Thursday, 31 January 2013

Meeting The Needs Of Loyal Fussypots

The boyfriend and I are the most loyal customers that any establishment can wish for, I think. You can attribute that to our age, you know, old and thus stubborn and set in our ways and you might be right. Perhaps we've had enough of trialling-and-testing things, wasting time, money and effort in the process, all these years. For quite some time now, if we find something that we appreciate the craft of and truly love, be it food, an item of clothing, goods for our home, chances are we'll be contributing to the profit of the people and companies who make them. For life.

We've eaten at Chat Thai nearly every weekend for the last five years because the food is consistently good. The shirt rail in his wardrobe is filled mostly by Ben Sherman's because the first shirt that he tried on ten years ago fit exactly the way he likes them to and every season, even when new prints and colours are introduced, the Ben Sherman fit remains the same. When we moved to Sydney and had a need for winterwear, his first stop was Ben Sherman because we knew that the good fit would translate into coats and jackets too. For everyday knockabout shoes, our go-tos are Converse's - have been for decades, way before we met - because, again, the fit and style is consistent even with their seasonal limited editions/add-ons to their range of colours/material/print. The list goes on...

Recently, our trusty pair of AdHoc pepper mills died on us. They were six years old and had a pretty good run, I think, considering the work we put them through (their pop-on tops broke but their grinding mechanism were still as good as new). We've trialled and tested many before them - most were good-looking ones that didn't last and those that we knew were hardy were too ugly for us to want to take home. Yup, such fussypots we are. All we wanted was one that will make us happy with both its form and function and we found that in our old pair. Don't be fooled by their colourful toy-like looks, they are motherfucking pepper-crushing machines! From a fine powder to a course grain.

Of course we had to replace them with the exact same ones! And this was where frustration set in - AdHoc doesn't make them anymore! And I don't want any of their newfangly complicated-looking ones! There must be some dead stock left somewhere in the world, right?! After some internet-Nancy-Drewing, I found a single one (it was in baby blue, not our original green or grey but, hey, I'll take it and try to find a pal for it somewhere else) only to have the online merchant emailing me, a week after I've placed and paid for my order, to say that they've made a mistake - their inventory was wrong and they will refund my payment. GRRRRRR!

In a fit of anger + a desperate need for replacements (grinding peppercorns with a mortar and pestle loses its old-world charm pretty quickly), I ordered these Kikkerland Peppa Bears that you see above. Yes, I know. I had a feeling that their performance would be nothing close to those that we've lost but at least they are cute and cute always wins, right?! They arrived and it takes ten clicks on their tail to produce the same amount of ground pepper as one twist on our old ones but they work. However, I knew they won't for very long because they are not made for the heavy-duty use in this household so I gave Goggle another go last last-ditch attempt...and found an AdHoc pair (from another site that didn't show up in my last search) in baby blue which I hope (I half-expect the merchant to write with bad news again) are on their way to me. 

It's frustrating, isn't it? To finally find a product that suits your needs to a T only to find out much later that it cannot be replaced. Sure, there is a growing number of companies/manufacturers of goods, particularly those in the clothing, bags and shoes business, that recognise this loyal fussypot segment of their markets and are re-issuing old favourites or producing a permanent "forever" range on top of their seasonal collections (I don't mean Herm├Ęs with their Kellys and Birkins, or Ferragamo with their Varas - they've been doing that for years - I'm talking about affordable mid-range stuff) but I would like to see more! I want to be able to walk into a shop or log onto an online store and know that I can buy the "Billy bookcase" of whatever they are selling whenever I want, like I can at Ikea. 

I feel that if I can be assured of an unbroken supply of these things, I will not be such a hoarder. Take white t-shirts, for example, if I find a good one, I buy it in multiples because of that fear of not being able to find the same ones again. These multiples take up precious wardrobe space and money which can go towards buying other things which I need but don't yet own. I will not be spending money on trying out new products (which might or might not suit me) because I already have a trusted go-to item which I can re-buy. Waste and clutter would be reduced in my life, in our home and in the landfills. So much goodness can come from knowing that my favourite things are part of a "forever" range of goods that is available to me, like, forever!

And it doesn't even have to be forever. Give me five years of constant supply and I'll take it! And you know what would be grand?! Labels! Labels on goods that read "This (product) was first made in (year) and we assure you that we will be making it for the next (number) years" so we know when to stock up or start looking for alternatives. Am I asking for too much? Am I being a naive loyal fussypot?


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