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  1. #1
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    Random "Bag Circle" Idea

    I had a random thought -- it is always hard for me to really see if I like a bag until I actually have it in hand and can try it on and stuff all my things in it. What usually happens is I buy 2 or 3 bags and then return the ones I don't want.

    My random idea would be if Bihn could have 2 or 3 copies of each bag "in circulation". Customers could sign up to be part of a "bag trial program" where they could request to try out a certain bag for a couple of days. If we lose the bag, our credit card could be charged (or something like that). At least for me, trying out a bag would really help in figuring out, for example, whether to buy the Smart Alec or Brain Bag!

    Not sure if anyone else has this problem.....

  2. #2
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    Makes sense to me...

    I do kind of have the same problem. As much as I love the products, I just never know how it would feel on my body until I wear the bag with some stuff in it. I have a very small body frame, and it's hard to know how huge a bag can look on me simply by looking at the measurements, because bags are 3D and they change shape as you fill them.

    I just ordered a Smart Alec, which I thought was the perfect size for my needs, except I ended up looking like I was going to fly off with a rocket engine on my back :P Also the straps are almost too big and widely set for my little shoulders. So I'm not sure if I should keep it. :-/ It would've been great if there had been some kind of lease/try-out program, so I could try wearing it about town.

  3. #3
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    Tom Bihn has a 60 days money back guarantee.

    I find that it is more than enough time for me to tryout the product and see if it fits my lifestyle or not.

    Also reading the forum, the blog and taking a look at the pictures pages is a great way to find out the way a bag wears on people.


    For example, pictures of the Smart Alex, the Ruck's Sack and the Buzz (a very cool bag) convinced me not to buy them.

    But I have a Brain Bag with a Monolith (old style vertical Brain Cell) and a Freudian Slip but I skipped the Snake Charmer and bought a Style Kit and will buy a Clear Quarter Cube because they suit me better.

    Before I ordered a Cafe Bag, I did not know if should order the medium or the large so I asked tons of question to previous owners and to Darcy, I also went to the Tom Bihn flicker page when somebody posted many pictures of a cafe bag.

    I ultimately ordered a Large Cafe Bag, put my stuff in it and now I could not go along without it.
    I am thinking of ordering a new color.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by backpack View Post
    Tom Bihn has a 60 days money back guarantee.

    I find that it is more than enough time for me to tryout the product and see if it fits my lifestyle or not.

    For example, pictures of the Smart Alex, the Ruck's Sack and the Buzz (a very cool bag) convinced me not to buy them.
    I understand what you're saying... I do feel 60 days is a sufficient return period. It's just that I kind of feel guilty returning things. Also everyone's body is different. I saw pictures of other people with Smart Alec before I bought it, but that doesn't tell you what their height, weight, or shoulder width are :-/

    Under FAQ, it says "You have 60 days after you've received your bag to return it to us for a refund, provided it is still in its original condition."

    So I took that to mean that the bag is not to be used/tried out, if you might return it.

    I suppose this is a problem every online retailer runs into... and why Zappos is so popular for free return shipping policy :P

    I'd happily pay a weekly/monthly rental fee or something if there were try-out bags in circulation, so I can take them to walks, biking, etc., guilt free. Kind of like Bag, Borrow or Steal. That's just me.
    Last edited by besttoro; 10-21-2007 at 04:52 PM. Reason: Adding a link

  5. #5
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    I also love Tom Bihn's 60 day return period -- the length is certainly very generous and I love companies that stand behind their products (like Patagonia does with their eternal return policy). Like besttoro, though, I took Tom Bihn's return policy to mean that the bag can't be really "used," so instead I tend to try out the bags inside my house. This is definitely better than nothing, though having a "try-out" bag would help me take the bags into more rugged try out conditions (like traveling on a weekend trip) to see if it really fit my travel needs.

  6. #6
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    Another way to drive this would be a community driven bag exchange concept.

    Say, for example, that I have a Smart Alec that I am not using, and you have a Zephyr that you are not using. But neither one of us want to unload our bags permanently - I will again using my Smart Alec, and you will again use your Zephyr . And say I am interested in trying out the Zephyr, and you are interested in trying out a Smart Alec. So I send you my Smart Alec, and you send me your Zephyr to try out (say, for a month).

    Now there are some important caveats to consider.

    Such a program would run on a trust system. Parties participating would be trusting the borrower to return their bag in the same condition in which it was lent out. Please be respectful of other's belongings. Treat them with gingerly care. Please, please, please do not put anything with any kind of smell in the borrowed bag (good smell or bad smell). Please also don't lend out a smelly bag, either. You may think that some perfume is the most wonderful smelling thing in the world. Someone else may puke all over your beautiful (smelly) bag when they smell it if it doesn't suit them.

    Of course, I may not necessarily want to try out what you have even though you may want to try out what I have. That adds a bit of complexity to the borrowing system. John may want to try the Smart Alec, and have a Zephyr. Jane may want to try an Aeronaut and have a Smart Alec. Jerry may have an Zeronaut and want to try the Zephyr. Is your head spinning yet? So, some central coordination is required in order to make all of these trial sessions possible.

    I don't want to ask the folks at Tom Bihn to do this because it isn't a primary business focus (even though it would indirectly drive sales - if Jerry tries the Zephyr which he was casually considering before, and he really loves it during the trial period, he will be more likely to buy one). If there is sufficient interest, some web-savvy person could set up a website to manage all of this madness and think through all of the coordination details. Think carefully before you volunteer - this will require quite a bit of work.

    I hope I haven't offended anyone with my crazy ideas - John, Jane, Jerry, or anyone else.

    maverick

  7. #7
    TOM BIHN Crew (we work here) Darcy's Avatar
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    I like Winter and Maverick's ideas a lot! Maybe we can do something like that in the future. For now, our energies are committed to designing new products, taking new pictures, and improving the Web site, as well as researching new fabrics, materials, and colors. We have talked about these kind of programs before, and we will continue to think about them.

    besttoro -- It sounds like the Smart Alec might not be the right bag for you. I'd recommend sending it back and waiting to see the new,
    smaller backpack that Tom is designing. I have a fairly petite frame (though I do use a Smart Alec and find it quite comfortable) and the shoulder straps for this new backpack were designed with someone like me in mind, though they also fit someone Tom's size (6' tall). The new backpack is also shorter than the Smart Alec. Don't feel bad about returning it! We just want to make sure that you end up with a bag you love.

    Originally, the TOM BIHN return policy was "no sale is final". There was no time limit on returning bags. There were a lot of reasons why we changed to a 60 day policy.

    1) Almost all of the time, bags that are returned to us within 60 days are still brand new. We inspect every return thoroughly with the same process that is used to inspect bags before they leave our factory in addition to the extra care and attention that we use to make sure the bag is still brand-new. Bags returned six months after they were purchased often seem like it. Maybe the bag wasn't used, but it might have been sitting crumpled up in a smelly closet for 6+ months, and no one would want a bag like that (and we wouldn't sell it to you!)

    2) Tom is always coming up with new designs, changes to current designs, and new color combinations. Bags returned that were bought nine months ago are often no longer current styles or colors, and we only sell current products.

    3) Every bag we make is worth what we sell it for. We aren't buying our bags by the container full from China, nor do we sell a bag that cost $12 to produce for $100. We don't have an outlet store where used, damaged bags, or otherwise imperfect bags are sold. It doesn't work for us to take back used or damaged bags.

    We've found that 60 days is a comfortable time to allow a customer to see a bag and figure out if it's right for them. And don't worry: we aren't extreme about the 60 days. If you send your bag back to us 65 days after you've received it, that's okay: the main thing is that it
    hasn't been used (and isn't good smelly or bad smelly!).
    Current Carry: Skookum Dog Citizen Canine prototype, Founder's Briefcase (every day carry), Small Cafe Bag (every day carry), Shop Bags (groceries, extra random stuff), Aeronaut 45 (travel), Synapse 19 (day hikes), Smart Alec (longer day hikes), Skookum Dog Road Duffel (Medium) (travel), Clear Organizer Wallet, Travel Stuff Sacks, Organizer Cubes

  8. #8
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    Thanks for the explanations on the return policy Darcy. I always felt that 60 days was more then generous.
    I'm working a little late, and needed to take a break so I hit the forums. Then I looked at the Super Ego sitting next to my desk with its main compartment open and the Wasabi Brain Cell showing - I suddenly realized that you guys can take my bag back anytime you want!
    But you'd have to pry it from my cold dead hands first!

    Great product and it still looks fantastic after 7 months of daily use (I take it everywhere even on the weekends).
    Using a: Super Ego (Black, Steel, Wasabi) with seat belt strip (Wasabi), and alternate reflective Strip. Black BrainCell, Wasabi Snake Charmer, Cork Small Organizer Pouch, and Olive green medium organizer pouch.

  9. #9
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    Thanks for the clarification, Darcy!

    I'd volunteer to run the bag circle, except I'm nowhere near web-savvy (maybe not even on the same planet) :P

    I think I will return the Smart Alec (although I hate to part with it -- love the green!) and look forward to the new, smaller backpack :) Thanks for making me feel OK about it.

    Now I'm kicking myself for not snapping up the Plum/Steel Swift quickly enough! It's all about timing, isn't it.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darcy View Post
    And don't worry: we aren't extreme about the 60 days. If you send your bag back to us 65 days after you've received it, that's okay
    hmmm... what if we send it back 66 days after we've received it? would that be okay? ;-)

  11. #11
    Registered User dsmking's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darcy View Post
    And don't worry: we aren't extreme about the 60 days. If you send your bag back to us 65 days after you've received it, that's okay: the main thing is that it
    hasn't been used (and isn't good smelly or bad smelly!).
    And the thread segways (not the scooter) into the question I was going to ask next month - what is your holiday return/exchange policy? I am planning to get the Swift as a Christmas present for my wife. I think that she will love it and won't need 60 days but want to be prepared.

    David

  12. #12
    TOM BIHN Crew (we work here) Darcy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeL View Post
    Then I looked at the Super Ego sitting next to my desk with its main compartment open and the Wasabi Brain Cell showing - I suddenly realized that you guys can take my bag back anytime you want!
    But you'd have to pry it from my cold dead hands first!
    hehe!

    Quote Originally Posted by dsmking
    I was going to ask next month - what is your holiday return/exchange policy? I am planning to get the Swift as a Christmas present for my wife.
    We don't have any plans to extend the 60 day return policy. A few times customers have called us because they had to go on an unexpected trip and couldn't return their bag until they returned from the trip, which would put them beyond the 60 day policy. If something like that happens, just give us a call! We'll work it out.
    Current Carry: Skookum Dog Citizen Canine prototype, Founder's Briefcase (every day carry), Small Cafe Bag (every day carry), Shop Bags (groceries, extra random stuff), Aeronaut 45 (travel), Synapse 19 (day hikes), Smart Alec (longer day hikes), Skookum Dog Road Duffel (Medium) (travel), Clear Organizer Wallet, Travel Stuff Sacks, Organizer Cubes

  13. #13
    TOM BIHN Crew (we work here) Darcy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by maverick View Post
    hmmm... what if we send it back 66 days after we've received it? would that be okay? ;-)
    Now you're pushing it!!!!! :)
    Current Carry: Skookum Dog Citizen Canine prototype, Founder's Briefcase (every day carry), Small Cafe Bag (every day carry), Shop Bags (groceries, extra random stuff), Aeronaut 45 (travel), Synapse 19 (day hikes), Smart Alec (longer day hikes), Skookum Dog Road Duffel (Medium) (travel), Clear Organizer Wallet, Travel Stuff Sacks, Organizer Cubes


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