Ten years ago, I bought a tent at REI in Salt Lake City. I used it that same night and many, many more times after that. During those long happy tent-using years, one of the poles broke, and I mended it ineffectually with duct tape.
Now, I am confronting the fact that the broken pole, which should be such a simple problem to fix, could spell the death of my beloved tent. The local outdoor store I called told me it doesn’t sell replacement poles and doesn’t do pole repair. The REI store I called sent me to rei.com, which has a section for replacement poles and parts, but doesn’t actually sell replacement poles either. At REI’s toll-free number, an employee sent me to another company that sells made-to-order poles; I called there and learned that the pole I need will cost $32.50, plus shipping from Washington State—probably more than $40. The entire tent only cost $100, back on that sunny day in Salt Lake City.
One other option: If I still had my receipt, I could return the tent to REI and get a new one for free. That’s good customer service—notwithstanding the improbability of anyone saving a receipt for an entire decade—but a much better solution would be a cost-effective source for replacement parts. Even better than that would be a local source. It would certainly be greener than my acquiring a brand new tent, either by purchase or exchange.
So I am led to the conclusion that—as with so many other things—the best way to go is to do it myself. I’ll try to figure out a better way to mend the pole I have and leave it at that.
What’s the last thing you mended? Did it save you from having to buy something new?