Hey all. What's awesome is everyone seems to be doing a LOT more fishing than usual this summer. What's less awesome is some of the direct and indirect ways this is affecting folks in the fly fishing industry. After a rough morning here, I figured I'd vent here a bit.
A little background: Since around mid May, demand for fly fishing gear, especially in trout sizes, went parabolic. Just unprecedented in every way. I've been in this industry for over a decade and have never seen anything like this. Good for business, absolutely. (most) Fly shops and fly fishing companies are getting by and making up for lost time after being closed. Unfortunately, many companies canceled orders for supplies back in Feb/Mar anticipating a massive slowdown. So now we're in a situation where demand is way up, and supply is way down.
I talk to dozens of folks per day on the phone and even more through email (and thank you for those of you who use email. you are super duper appreciated as phones are absolutely crazy right now... and in my case, I'm oftentimes the only one in the office since others are having to cover in shipping/warranty) and lots of folks at fly shops and other companies are running on fumes.
I spent my first hour or so today (along with my colleague who was also available to answer phones) taking call after call from people who are unhappy with the speed of service, inability to get the thing they want/need, or other such grievances. After three months straight of dealing with people who are frustrated, sometimes justified and sometimes not, a lot of folks are getting pretty burnt out. We (the collective we in this industry) are just not prepared to take on this level of customer service. We're all doing the best we can, but we're getting to where that isn't good enough, and the mental health of many is starting to take a hit. I've literally, today even, witness people breaking out in tears from frustration trying to get a handle on their workload and making a customer satisfied.
I know there's going to be responses of "suck it up your job is easy," and other such things. Lay em on me as I've heard it all a hundred times since May. But I wanted to just send the message to be nice to your local fly shop folks. And if you have a warranty with anyone in the industry, be extra kind to those folks as they have been absolutely buried, backlogged, overwhelmed, and taking a fair amount of verbal abuse on a daily basis. I've had to take on some warranty customer service lately (this is usually the time of year I'm sitting here with headphones on designing the next year's catalog.. which now looks like i won't be starting for at least a few months now), and I can tell you, it has really taken a toll on my mental health (I have diagnosed anxiety issues and other things. so sleep has been difficult on some days.. but this isn't about me)
This isn't some kind of emergency or super serious issue like other things we're seeing out there. but you have the power to make someone's day a little better in your dealings, and I'm here to encourage you to do so.
(this isn't about my company of employment in particular or anyone else. just a collective thought from three months of stress being vented between industry folks)
You're all very much appreciated and we're happy as hell for those of you who are fishing your damn asses off!
You did the right thing. that's what I'd suggest doing if you called and asked what to do.One of my favorite rods (classic switch) the cork started spinning. Everything else seems fine. If I carefully put some epoxy in there, would I void the warranty? I'll send it in if I need too, but it's such an easy fix.
That is a very good point, Evan. People who serve "the public" are sitting ducks for others' sharing their worries. With COVID, worries are very high, understandably. But having to listen to too many complaints, one after another, is extremely taxing on anyone's mental health. I know a coffee shop owner who closed his shop months ago, before any orders to do so, in order to preserve his employees' health. They were hearing the same stressful thing from every customer.Oh one more thing while we're on the topic:
If you call, talk to, or deal with anyone at any business who has to talk to the public: the last thing they want to discuss is covid. If you're tempted to start small talk around that topic, don't. I'm to the point now when someone tries to start that conversation, I flat refuse and say "change of subject." You can only do it so much.
Great story, Randall. It's hard to stop automatically reacting negatively, but if we can "take a step back", as you said, it makes it much easier to think about the big picture. Then we can ask ourselves, "Am I really suffering that much, or is this a first world problem?" We all know that there is real suffering going on all over the world, but we tend to forget having gratitude for what we have. We are spoiled!Nice post Evan. And unfortunately you're right about those who have taken the time to read your post are most certainly not your target audience.
When I was at Orvis, it always blew my mind that some people would get so worked up on warranty issues...as if I personally wronged them in some way.
I actually had ordered a new snake cage way back in Feb. and it literally just came last week, which is normally crazy....they were having a tough time sourcing some of the materials. I had initially written an email inquiring as to why it was taking so long. I didn't send it and when I went back to look at it, I couldn't believe the tone of it, so I held off and instead sent them one after receiving the cage of appreciation for all of their hard work in getting it to me during a tough time. It pays to actually take a step back sometimes.