Retail Retribution With David Thorne
Someone once told me that the Internet was truly going to be the great equalizer, separating good shops from bad shops. It’s true everything that the Internet offers has changed the playing field so drastically shops are and have been going out of business. Adapt or die seems to be the motto everyone is pushing forward with these days. OK so you’re saying to yourself this is nothing new, well no shit but it’s always refreshing when someone outside of snowboardings core culture decided to poke fun back at it. Enter David Thorne and his debacle with Function 4 Sport snowboard shop.
Everyone has that one run in with someone who is working in what they believe to be the seventh level of retail hell. These people hate their life so much that the only joy they receive from their appropriate picked profession is to make someone else suffer for their short comings in life. David had a run in with a shop full of these monkeys. It started with the so eloquently dubbed Fatty, Fuzzy, and Tattooey shop monkeys sold him on a pair of gloves that didn’t live up to his expectations (or probably anyone’s judging by the description of gross product failure). Whose fault is it, his for buying what they told him would work or the shop that’s job is to guide customers to a product that fits their needs?
So what did David do in his predicament? Well he did what any normal person would do with a defective product, he took it right back to show them what went wrong and to see how they would rectify the situation. He was greeted with a nice “FUCK OFF, You’ve worn this!” Now is that any way to treat someone who paid for a product that clearly failed to provide what the staff told him it would? Being a bigger man than myself and not punching said shop monkey in the face he used his powers of photoshop to create this little gem.
Well that little diddy of an advertisement sparked an email debate between David and Anton the manager of the store. If you want to read up on that conversation David so kindly posted it on his site here. For more humor check out Function 4 Sports fan page on Facebook as many people have left some great comments. For those that are too lazy to enjoy a good witty and sarcastic read I’ll break it down with the best quote from a store manager I’ve seen in eons,”I hope you break your fucking neck in a fall noob.” That pretty much summarizes the stores end of the emails that David received. So being a fan of all things sarcastic, witty, and picking on the stupidity of people in snowboarding I’ve asked David for a little interview on this topic.
Angry Snowboarder: Firstly do you feel that “NOOBS” are the biggest blight to snowboardings culture and should be implanted with a microchip so that all knowing snowboard shops will know not to bother with them?
David Thorne: As an official noob, with L plates on my new Burton TWC board (I do actually have an L plate on my board as I thought it would be funny), I understand that my questions may be ones that snowboard shop staff have heard eighteen million times before. They are more than welcome to complain or laugh about this fact *after* I have put away my credit card and left the store. With equipment. Good equipment. Based on sound recommendations and experience. As a noob, I did do some online research but much of the information garnered was based on personal preference of the people providing the information. Yahoo Answers is probably not the best place to ask anything even remotely technical and wading through forums will often either give too much information or information I couldn’t care less about; No, I have no idea how to ‘detune’ my board or where to get free stickers to stick on it. I just want good equipment that will enable me to progress in an activity I am new to but enjoy and hope to become better at. “What size board do you recommend?” or “What gloves would you recommend for use in the snow” may be stupid questions but they are stupid questions being asked by someone entering a store promoting itself as an professional snowboarding supplier, expecting professional snowboarding advice.
AS: How long after the initial incident was it before you decided to place that advertisement?
DT: The advert was created the day after the incident happened. While I have heard the term “a dish best served cold”, I tend to write most of my material while heated up. The second advert was created after the final email from the store.
AS: If Anton, Tattooey, Fatty, and Fuzzy offered you an apology now and a refund would you take it or be fearful that it’s just a rouse to attack you in their store if they could actually break the shackles of laziness that bind their asses to their chairs and IPhone?
DT: I honestly couldn’t care less about an apology, a refund or the amount I paid for the gloves ($44), it was the fact that they recommended the gloves and less than an hour later after returning and showing them the result and damage to a $400 G-Star jacket, they denied any responsibility whatsoever. I actually stated to them that I was not seeking compensation for the damage or a refund, or even blaming them, but wished to swap the gloves for a pair that don’t bleed black ink when they touch snow. Having also purchased hundreds of dollars worth of base layers and 686 insulated Smarty cargo’s (I love them and would wear them out shopping if I could get away with it) along with the gloves from them earlier, I was actually very surprised at their response. If they did invite me back to the store in an attempt to ambush me and I was stupid enough to go, I would probably deserve a beating. I am pretty sure I could take on Fatty but I would need some kind of improvised weapon to defend myself against Tattoey and Fuzzy as I am pretty unfit. I did a jumping jack once but that was by accident.
AS: A similar thing happened with myself with Tyrant Snowboards as you mentioned in one of our emails. How dense are we Americans to not realize emails and comment threats can be used against us later on down the road? Any advice you would bestow on a person, shop, or company that feels they are almighty behind their keyboard?
DT: I saw the promotional video by Tyrant’s spokesperson. Even as a noob, I wouldn’t be seen dead on one of those things. I make a bit of spare change from the email exchanges I post on my website and have been lucky enough to have the book picked up by Penguin (thought I would get that plug in there) so personally, I would recommend individuals and companies alike put no forward thought into what they write and simply hit that ‘send’ button as hard as they can.
AS: On a softer note do you feel that dropping the proverbial nuclear bomb with your strategic retribution advertisement was warranted and do you feel any remorse for the shop involved? How about for the consumers that aren’t going to get their free set up?
DT: Every action has either results or repercussions. Those that rang the number asking for a free board are a part of the article and many who now realise it was a joke are happy to have contributed. I haven’t had anybody email me stating that they feel ripped off or resentful for wasting a phone call yet and many have dialled the number only because they realise it is a joke and want to be a part of it. Factions are fun. I will admit though, to putting little thought into the repercussions of what I write, do or post. I should probably grow up and get a real job or volunteer at a hospital or something.
AS: Do you feel that anyone mislead by the advertisement should sue Function 4 Sports for false advertising?
DT: No because it would ultimately probably be me who has to pay for them and I haven’t got any money. The money I do have, I need to buy drugs.
AS: Any thoughts on Antons threat of calling Johnny Law about this? Worried that maybe he could sue you for slander?
DT: It is always a possibility but I usually try to write under the banner of ‘parody’ and with a sense of humour rather than attacking. I have overstepped the mark legally a few times though. When I posted a fake internal memo from McDonald’s, regarding the implementation of short-changing customers as a procedure. A few days later I was actually arrested for fraud and had my computer equipment taken for evidence under e-crime legislation. I was hoping Ronald McDonald would appear personally in court but it was just some old guy in a bad suit.
AS: On a more serious note even after all your trials and tribulations are you going to be sticking with snowboarding and becoming a charter member of our culture?
DT: Although I am admittedly quite hopeless and truly deserve the label noob, I really enjoy it and tend to jump into things I am interested in. As I am rarely interested in things, this leaves a lot of time for the things I have jumped into. So yes. I actually grew up wake-boarding in Australia and assumed I would be a natural at snowboarding but the two activities are nothing alike – I am enjoying being a noob though and the learning curve that comes with such. I am also finding, with the exception of certain snowboard store staff, that people who snowboard are, for the most part, extremely helpful towards us newcomers and passionate about the sport and the culture that comes with it. As I am currently living at Massanutten in Virginia, this gives me the opportunity to practice a lot. Between bruised arms, knees, elbows and tailbones. I actually managed to do a triple flip the other day. It was unintentional and horizontal along ice but it still counts. I am hoping to snowboard somewhere soon that has actual snow.
The moral of the story people or should I say you shop people is don’t be a bunch of lazy fuckwads that hates on the biggest source of revenue for snowboarding. Kudos to David for creating the ad, answering the emails, and above all else being down for a funny little interview. Next up just need to email Anton and have him weigh in on this.
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