Let’s get straight to the point: We wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for You. That’s right, You with a capital “Y,” the one who’s reading this post.
It’s You–Patagonia customers, fans of the Tin Shed, regular readers of The Cleanest Line–who deserve the thanks.
Last year, we ran a post expressing our gratitude for the greater grooviness of working for a place like Patagonia. Indeed, it’s a privilege to be part of a company that consistently rates in a variety of “Best Places to Work” surveys. When people are asked why they like to work here, answers range from the concrete (on-site daycare, flexible hours and great colleagues) to the ineffable (the personal satisfaction that comes with working for a values-driven company).
One answer that underlies all of these benefits, however, is the customers. When it comes down to it, we can only be here doing what we’re doing as long as you want us to. The day our customers decide we no longer offer products or business practices they can believe in is the day we go out of business.
We wouldn’t be what we are, who we are, if our customers didn’t believe in speaking up for things they care about. The boatloads of questions we receive arrive on a constant stream of criticism. These things force us to continually reexamine our strategies and values.
We also receive some true gifts; gemlike notes that arrive out of the blue and remind all of us why we show up every day to keep doing what we’re doing. Today is a good time to share a sample of the good words you’ve sent us over the past few months, and to offer our humble thanks for making us a part of your journeys.
[One of the many photos you’ve sent our way . . . Hiking the Dunes in Death Valley National Park. Photo: L. Mosco]
Sent: Monday, November 24, 2008 1:33 PM
I wanted to write you guys a testimonial about the Mixmaster Pants. I know you do not make the pants anymore, but the story was too good not to pass on.
I went ice climbing last Friday in the South Fork Canyon outside of Cody, Wyoming. My partner, Stan, and I had approached the route some six miles off the road and suited up for the first real pitch of ice. I started up the WI5 pillar, stopped to place my first screw, blew out of the ice, and took a serious ground fall. I spent some time trying not to pass out or go into shock, all the while Stan is planning how to get me several hundred feet back down to the creek bed and back to the car.
After composing myself, I stood up to find that both my ankles were severely injured (later X-rays showed breaks in both). Stan then began to lower me down pitches, and I crawled over rocks, snow, ice, and deadfall as much as possible. The crawling continued down the hillside, across the creek, up a hillside and onto a trail. I walked/hobbled as best I could for the next four miles while Stan went ahead to get help.
About the time that I hit the final mile of downhill switchbacks, two fellows from Cody appeared to drag me in an old kayak back to the truck. The bottom wore out of the kayak after a while and I spent some time dragging my butt on the snow and rocks before we made it to the parking lot.
I am sitting here with my feet up on my couch writing this overly long note to let you know that I wore the Mixmaster Pants throughout the entire ordeal, and they seem none the worse for wear. The knees are pristine despite the crawling, the seat is completely intact considering the dragging in the kayak. I was extremely impressed that they have no nicks, scratches, or holes and they took miles of abuse on Friday.
I know you don’t make them anymore, but the Mixmasters have created one more loyal and incredibly satisfied customer. Thanks for listening.
Sent: Friday, November 07, 2008 8:22 AM
I just wanted to thank you for the best jacket I ever owned and to share how sad I am at its loss. I purchased my beloved red Patagonia jacket (waterproof exterior with polypropylene lining) in 1985. I saved and saved for it. How proud I was when I could finally buy it! I bought it at the Taum Sauk store on the Country Club Plaza in Kansas City Missouri, a store which is long gone. I wore that jacket everywhere over the years: Seattle, my honeymoon in Ireland, Utah, Colorado, Mexico, and right here in Kansas. It never wore out and remained my most steadfast garment. Years have passed and now I spend most of my outdoor time at my kids’ sporting events. A week ago, I was at my son’s soccer tournament, the wind was blasting so hard the players needed to hold the ball for a corner kick or the ball would blow away. A fellow fan needed a jacket and I had extra, so I loaned her my Patagonia red. She gave it back, but, somehow it got laid down and disappeared. I don’t know if the wind claimed it, or some dishonest soccer fan made off with it. I looked and looked, but to no avail. It broke my heart to go home with out my Patagonia red. I had hoped (and expected) to wear it into my old age. I will miss it terribly. Anyway, I wanted to let you know how well-made, dependable, and beloved it was for me.
Sent: Friday, October 24, 2008 3:04 PM
I have just graduated from Brooks Institute this past April. I am at the beginning of a long and exciting career in Storm Chasing. I purchased one of your Woman’s Rain Shadow Jackets a few months ago before covering my first Hurricane. I just want to say that the jacket that I purchased has been a godsend.
During my second Hurricane I fell into some flood waters that were waist high. In one of the pockets of the this jacket I had two HD DV tapes and in the other pocket I had two Digital 8 tapes. The design of the water Resistant Zippers kept these tapes from getting wet and becoming non useable.
I just want to say thank you and that I will be purchasing more gear of different colors in the near future.
Sent: Tuesday, May 13, 2008 6:53 AM
Below please find the body of an email that my sisters and I recently received from our father. He is turning 80 later this year, still very much a world traveller, and raves about his 20-year-old Patagonia jacket. I thought you’d appreciate seeing this, although he doesn’t know that I’m forwarding this on. Let me know if you want to know how to contact him.
For my 60th birthday you gave me a blue Patagonia jacket. It was a thing of beauty – people stopped me on the street to compliment me on it. When I took it to the Soviet Union in 1989 it was the object of envious glances.
Age took its toll. It acquired a small rip on the back, the tab on the zipper broke, and your mother insisted that the few stains it had could not be removed. Sadly, I considered getting rid of it but couldn’t bring myself to do it. I took it to a seamstress who did a fairly good job of sewing up the rip – she also put a colorful pull tag on the zipper. Your mother put MATFJ (My All-Time Favorite Jacket) in cold water in the washer and lo and behold it came out looking good.
I am pleased to report, therefore, that MATFJ has been restored to its proper pride of place and is being worn regularly. Given how cool our spring has been this is a blessing. I see no reason why the jacket shouldn’t be good for at least another 20 years even if its owner isn’t.
Thanks again for the jacket.