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May 1999 Vol. 14, No. 5   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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No Axe to Grind with Princeton Tec

from the May, 1999 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

No Axe to Grind with Princeton TecBeing an industry watchdog involves hearing all the horror stories of trips gone awry and unresolved equipment problems. Every now and then it’s refreshing to hear the good side: a manufacturer willing to go out of its way to help a longterm customer. The letter we got from Ed Donohue (Smithsburg MD) a few weeks ago was the sort of ringing endorsement we like to hear.

Donohue writes that he’s been buying Princeton Tec’s “Bottom Lights” for years and that he “wound up with four of them.” Though some of them are more than fifteen years old, the company has always provided replacement parts at no charge, so they’re all still going strong. When another small part on one of his ten-yearold lights broke recently, he sent the part back to Princeton Tec with a request for a replacement part. What he got in the mail a few days later was a little more than he expected: a brand-new light. Since they no longer manufactured lights with magnetic switches and had exhausted their inventory of replacement parts, they replaced it with a new light with a toggle switch instead.

I don’t expect they always give this kind of service. It was probably the short anecdote included in Donohue’s request that did the trick:

“You may have heard the story of the Maryland farmer who was bragging about his axe. He stated that the axe had been handed down from his great-great grandfather and was an example of American frontier craftsmanship. He said over the years the handle had been replaced sixteen times and the axe head seven times and the axe was still almost as good as new. ‘They just don’t make tools like that anymore!’ he would claim.”

It worked for Donohue, though I don’t know that it would fly twice in a row. I guess we’ll all have to become as creative as Donohue so that we can get the same kind of customer service.

— J. Q.

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