"Do you hear that sound? That's your yarn...it's crying"~ Magenta Sequins

Thursday, July 28, 2011

a Bad Romance

I fear I’m a bad relationship and don’t know how to get out. Worse, I don’t know if I want to get out. No, it’s not CawfeeMate, you boob; the man’s a friggin saint.

It’s my knitting needle dealer.

back in march I started thinking about purchasing a set of “interchangeable circular needles”, in an attempt to consolidate my ever-growing collection of circs. So after some research (read: listening to the gossip/chatter on the various Ravelry message boards I read), some advice from the experience knitters I know, and seeing a really pretty web ad, I found a set that looked promising from a little mom & pop company. Rather than purchase them sight unseen, I opted to buy a set of their double-pointed needles (DPNS) as sort of a trial*. I was about to start CawfeeMate’s second Java Sock and we had our trip to Arizona coming, so I figured the timing was perfect for a new set of DPNS; a plane ride is a great time to knit; and, really, how long could it take to get a set of knitting needles? So, I found a color I liked (“Winter Sky”), placed the order about 2 weeks before we left, and since the website didn’t specify a shipping time, I called the company to see if it’d be possible to expedite the request. The owner explained that shipping usually took about 3 or 4 weeks, since the needles we, basically, custom made, but he’d see what he could do based on the circumstances. Satisfied, I waited, expectantly.

And waited.
And waited.

Arizona came and went and so did the “usual” 4 weeks it takes them to ship; So I e-mailed the company for a status, only to learn that they were behind in their shipping due to illness (this is a very small company, apparently; truly mom & pop run) and the incredibly atrocious weather which hit every state (they’re in Vermont) this past winter, but I’d have them in about a week. 2 weeks later, still nothing. After a volley of e-mails, it appeared that they’d been lost in the mail; a new set would be sent, post-haste, and a tracking number would be sent via e-mail. I was understandably perturbed.

Three months after my order, I finally got them (without so much as a "Sorry about the delay" note) and they were are the best needles I’ve used. The material** feels great in my hands, the tips are nice and sharp, and the body smooth and straight; visually they’re beautiful. Around this time (late April, early May), CawfeeMate began asking about my birthday, so I told him I wanted a set of their interchangeable circulars; i figured the shipping problems were a fluke. Following the same logic, I ordered another set of DPNS for myself, in other sizes.

Long story short: just shy of two months later, I got the needles I ordered, but only after a volley of e-mails with the owner. Again, there were circumstances which prevented the shipment of the needles in a timely fashion; understandable personal problems, to be sure, but irrelevant from a service provider/consumer perspective. The circs arrived***, last week, almost three months after CawfeeMate ordered them, and he experienced similar communications with the owners of the company which ended with him alluding to legal action.

now, i find myself in a quandary: I absolutely love their product, but get nothing but agita from ordering with the company. They're almost unapologetic about their bad shipping and give the impression that this is just how their business operates.  I've never stood for this level of poor customer service and, in the past, i would've turned my back on a business for such behavior, and found a different outlet for the service. But this is different. There’s no other company out there that makes a product this fine; plus, I’ve started a set that I’m desperate to complete****.

Do I continue to order from them, until the set is complete or just move on?

*My logic was that the Ravelry gossip, about the construction of their interchangeable circs, was very positive; so if I liked the material of the DPNS I’d be sold on them.
** a laminated white birch
*** I’ve yet to use them on a project, but they’re everything I could hope for and more; they're gorgeous.
****there are still sizes of DPNS i don't have and they're about to start selling additional sizes in the interchangeable circ tips...

1 comment:

Magenta said...

I refuse to believe that this is the best product out there - quality wise. I am sure you can find something you like as much or more from a company that also provides excellent service. I think it's ridiculous to keep giving them your money.

I am equally thrilled and pleased with my interchangeables. They are from Knit Picks. They have many materials, they're beautiful, and they are super responsive. There are hundreds of other companies out there just waiting to please you.

I understand you're stuck on these. And I'm sure they are the bees knees and more. But in addition to not providing service, aggravating you and your wonderful husband to no end, I wouldn't count on these people remaining in business for very long with this kind of track record.

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