In December, the base of my wooden office chair (it matches my old oak desk) broke for good. I reglued the center wooden piece but it was getting to be more glue than wood, and the wood broke again in a few days.
I though I would have to get a new chair, but remember seeing chair bases in the Van Dyke's Restorer's catalog. In my experience, they sell quality stuff and it is priced accordingly. I ordered the base and it arrived in a few weeks, drop-shipped from the manufacturer. I let it sit in the box until I had time (and weather!) to get a couple of coats of boiled linseed oil on it.
So, when I unpacked it during a warm spell, I was pleased with the sturdy, graceful construction but distressed to find one of the socket inserts for the rollers was missing! I went ahead with the finishing -- no telling how long the weather would hold -- and called Van Dyke's on the next work day evening.
Got the usual helpful-but-noncommittal line (and you can't blame the customer-service operator for that -- all she can do is send the complaint up the line; she was pleasant on the phone, which can't be easy, call after call), and went looking for a replacement part in the meantime. Over the next few days, it became apparent that the sockets were unusually heavy-duty (which is good) and replacements were not available locally (not so good). The base was made by and drop-shipped from Frank Chervan Inc., who sell only wholesale: they make very fine furniture frames, not finished furniture. So I called them. Couldn't speak with a human but I left my particulars with the nice robots, not especially hopeful. A $2.00 part from a wholesale manufacturer? Never happen.
About a week later, a lumpy envelope arrived addressed to me. The return address was Chervan and inside? The missing roller socket. Not a thing more.
I don't know if Van Dyke's or my phone message was the cause, but either way they were as good as gold, and no faffing about: the missing part, promptly and without a quibble. Now that's customer service!
T. R. MCELROY'S STREAMLINED TELEGRAPH KEYS
9 months ago