monetize your skill set is interesting to me. So you create bass lines for other folks to use? It makes sense, but not an avenue I had considered. In my line of work, there are many ways to monetize my experiences and training. It’s cool to see how other professions do it. We can take this back to messaging if you prefer and to not hijack the thread.

    It’s funny, but I am much more accommodating with minor jacket flaws than I would ever be with my work product. I have to be perfect and on point all the time. No mistakes. I have some theories on why that is that I won’t share here, but I do realize it is an odd way for me to go about it. In the end, it’s your profession, get it right, no?
     
  20. Carlos840

    Carlos840 My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    It doesn't cause me grief, i enjoy it for what it is to me, great wall art.
    It's a beautiful design, made from beautiful leather, i just don't get enjoyment from wearing it.
    But it is currently one of the three jackets that i have at the front of the rails so that i can see it everytime i go up or down the stairs. I really enjoy having it, just not using it as a jacket... (weird i know)
     

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