Luggage Karma

Day 118

I travel a little for work.  Not a lot, just enough to know which business travelers I would like to emulate.  The slightly bored globe trotters that are like an Indy car pit crew through security.  In about 12 seconds flat they have laptop, liquids and shoes shoved through that conveyor and then get them all collapsed back into their TUMI brand bag in four seconds and clip clop off importantly to the Delta Sky Club.

Conversely, no matter how prepared I try to be, I am the antithesis of that efficiency, juggling my laptop while hobbling on one shoe and trying to remove the other, stacking and restacking those gray bins.  After I finally get redressed and laptop stowed while walking away, I almost invariable will hear.   Ma’am, Ma’am…Is this yours?  And, then I will have to turn around for the TSA walk of shame to claim the cell phone, gloves or whatever I left behind.

A couple of years ago, I decided my problem was my luggage configuration.  My travel buffoonery would be solved if I just had the right equipment.


So, I asked my husband for a new overnight/weekend travel bag.  Now my husband is very generous and accommodating when it comes to gifts–except sometimes things get lost in translation.  He did buy me a very nice new bag.   Except, it’s one of those bags with four wheels on the bottom and there is no locking mechanism on them (like on a stroller).  I once set it down outside of a cab, turned to say something to a coworker and suddenly realized my bag was headed downhill of its own accord into oncoming traffic. Still another time in the Montreal airport, which strangely enough has one of those moving sidewalks at about a 10% downhill grade, I was messing with my customs forms and my bag rolled into a group of elderly ladies.  My French did not need to be that good for me to comprend their displeasure.

Anyway, what I really want is one of those fancy TUMI brand bags with a TSA approved laptop flip out. Prior to The Simple Year, I had been checking them out.  After I realized they were somewhere between $400-1,500. I figured I probably didn’t travel THAT much.  Then The Simple Year started so that was that.

Perhaps it was karma, or maybe just good luck, but I happened to be at a garage sale a few weeks ago and there was THE perfect TUMI business travel bag with a $20 sticker.  I couldn’t believe it.  WHY would anyone want to get rid of something this perfect?


Bag with all of its nifty inserts.

Well, upon closer inspection, I found that the handle didn’t extend all the way.  It was still usable, if you were very short, or crouched.   I took it anyway.  On a scale of not perfect, I figured crouching was better than chasing my bag down the street.

Plus I figured, as often the case with high priced items, the bag might have some kind of warranty, which based on my in-depth TV courtroom drama knowledge of law; should be transferred to the new owner.

So, I sent the bag off to its birthplace and waited…and waited…and waited some more.  Finally, I got a vague email that I needed to call customer service about the status of my bag.  When I finally got the representative on the phone the conversation went something like this.

Her:  “Well, we no longer make the bag, so we don’t have the necessary parts to fix it.  But, we are pleased to offer you a 20% off coupon for a new bag.”

Me: (inside my head) Come on, a 20% off coupon?  What kind of fool do you think I am?

So instead, I very nicely told her that I really didn’t want a new bag, I wanted that one fixed.

Her (in a somewhat disapproving tone), “Well, the bag is 10 years old.”

Me: (inside my head again) 10 years? Really?  That bag looks good.

So, I changed approaches and said, “Well, I’m sure many of your customers replace their bags frequently. But, I don’t have that luxury and really feel like a $700 bag should last many more than ten years.  Is there any way the repair department can take another look and see if they can bang it into place?”

She somewhat uncertainly said, “Well, I’ll talk to the repair department manager to see if there is something he can do.”

So, to sum it up, she called me a few days later and was very excited to report that they had in fact managed to fix it.  It cost me $60 plus $30 shipping.   It was a bit of a dance, but I guess persistence and the willingness to ask for what I wanted paid off here.  This is a good lesson for me, before The Simple Year, I don’t think I would have gone to such lengths.  I would have either just taken the coupon or (more likely) crouched.

The inside view. I KNOW, isn’t it awesome?

4 Responses to Luggage Karma

  1. Ha, ha, ha….I have heard the “deluxe bargin bag” story before and I still laughed all the way through the current rendition….too much…

  2. I am a little embarrassed to say that I bought a Tumi brief case for full price in 1997 but it still works great and I still use it everyday. I wouldn’t buy it again if I had it to do over again. I also bought an Omega watch that year that I later sold on ebay for just about the same price I bought it for. My $30 Casio works much better than the Omega anyway.

  3. Pingback: 8 Companies That Make Quality Products That Last | The Simple Year

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