How to run a business in a recession … or not!

A couple of weeks ago, I was talking to my friend Jim Albany in Denver.  He mentioned he had taken his fourteen year old son and his scout troop camping in the mountains.  Now, we’re talking about camping in a tent at 7000 feet in Colorado in January.

Wow!  Now I’ve camped a lot – but not under those conditions.  I asked him what his son thought about it.  “Well he used to idolize me … now I think he hates me.”

The timing of this is interesting because I’ve heard many, many commercials on the radio featuring Barack Obama talking about being a good father and how making just a little effort could mean the world.  Well, I think this takes fatherly participation to a new level.  Our president would be proud.

Camping in the mountains

Since I’m a camping “gear head,” we talked equipment.  Jim and and his son had North Face.  North Face is generally considered to be about as good as it gets – expensive, but high quality.

What a great testimonial! Fourteen year old kids conquering below zero weather in North Face.  You couldn’t write a better script.

Well I called up North Face and talked to a customer service rep and told him the story.  I figured he’d share my enthusiasm, or at least, kind of.

Well he didn’t.  Not only didn’t he, he was downright aloof.  “We sponsor pro athletes and they give us all the testimonials we need.”  What gives?  Are there so many pro athletes out there that that’s all they care about?  The recession must have passed North Face right by.  We could all be so lucky.

I wasn’t going to quit though.  I asked for his supervisor.  “No, I can’t do that.”  What?  I was perturbed.  “OK, give me the name of your president – I’d like to talk him,” I said.  “I can’t do that either,” was his response.  I felt like Bill Murray facing Rick Morainas, the key master, in Ghostbusters.

I relented.  One can only go so far to help.

It wasn’t hard finding out that North Face is a subsidiary of VF Corporation based in Greensboro, North Carolina.  Their CEO and President is Eric Wiseman.  Maybe somebody else should talk to him – and maybe they could mention their wonderful customer service.

By the way … Bill did catch all the ghosts in the end.


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