Once upon a time I bought a Tilley hat. It was a favourite piece of summer equipment and saw much use.
Many years later, and after not a little hair loss, I gave up full time employment and took a stroll across the Pyrenees. The sun shone for most of the journey and the trusty Tilley hat saw more or less continuous deployment.
The brim separated from the rest of the hat. It wore out.
One reason for purchasing such a hat is its ‘Lifetime Guarantee’. I’d survived the journey home, so a while later I took the remnants of the old hat to Mr Field and Mrs Trek, who had a shop at that time across the road from work.
“It’s worn out” I was told.
”But what about the Lifetime Guarantee?”
”Have you a receipt?”
”No, it’s ancient.”
”Yes, it’s worn out.”
”But it has a Lifetime Guarantee!”
[Humour him, he’s a good customer!]
”OK, we’ll send it back and see what happens.”
”Fine, I’m sure they’ll honour their obligation.”
”I wouldn’t count on that…” [gravely doubtful]…
…a few days later…
”Sir, your new hat has arrived!”
That was back in late 2004. Now it hasn’t helped that I’ve not worked much since then, and I’ve subjected my friend – the new hat – pictured below – to a fair bit of use.
Sadly, this new hat had lasted only five years. It was well and truly worn out (there were bigger holes around the back).
So a couple of weeks ago, as I passed through town, I ventured into Mr Brigham’s emporium, Mr Field and Mrs Trek having withdrawn from the rigours of retailing in the north of England.
“We would love to help, but we stock Royal Robbins”
fumbles with computer
”I see the nearest stockists of Tilley hats are Nevisport and Cotswold.”
I thanked them for their help and strolled a few metres to Mr Nevisport’s rather less opulent emporium.
”It’s a Tilley hat. I think you’ll find it has a Lifetime Guarantee.”
”No, have you never heard of Tilley hats?”
”No.” [blank look – was I from ‘Zog’?]
”I believe you are stockists, but never mind.”
On I trudged to Emperor Cotswold’s shiny new shop, on the same day that Alan defeated them with his questions about waterproof socks.
”It’s a Tilley hat” I explained to the ground floor staff.
”Yes, we can see that; you need to go downstairs.”
I was by now a little weary, so downstairs I simply placed the old hat on the counter and waited for a response.
It came immediately.
”Good morning, come this way…ah..the old one is” (searches for labels) “a T3 size 7. You are in luck.” Hands me a new hat.
”Don’t you need to send it back?”
“Yes, but it has a Lifetime Guarantee, and it’s worn out, so you are entitled to a new one. We’ll get a credit from Tilley. Enjoy your new hat.”
So, thanks again to the helpful staff in Cotswold (luckily I am not a ‘Niche walker’), for their excellent service in providing me with this nice new hat.
I wonder how long this one will last.
I may never know…!