Tuesday, April 07, 2009

a tale of a girl and her boots

Anyone who's read back to Christmastime knows about over the Hanna Andersson clog boots. Those boots were such a hit that they went on Banana's feet that morning. She continued to wear them almost every day since.

A couple weeks ago, I had them shined. The shoeshiner pointed out what I'd already noticed a few days before: the rubber on the soles was wearing down to the wood and pulling away on one heel. I made a mental note to hijack the boots for a couple days and take them to a cobbler. Last week, though, the rubber fully came off of one heel. Banana Mère tried to glue it back on — but Gorilla Glue may not have been the right answer. Regardless, when I took a closer look, I realized that the wood had, in fact, begun to wear away on both heels meaning a cobbler might have a hard time with the repair.

I'm used to the fact that kid's clothes wear out. I'm used to shoes wearing out — especially when they are a favorite item. Still, I felt like three and a half months was a short lifespan for boots that retail for $85. I was particularly surprised since Hanna makes the same boots for women. I decided to call the company.

One of the things I love about Hanna Andersson is that their CSRs all seem to be mothers or grandmothers who know exactly what clothes mean to kids and parents. The woman on the other end of the phone took a deep breath and said in a very serious tone, "No. They shouldn't be wearing out like that so soon. And especially not on her favorite boots." She quickly pulled up the stock on the computer and came back with the news that they no longer had the black boots. "Do you think she'd like pink?" She asked. "We have a pair in stock in that size and I can ship them out FedEx right away."

I hemmed and hawed. After all, I'd bought the black boots for both practicality and "cool" factors — both of which they offered in spades. Of course, I knew Banana would love the pink, but still I had to hem and haw.

"Well, Dad," my grandmotherly CSR continued, "I'll tell you how you do it. You tell her that she'll get some new pink boots for the spring and summer. That's how you do it, and I'm sure she'll love them, Dad."

"You're probably right," I said.

"I'll do the return in advance, and send you a return slip. That way, when she falls in love with them, you can just send the others back to us."

Yesterday the brand new pink suede harness clog boots arrived. And Banana was thrilled. Overjoyed. She pulled off her Chucks and had the new boots on before you could say "cobbler." Not only did she say, "Daddy, I like them even better than the black ones." She also said, "They're bigger." And sure enough, while the size was the same, the pink boots were almost a quarter inch longer than the black ones. Not only do we now have new bright spring boots, we have boots that will last slightly longer than the ones they are replacing.

I liked the black boots as a break from the steady onslaught of pastels, but I have to admit that a happy kid is worth any pastel onslaught. The pink wins again.

(Kudos also to Hanna Andersson for excellent customer service.)