Yesterday Miss Terry had her annual checkup with her oncologist, and we’re pleased to report that everything is fine, and she is still cancer free after almost nine years now. It is always a very frightening and emotional ordeal for Terry when this time of year comes around. I’m sure I’d feel the same way if I were boarding an airplane back to Vietnam. We appreciate everybody’s e-mails and positive thoughts for a good result for Terry yesterday.
After reading my comments on our recent experience with the FMCA, the things I said about Fleetwood a few days ago in the blog, and in view of past criticisms I have made about things in the RV world (namely, the poor quality of too many rigs), a longtime industry insider told me that the problem is that Terry and I are outsiders and can’t see the whole picture.
It’s true. After 10 years on the road and publishing the Gypsy Journal, almost nobody in the RV industry has ever heard of us. We don’t go to the trade shows like the big Recreational Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) event in Louisville, Kentucky every winter to rub shoulders and hobnob with the movers and shakers, so we have little credibility with them.
We are not a part of the RV industry as much as we are a part of the RV community. We live in an RV 365 days a year, and we have for over a decade. We’re not in an office or a boardroom somewhere deciding what RVers want and need. If you want to find us, look in your nearby campground or at an RV club potluck dinner, where the real RVers are! Those are the folks who have to live with the junk that so much of the RV industry produces.
Maybe I can’t see the big picture from the viewpoint of the RV industry, but from where I sit it’s pretty simple: build a decent product, sell it at a fair price, and stand behind it if something goes wrong. That’s not rocket science folks, it’s pure and simple Business 101!
I have been accused of putting down every RV manufacturer out there. Not true at all! There are some very good companies producing excellent rigs, and I have applauded their reputations many times. Companies like Heartland, Winnebago, Tiffin, and Newmar, who have been able to withstand the downturns in the RV industry because of the loyal customer base they have earned.
Notice that I said earned. Customer goodwill is not something that just happens when a salesman hands over the keys to a new RV to its owners. It’s easy for any company to smile and pat you on the back when they have your check in their pocket and the ink isn’t dry yet. The telling point is when you have a problem, and how they deal with it.
Do they solve it without a hassle, like Bob Tiffin is famous for doing at his company? Or do they give you a runaround, and tell you it’s your fault their workmanship was not up to par, like too many outfits in this industry are famous for?
By the way, I’ve never met Bob Tiffin, I don’t own an Allegro or Tiffin coach, and his company has never spent a nickel advertising with us. But I am very impressed with the way the man does business, and someday I’d like to shake his hand.
Thought For The Day – People are more violently opposed to fur than leather because it is easier to harass rich women than motorcycle gangs.