OK you won’t often hear me rant about companies. Beth has to listen to me, so she has her own cloud! So apologies before I get started with this rant. I am going to rant about two companies. Two companies with two different business focus. One is marine related (so is relevant to the focus of this Blog) and the other is home entertainment. Both of these companies were held in high esteem by me and I have spent significant sums of $$ over the years with these two businesses. However now I look long and hard for alternatives and for one of the companies I have the best alternative and for the other I’m still looking at options.
So let’s talk about the first company. This would be the national boating supply store chain Worst Marine, I mean West Marine. I have complained about them previously in this blog but thing have gone from bad to crappy to downright lost their way….. On the great blog The Marine Installer’s Rant http://themarineinstallersrant.blogspot.com/2015/04/west-clothing-lifestyle-bluethooth.html. Bill Bishop does a very good commentary about the changes. If you want the details I cannot do this as well as Bill did. But I will say that when I made my most recent reluctant visit to West Marine I can confirm that this once great boating supply store has gone off the rails. They use to be a real boating supply store with competitive pricing and a knowledgeable staff and all the needed boating stuff. Now they are a clothing and lifestyle store with boating supplies relegated to the back of the store and airhead blondes (male and female) selling clothing, and if you ask about boat supplies like where do I find the overpriced 5200 sealant they look at you like you have two heads. Oh their idea of being helpful is to tell you to look in the catalog and they will order it for you. I did not go into the store to order it from a catalogue I wanted it now. If I was going to place an order I would do it with Defender Marine Supply. This is a company that knows boating and ships to me in 24 hours or less! They do have a real store with real boating supplies, exceptionally knowledgeable staff, but they are about an hour and a half drive away from here. So I decided to go to West Marine to get something as common 5200 adhesive sealant. So to compare prices one ounce of 5200 cost $8.95 at Defender and $10.99 at West Marine. Plus shipping from both companies and state tax at West Marine. Well I did finally find it at the store and ponyed up the $11.00 plus tax and left, never to return. In the future I’ll wait the day it takes for Defender to ship it to me from now on! I could go on for another 120000 words but all I say is beware of Worst Marine unless you’re looking for an overpriced Aloha shirt made in east nowhere and some non-essential boat footwear to look good at the yacht club. Then they are the place to go. Don’t go there for any real boating supplies as they will tell you to order it and then charge you too much. OK what really makes me angry is that when I bought my first boat an O’Day 30 sailboat that I named Ursa Major they were the real place to go! Now……..
Second Company…. Bose Corporation based here in Beautiful New England.. But now manufactures most of their products in China. This was the company to go to for your high end audio equipment. For years they were it! IMHO they were equal to or better than B&O in sound reproduction. I lusted for a pair of their 901’s speakers as these were the ultimate stereo speakers. When they invented the small jewel cube systems the sound quality was and still is right up there with the best. As time went on and jobs improved I was able to buy some of their top end audio equipment and we still have it. Still love it. Watching a movie is better than any digital cinema! So why am I down on Bose you ask?? Well let me tell you one of about 5 reasons. Bose manufactures a product called the QC15 headphones. These are a noise canceling headphone. Take any international long range flight and you will see most of the folks in business class wearing them. Also me in coach I have them too. They are a great product and the latest version still gets the best marks for noise cancellation and sound reproduction. On a flight of 12 hours or more they are a life saver. If you have the screaming kid behind you these make the flight bearable! If you just turn on the noise cancelation and do not play music it is reasonably quiet for sleeping. I love them! OK here is the rub. I’m on my second “new and improved” pair. The first pair after a few years and several thousands of international business and personal travel miles the “leather” ear pads started to disintegrate and leave the dreaded black dandruff on my head and shirt from the “leather” flaking off. Bose remedy, up-sell with the sales promise that the ear pads were better and would not fail again. So I gave the new ones a try. Also we bought Beth a pair. So the first set was $299.99. The new and improved model was an additional $100.00. Wow you say $400.00 for headphones. Were they worth it? In a word YES. But after traveling with them many 10’s of thousands of miles they failed in the same way the first pair did. I was not going to pay again for a poor design of the ear pads. So I contacted Bose to see if they had a replacement ear pads. Basically they told me no. Their new headphones have replaceable ear pads but…. Only option was to replace the entire headphones for an additional $399.00. NOT! So off to the interweb. My search eventually turned up several replacement ear pads that did not exist according to Bose from around $14.00. Difficulty to repair. Very easy (more in a few lines). However the issue here was Bose piss poor responsiveness. This also was a great company, that use to be very responsive to their customers. Not anymore. It’s all about profits; however like West Marine they miss the point. If you don’t support your end customers you lose them.. hmm then without you loyal customers what happens to your profits? Those of you who know me realize that I have spent the last 36 years working as a quality professional with increasing responsibilities at several global companies and have seen what happens to company who follow this path when working with your customers. I also understand what it means to be a top level customer responsive company with high level quality support and products. Last comment on Bose is that the example given in only one area of recent disappointment . So next time I am upgrading my audio equipment and I have a ton of it (sorry Beth 🙂 ) it won’t be with Bose.
In closing the replacement ear pads were just $25.00 (not $400.00 replacement headphones) are more comfortable than the original pads and the customer support from the company who sold them to me was great. They have instructional Video on how to replace the ear pads (although not very well produced it is still) that is good and helpful. Best of all it takes longer to watch the actual how-to video than to actually make the fix. This company gets the thumbs up it is Head Case Audio!
End of Rant!