Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019

Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019
On the Archduke's Path in Mallorca

Monday 1 March 2010

A Tale of Three Tilleys

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.

A five year old Tilley Hat

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So a couple of weeks ago, as I passed through town, I ventured into Mr Brigham’s emporium, Mr Field and Mrs Trek having withdrawn from the rigours of retailing in the north of England.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.

“What’s that?”
”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.” 
“Thank you.”

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.

My new Tilley Hat

I wonder how long this one will last.

I may never know…!


AlanR said...

I too have found that when i have needed help with something or other that the Cotswold people seem to go the extra mile.
Not that other similar retailers are bad, its just a different experience going to them.
When i bought my GPS i was unfamiliar with the options and needed help to understand what was what.
I asked a guy at Cotswold and even though i said i wasn't going to buy there and then he still spent at least 45 mins with me explaining the technicalities of different makes and models.
He even went to the trouble of loading a PC with software so that i could see the mapping qualities.
Who else would do this, on spec. knowing full well that a sale was not going to happen that day.
Long may they keep up this standard of service i say.

Unknown said...

A very enjoyable read, and good to see that there are still companies that honour their "Lifetime guarantee". Might need to look into a Tilley hat to support such good service.

Unknown said...

I so want a tilly :(

Mac E said...

Refreshing to hear of such service.

Enjoy your new Hat :-)

Andy Howell said...

I reckon my Tilly is not long for this world. I reckon it is the ultra violet that does the most damage.

Last Easter I strolled into Cotswold in Betwys. That looks like a real Tilly Hat said the girl behind the counter, "don't forget to bring it in when its at the end of its life, and we'll send it off for you !!!"

What service.

Phreerunner said...

Thanks, everyone. Note the price label on my new Tilley - £49. Scope for the odd free replacement, perhaps, given that pricing. Mine has certainly proved to be a good investment.
Cotswold seem to have come out of this rather well. I'm a little surprised, as I found the service in their Oxford Road (Manchester) shop to have declined over recent years.
I still rate Outside in Hathersage very highly, especially for boots. Their staff are unerringly helpful, but sadly no discounts there. Brighams staff are generally helpful, as well, and Alpenstock in Stockport are also good. Plus many more, of course, including Bob and Rose at We are very lucky really...

CF Rich said...

Great tale,

However after having worn through 3 over the years I do wonder how on earth one could be eaten by an elephant and pass through unscathed - three times!?! That too is a great tale though.

Phreerunner said...

Cotswold sort of excelled, or should I say 'exceeded' themselves, by calling me on 10 March to let me know that my new Tilley hat had arrived, and could be collected at my convenience!

Phreerunner said...

It's now April 2015. Five years have passed. The new hat above looks like the old one above. Tilley have yet again replaced it, as described in my entry here.
Well done Tilley Endurables Limited - great service and a great product, even if it does sometimes wear out!