Above And Beyond: Eddie Bauer Won't Leave You Out In The Rain

An Eddie Bauer in downtown State College, Pennsylvania replaced Anne’s pricey old umbrella without any charge or hassle. Anne purchased the umbrella several years ago, and was assured Eddie Bauer would “take care of it” if anything went wrong. In accordance with Murphy’s law, the umbrella broke one rainy day.

When I get to the desk, I proffer it and say that it’s broken, and that I was told that they’d deal with it, but I don’t know if that means that they’ll fix it, or send a replacement, or what. The girl checks with her manager, who’s standing right next to her, but is on the phone. The manager interrupts her phone call to tell me to go pick out another one. They don’t even look at it to see if it’s actually broken.

I do so and bring it back to the counter. Exact same model; the only one left. The person helping me again checks with the manager, who again interrupts her phone call (it sounded like she was calling corporate). She tells her staff person to just snip off the tag and they’ll do the return later. The girl snips off the tag and hands me the umbrella. I leave the store, new umbrella in hand.

We love easy exchanges almost as much as we hate the rain.

Anne’s email, inside…


File this one under the “happy customer” heading.

A few years ago, I bought an Eddie Bauer umbrella. It seemed a bit pricey to me for an umbrella, but what sold me was the staff member pointing out that if anything goes wrong with it, they’ll take care of it. I don’t remember the exact wording, but that was the gist of it.

Yesterday (a very rainy day here) I note that it had stopped expanding all the way, and figure out that it had lost a screw somehow. I happen to be near the store I bought it in, so I stop by.

When I get to the desk, I proffer it and say that it’s broken, and that I was told that they’d deal with it, but I don’t know if that means that they’ll fix it, or send a replacement, or what. The girl checks with her manager, who’s standing right next to her, but is on the phone. The manager interrupts her phone call to tell me to go pick out another one. They don’t even look at it to see if it’s actually broken.

I do so and bring it back to the counter. Exact same model; the only one left. The person helping me again checks with the manager, who again interrupts her phone call (it sounded like she was calling corporate). She tells her staff person to just snip off the tag and they’ll do the return later. The girl snips off the tag and hands me the umbrella. I leave the store, new umbrella in hand.

In and out in less than five minutes. Probably less than three. I’ve got a brand new umbrella, everything’s taken care of, and I’m a happy customer. Now that, my friends, is how a company earns brand loyalty. That’s how to do it right.

Though the manager may have been distracted, we’re still impressed by the hassle-free exchange. Well done, Eddie Bauer. — CAREY GREENBERG-BERGER