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  1. #76
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    Quote Originally Posted by kieri View Post
    I'm going to go in the opposite direction - I think more companies should charge for shipping. I think free shipping given us more opportunity for impulse purchases, but it's also definitely killing the planet and makes us lazier and more entitled (and I say this as someone who once ordered paper towels on Amazon Prime because it was rainy and I didn't feel like walking to the store). If you want that Snake Charmer badly enough, and nothing else you want is in stock, just pay the ten bucks for a product handmade in the US by a company dedicated to sustainable practices.

    Obviously, it sucks if you need to pay for international shipping and can't get the items you want queued up for one shipment. But there are forwarding services and swaps and other types of transactions that might apply there.
    Broadly I agree that environmental sustainability is important, but in this instance it's pretty unfortunate that the deterrent effect of shipping charges falls most heavily on those living outside of North America. Honestly, having to 1) pay US$65 to have a copilot shipped directly to you ($30 for a small shop bag) or 2) take a gamble with freight forwarding services that tend to be unreliable, expensive, and/or only cost-effective if you buy lots of stuff sucks. I live in Australia, where the retail prices of products (physical and electronic!) are consistently up to 50-60% higher than the rest of the world, simply because companies know we're geographically isolated and have little choice but to cough up.

    For me, a consideration of my footprint comes at the point where I'm considering whether or not to make the purchase to begin with (e.g. "I shouldn't get two OPs in different materials to use for the same purpose just because I like having options").
    Last edited by rbc3585; 07-15-2017 at 06:48 PM.

  2. #77
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    Quote Originally Posted by RichardMcG View Post
    One of the other things is the customer service. It is easy to say you would give up some customer service in order to have better support in other areas. However, that is just until you need customer service in some way. Don't discount the superior level of their service. They have not always had the answer I wanted to hear - but they are always polite and as helpful as can be, taking care to go beyond what is required. That is something all too rare today. I would not trade that for an upgrade in any other area.

    I've got a few Bihn bags because I could buy them in the colors I wanted but I would have a lot more. I waited months for one I could get a high probability would be available, but others I just got the, "we might make that. or we might not. maybe." And frankly I just get fatigued with that bad experience and give up.

    Imagine going to restaurant and only being served what the chef wanted to serve you that day - that's fun once, maybe twice, but the vast majority of people won't go back. In fact, this is the whole basis of a skit on Seinfeld about a soup vendor. So, in a sense, Tom Bihn's business model is kind of like that: do what we tell you or no bags for you.

    Again, I know they don't intend this, but Tom Bihn needs to know what the customer experience is because they're not customers like we are - they may not be aware. For some of us that's why there are threads like this, and that's why there are multiple people with a similar complaint.

    And consider that for a moment: the people on the forum with this complaint are TOM'S MOST ENGAGED CUSTOMERS! We are people who've taken the time to join this forum and type this up.

    So I would absolutely discount their great customer service to zero, because I can't use it on bags I didn't buy.
    Last edited by GrussGott; 07-16-2017 at 12:43 AM.

  3. #78
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    Quote Originally Posted by kieri View Post
    I'm going to go in the opposite direction - I think more companies should charge for shipping. I think free shipping given us more opportunity for impulse purchases, but it's also definitely killing the planet and makes us lazier and more entitled (and I say this as someone who once ordered paper towels on Amazon Prime because it was rainy and I didn't feel like walking to the store). If you want that Snake Charmer badly enough, and nothing else you want is in stock, just pay the ten bucks for a product handmade in the US by a company dedicated to sustainable practices.

    Obviously, it sucks if you need to pay for international shipping and can't get the items you want queued up for one shipment. But there are forwarding services and swaps and other types of transactions that might apply there.
    I don't think there should be free shipping - however I disagree about just paying the $10 because I want it "badly enough".

    It's not about the $10, really, its about having 6 different shipments. So, even though I'm paying for it, I'm still killing the planet. Right now, because I don't want to kill the planet OR pay $60 in shipping charges, I am purchasing nothing even though I want to buy a maybe $200 worth of stuff...but unfortunately they aren't all in stock for the moment for me to purchase together.

  4. #79
    Forum Member haraya's Avatar
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    I'd love it if there was a single company that solved all my clothing needs (e.g. cool, classic formalwear made out of superfine, breathable, eco-friendly material, with pockets; + active wear which transitions to leisure wear and is precisely tailored to flatter my body type and measurements; + costumes for Halloween and theme parties which are made out of sustainable material and are recyclable or adaptable to fill several years' worth of events). Though I don't think I'd want them to make everything all at once because my pocketbook couldn't take that big a hit all at once.

    {GG}
    So I would absolutely discount their great customer service to zero, because I can't use it on bags I didn't buy.
    {snayak}
    Right now, because I don't want to kill the planet OR pay $60 in shipping charges, I am purchasing nothing even though I want to buy maybe $200 worth of stuff...but unfortunately they aren't all in stock for the moment for me to purchase together.
    But there isn't a single apparel company that does all that. Even the brands I favor don't address all my wants/needs in a single season. I don't get mad at Athleta, for instance, just because this summer they haven't offered me the exact dress and shorts that I want (maybe the wrong length, or colors that don't look good on me). I wait to see what they offer next season, or next year. I might go down the street to see what Lulu carries, even though their stuff never fits me right.

    I wouldn't call that bad customer service. That's what they've chosen to sell. I do post reviews sometimes on Athleta's page, in hopes that they'll implement the tweaks I'm suggesting for next season. Sometimes the changes I want show up, and I'm not sure if it's because of something I posted, but I'll happily buy that item if it works for me. I do tell them if an item of clothing falls apart too soon (like the top that ripped the second time I wore it), and so far they've fixed things for me.

    Then, too, I can't think of a bag manufacturer - other than perhaps a bespoke shop, and even then you'd have to wait for however long it takes to produce your custom order - that offers all its colors all the time. That would seem to lead to a whole lot of stale inventory. Travel bags tend to be durable, or they should be. I don't buy a new suitcase every season. I don't follow Patagonia or The North Face (do they have customer forums?) but I'm pretty sure they introduce a few new colors and new styles every season. If you missed the bright purple softshell in the spring - better hope they bring back that colorway, or try to snag it from an outlet.

    {GG}
    Tom Bihn's business model is kind of like that: do what we tell you or no bags for you.
    In what way are TB telling customers how to behave? As far as I know they don't screen customers when they're taking orders. It's the same shopping cart for everyone. You put a bag in and pay for it. Or you don't, and go elsewhere.

    There is a Scottish company I like that produces beautiful fabric. I love their stuff, but it's expensive to have it shipped to the US. It's not worth it for me to return anything - if I buy it, pretty much I hang on to it, or resell it locally. If they have a sale two days after my order shipped, or if they introduce something new that I love - I have to pay for shipping again. I'm not mad at them. I don't fuss that they have poor customer service. (I would if they never answered my e-mails, or shipped me something I didn't order, but that hasn't been my experience thus far.)

    {GG}
    Imagine going to a restaurant and only being served what the chef wanted to serve you that day - that's fun once, maybe twice, but the vast majority of people won't go back.
    There are restaurants like this. They have tasting menus, or they are trendy pop-up places with long lines, and/or they are very high-end places that are prix-fixe and hard to get into (e.g. The French Laundry, which has been operating under Thomas Keller since 1994). I'm not saying that's TB's business model, but it IS possible to make money with such a strategy.

    So yes, I see that several people on this thread take issue with the TB model, but I'm not sure why it's "disingenuous" or poor service on TB's part.
    Last edited by haraya; 07-16-2017 at 06:54 PM.

  5. #80
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    Quote Originally Posted by haraya View Post

    There is a Scottish company I like that produces beautiful fabric. I love their stuff, but it's expensive to have it shipped to the US.
    Sorry to go OT, but do you mind sharing a link to this company?

  6. #81
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    Production / Stock Issues

    Quote Originally Posted by Selykg View Post
    This thread has gotten a lot of views, and you now see that there are more frustrated people than just one person. Hopefully you'll look at this and find ways to improve. Ultimately that was what I wanted.
    Views aren't votes. I vote with my wallet. When it comes to TB my strategy is usually vote early and vote often based on the amount of stuff I've bought in the last year alone. Every bag I've bought is black and I haven't had to wait longer than a month for anything.
    Last edited by TRD; 07-16-2017 at 11:34 PM.
    Dana

  7. #82
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    Quote Originally Posted by haraya View Post
    But there isn't a single apparel company that does all that. Even the brands I favor don't address all my wants/needs in a single season. I don't get mad at Athleta, for instance, just because this summer they haven't offered me the exact dress and shorts that I want (maybe the wrong length, or colors that don't look good on me). I wait to see what they offer next season, or next year. I might go down the street to see what Lulu carries, even though their stuff never fits me right.

    I wouldn't call that bad customer service. That's what they've chosen to sell. I do post reviews sometimes on Athleta's page, in hopes that they'll implement the tweaks I'm suggesting for next season. Sometimes the changes I want show up, and I'm not sure if it's because of something I posted, but I'll happily buy that item if it works for me. I do tell them if an item of clothing falls apart too soon (like the top that ripped the second time I wore it), and so far they've fixed things for me.

    Then, too, I can't think of a bag manufacturer - other than perhaps a bespoke shop, and even then you'd have to wait for however long it takes to produce your custom order - that offers all its colors all the time. That would seem to lead to a whole lot of stale inventory. Travel bags tend to be durable, or they should be. I don't buy a new suitcase every season. I don't follow Patagonia or The North Face (do they have customer forums?) but I'm pretty sure they introduce a few new colors and new styles every season. If you missed the bright purple softshell in the spring - better hope they bring back that colorway, or try to snag it from an outlet.
    I probably did not directly state it in my previous posts: I think TB customer service is awesome. It is certainly not bad by any stretch of the imagination.

    I am not advocating for any custom or bespoke bags in whatever color I want, or that they custom make each order as it comes in. I am certainly not trying to suggest any modifications to the bags they are manufacturing.

    Basically, what I think would be cool is adding something similar to Amazon where there is a check box "ship all my items together" or "ship my items as they come available". I'll place my entire order, pay in advance, and pay for shipping.

  8. #83
    Forum Member Dulcimergal's Avatar
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    There is a LOT to read on this thread, and I have tried to read most of it before posting a reply, and will keep this as brief as possible.

    I own a few TB bags (I have yet to purchase anything larger than the Sidekick), and I love the quality and the customer service. I have been fortunate to not have to wait more than two or three weeks for a delivery, but I know the day is coming when I will have to wait on future orders. I do not have a problem with that. Tom Bihn is obviously quite dedicated to the quality of the products he sells, and to the people who work in the Bihn factory. Some folks need to keep in mind that 43 employees do not an overly large factory make, and their working space is at a premium, I would assume. This means that they have no huge space to store all orders which would be in the process of being filled (giving all the Bihnions who exist in the world), if Tom were to go to the pre-order method which some of you would like to take advantage of. It would mean there would be a ton of bags sitting in the wings, waiting for their siblings to be made so they could all travel to their new homes together. Granted, a lot of us (me, included) are spoiled by order-and-get-it-in-less-than-a-week businesses, but the quality is usually not as good. Also, this means that there is not a lot of space to keep a high volume of bags in stock, waiting for people to order them. They may still not have enough of certain colors to go around, and someone might still have to wait a few weeks for a shipment of those colors to come in to the factory. Granted, perhaps keeping some of the black and blue bags on hand would help some of us, but is it fair to the people who don't want black or blue? Just a thought. Personally, I do not mind the wait. I know TB quality is good and anything I purchase will last for many years, which saves money in the long run. I am a person who tries to plan ahead as much as possible, so when I decide on which larger bags I want, I will be ordering them long before I have a need for them. In the meantime, I can always buy a cheap bag to make do until my Bihn bags arrive.
    Smile! People will wonder what you're up to!

  9. #84
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    The OP mentioned 3 week timeframe. In 3 weeks I bet he could track down an interim eBay one or a swapsie one or one that was returned to the shop. I love new things so perhaps used isn't an option and I understand that. But give TB customer service a call
    Last edited by bijoux; 07-17-2017 at 08:32 AM.

  10. #85
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    Coming from someone who owns boots to a similar quality of TB bags-brands such as Alden, Canada West, Enzo Bonafe, and Truman-the wait times are much, much less. Yeah, if I don't have the option to order the color I want it sucks. Sometimes I have scoured eBay or Craigslist or whatever to find what I want, and often I am unsuccessful. Is that a knock on TB? Not at all. Whatever their business model is, it's working. They do not seem to be hurting for business, and I love the personal connections made between the workers and customers. I cannot think of another company where I can be as vocal or active about the products with other customers as I can with TB, and that's why I keep coming back whether I have to wait or not.

    And yes, sometimes I've had to make do with a different Bag because TB wasn't offering what I wanted at the time. Darn. Such is life and at the end of the day, I appreciated the thoughtfulness of my TB bags even more.

    As to the ship it all or ship it by piece, I believe that used to be an option when they still had preorders and such before the notify me occurred. I agree that would be nice to see again.
    Steel/Solar A45/French Blue BB/Navy Snake Charmer/Coyote DLBC/ Iberian TT

  11. #86
    Forum Member haraya's Avatar
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    It's oschaslings.com. Fair warning, they make cloth designed for babywearing. I use mine as shawls, now that my babies are all big!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Cristina View Post
    Sorry to go OT, but do you mind sharing a link to this company?

  12. #87
    Forum Member haraya's Avatar
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    TB used to have something where you could hold things for a short period. I forget what the current policy is now. But I can see why it could turn into a logistical hassle - you'd have to have a whole separate tracking system for items ordered but still pending. Where would you store them? Do you charge a holding fee, after a certain period? What's the cutoff - if the item you want is backordered more than three weeks, then you have to place a separate order? Ultimately I as a consumer want TB to focus on designing and making bags, not optimizing shipping and handling. There are other companies that do that.

    Basically, what I think would be cool is adding something similar to Amazon where there is a check box "ship all my items together" or "ship my items as they come available". I'll place my entire order, pay in advance, and pay for shipping.

  13. #88
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    Quote Originally Posted by haraya View Post
    It's oschaslings.com. Fair warning, they make cloth designed for babywearing. I use mine as shawls, now that my babies are all big!!
    Thanks! What beautiful shawls, and so many blue-green ones, my favourite color. Thankfully I don't get along with ring slings or I would be in major trouble. Now I am only in a little trouble because I do like scarves...

  14. #89
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    Quote Originally Posted by snayak View Post
    However, the shipping charges for each order makes it impractical to order items you want as they come in stock. If you want an A45, Snake Charmer, some Cubelets, and Aether Packing Cubes it would be nice to 1) get the colors you want and 2) get them shipped in 1 box. Unfortunately, this is often not possible because of the rolling release of items in desired colorways. Sometimes you have to compromise, I agree, but for a $60 (up to $300+) bag I'd prefer to get what I want.

    For now, our options are basically to wait until the stars align and we can order everything we want in 1 shipment (at least, that is my option in Boston, I'd imagine it's different if you can just head to the store and pick them up) or order less stuff more frequently, or order nothing at all.
    Welcome to the decision-making process of an international Tom Bihn customer! Well, speaking for myself at least. I've always tried to maximise the shipping cost of an order, whilst also trying to stay below our tax free import threshold.

    Is it ideal? No. Did I miss out on some items with limited edition colours? Yes, because I couldn't justify the shipping costs for the small order and/or another item I had on my wish list for a long time wasn't available in the colour I wanted. Did I have to get a colour/fabric combo that wasn't my first preference? Yes in some cases. Would I buy more if there was a hold option to get the items in the colours I want? Probably. Is it going to prevent me from recommending the brand/product? Not at all. Everyone's perception of value/priority is different, for example - colour may be more important than getting the item in time to use for a trip or vice versa.

  15. #90
    Forum Member haraya's Avatar
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    You saw they make wraps and buckle carriers too, yes? And Céo scarves (a lighter material, not wrap weight). They are very addictive...

    Quote Originally Posted by Cristina View Post
    Thanks! What beautiful shawls, and so many blue-green ones, my favourite color. Thankfully I don't get along with ring slings or I would be in major trouble. Now I am only in a little trouble because I do like scarves...

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