October 31st, 2005

Is The Customer Always Right?
By James Castwell

Well, is he? That idea got started many years ago and is even thought by some to be part of our 'Bill of Rights.' Sorry, it's not in there. The history of this idea may be interesting though. Once upon a time... things were not as they are today. Well of course not, duh. Nothing was. Everything changes. Even greed. It not only changes, it grows. Let me explain.

At one time a workman had pride in his products. He better, if it was junk he soon starved. You bet, his stuff was good. And stayed that way for a long time too. In fact so long he could offer a bit of a 'guarantee' on his products. And did that too. Time moved on and more things changed. Things started showing up here from other countries. We were suspicious as we did not know the name of the folks who made the stuff. Doubt crept in. Words like 'off shore' and 'overseas' started to do their damaging dance in our society.

About this time someone figured out that 'he' was not responsible. Nope. Not for anything. He didn't do it, wasn't there and will never do it again. PC snuck into our language by the back door. It is still doing it's job of putting the blame on the other guy. There is a term in law called "SODDI." It is a defense strategy which claims that, 'Some Other Dude Did It." Cute huh? Not a joke, it's real. Somehow we have let our wonderful country slip into a paralysis of non-guilt. We didn't do it. Even worse now is this.

He did it. Or you did it. Not only was it not me, I am not to blame, but now it is extended to include you. You must have done it, YOU are the guilty one. It is your fault that I am the way I am. My condition is because of you. You have too much money, I do not have enough. Somehow that's your fault. All of your 'people' did bad things to all of my 'people,'and you and your people now owe me. Not only did I not do it, you did it and now, you need to fix me because it is your fault. You are to blame for my condition. Full Circle. I didn't do it. You did it. It is your fault. Now you fix me.

So, now 'lets bring it home.' I buy a fly rod. It is for fishing. It breaks (notice I did not day 'I' broke it, or I broke it while fishing, or it broke while I was fishing with it) and therefore must be defective. It was designed and fabricated for fishing and 'IT' broke while doing so. No other reason, defective. And, remember, I am not responsible. It is guaranteed for life. (Mine I guess) Anyway, I am the customer, 'IT' is broke, it must be defective, and it is guaranteed. Fix it. I am entitled. The guarantee did not spell out any exclusions, covered everything.

How did our fly rod companies ever get forced into this untenable situation? If they stay in business it will be a miracle. Why does a new guy just getting into fly fishing even think that the delicate rod he just bought is unbreakable? It is a fly rod, not an Ugly Stik. Right, he doesn't know it will. But, he could care less.

Some company just give a full guarantee. Stupid. When in the future we all take a ethical attitude on products we purchase and do not expect them to hold up to unreasonable violence will we ever again return to the days of high quality and reasonable prices. Who is responsible for the higher prices? You are. You and your demanding a full guarantee on everything.

I hope we do not lose any sponsors by me writing this. I mean them no harm, but I suppose it could happen. I am proud of them, all of them and many makers out there who are not yet on line here with us. Someday I would like to be able to showcase them too. Until then, buy from whoever you like, expect quality if you are paying for it, but be reasonable too. Is the customer always right? He will be if he understands that a good product is designed and produced for the job for which it is intended. If he thinks that all products are anvil's he will not be right, ever. It looks like many manufacturers are trying to swing the guarantee around to more like what it was, I hope they make it...in time. ~ JC

Till next week, remember . . .

Keepest Thynne Baakast Upeth

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