The Venn Diagram of Camping

I was watching a TV show the other day that features families on the quest to purchase a recreational vehicle (RV). Different shows feature different families. One was of an older mother and daughter looking to move out of the house. Another was a family with 8 kids looking for affordable family vacations. Some want to be able to haul their Harley Davidson motorcycles. While I applaud these people for getting out, there is a remarkable level of conspicuous consumption involved with the whole thing.

Which brings me to the final couple. This one particular couple were empty nesters looking for a Class A RV that cost less than $325,000 (an incredible amount for the vast majority of Americans). They were looking at a 40 footer (which cannot visit many National Parks due to length restrictions) that had several slide outs. But the wife was concerned that it only had one TV and the floors were not heated. The husband’s response was, “Well, we ill be camping.”

NO! No they will not be camping.

Traveling in a 40 foot RV that requires full hook ups to supply the water for dual headed showers and is not allowed in many National Parks is not camping. That is why they are called motorhomes not motor tents. For those who need help identifying “camping”, I offer this Venn Diagram of camping. It is not all inclusive but it covers 99.9% of all campers.

Canada Goose brings Churchill to SoCal

Several weeks ago, I posted How warm is that jacket? about a cold room I saw on my trip to Scandinavia. Canada Goose has been expanding their use of cold rooms in North America.

The photo above is from Canada Goose’s flagship store in the Mall of America in Minnesota that can produce temperature to -13f. At the time of the launch in 2019, Minnesotans commented that -13 is a start but not quite the Polar Vortex temps of -30 that they had been experiencing that winter. Even so, most Minnesotans do not need a cold room to test out new jackets given their life-long exposure to winter weather. (Full disclosure: I was born and raised in MN.)

Now, Canada Goose has announced the next generation of cold room opening at the South Coast Plaza Mall in Costa Mesa, CA. In addition to cold, this room will have a daily snowstorm for shoppers to test out the latest winter wear. A very useful tool for SoCal residents unaccustomed to harsh winter weather. Canada Goose said they are bringing the weather of Churchill, Manitoba to southern California.

Nicely done, Canada Goose.

A healthy sign

Chain Store Age reported the expansion plans of L.L.Bean today. The plans include the opening of three new stores in the eastern United States this year along with four new stores in Canada. Another sign of retail health is the return to 24 hour operations’ hallmark of Bean that was suspended for Covid dating back to 1954. Leon Leonwood would be proud.

Over-promised and under-delivered

Everyone claims that their service is what differentiates them from their competitors, and we often hear about under-promising and over-delivering in the era of “delighting” our customers. But what about when service breaks down? This is an example of just such a case with our experience at local bike shop. 

We know that Covid has placed a strain on bicycle equipment and service. It seemed that in 2020 there were few if any bicycles available and replacement parts were nearly nonexistent. Many shops were swamped with repair work and shop work in our area was often scheduled 2-3 weeks out. It appears that in 2021, we are beginning to see a return to normal to some degree.  

My wife is a year-round recreational cyclist who is also a bicycle commuter. She typically rides between 500 and 700 miles a month. We do the normal maintenance on our bikes ourselves, but she was having an issue with her front hub (a SON Dynamo hub), and we figured it was time for a professional tune up.  

Our local shop has recently been bought by a large bicycle company, so my wife checked their website to see about their service packages. Looking over the service packages, she decided that a Level 2 at $139.99 plus parts should work for her, but she remained open to any suggestions that the bike mechanic might suggest. 

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Interesting marketing

Leafing through the circulars I received in the mail the other day, this montage of logos caught my eye. I thought that I had received the latest REI flyer until I looked a bit closer. It was a circular from Sportsman’s Warehouse.

Normally, Sportsman’s is associated with the hook & bullet crowd. But this flyer had no mention of hunting or firearms and only a small section on fishing. The main theme was about family; hiking together, camping together and fishing together.

They seem to be trying to attract a wider customer base than they have traditionally relied on. With their pending acquisition by Great American Outdoors Group (Bass Pro/Cabela’s), they will be part of a national chain of over 165 stores.

The company will be well positioned to carve off a significant junk of the outdoor dollars, particularly with smart marketing like this.

One and done

“First call resolution” is what they called it in a call center I supported. The core concept is that when you are contacted by a customer with a need or an issue, service providers work to meet all the customers needs during their first contact.

Our local bike shop could certainly take a lesson from that. (Well, it used to be our local bike shop, but they were recently bought out by a major bike brand from Wisconsin.)

My wife’s bike needed a tune up, so we brought the bike into the shop. (A whole other story that will be coming soon.) When it was time to pick up the bike, my wife and I walked over to the shop. I brought my bike along so we could ride home together.

With Covid precautions in place at the shop, I waited for my wife out in the parking lot while she went in to pick up her bike. Luckily, it was a lovely warm Spring day.

Continue reading “One and done”