Saturday, October 11, 2014

Mrs. Backorder

It's sad when a company you have done business with goes downhill. I have been buying knives and other products from Atlanta Cutlery Corporation from the early 1980's. Back then there was no internet or world wide web, and companies like Atlanta Cutlery sold their products through the mail, and once you had ordered from them they would send you catalogs regularly to encourage repeat business. The original owner, Bill Adams, sold whatever captured his fancy, or whatever he saw as a trend in the knife magazines of that period, also the Knives annual that was edited back then by Ken Warner. He also sold knifemaking supplies in a small way, and many a professional knifemaker probabably got his start with blades, handle materials and hardware from Adams's catalog. I made some knives myself from materials from the Atlanta Cutlery catalog; I still have one of them, an Ontario sticker blade with olive wood handles.

Adams sold the business to Hank Reinhardt, and Reinhardt sold it to the current owners, Windlass Steelcrafts of India, the suppliers of the British Army issue Kukris to the Ghurkha regiments. Windlass has changed the focus of the catalog to their own Indian-made products, as is of course their right as the business owner, but their customer service has suffered, along with innovation. While they have a website, the merchandise shown there isn't linked to inventory, so if you try to order online your merchandise is more than likely to be backordered - - and this isn't disclosed at the time of ordering, you'll be informed of it in an email you receive after you place your order. You're encouraged to call the company via its 800 number to make sure that the merchandise you desire is actually in stock.

When you call the 800 number you'll probably talk to an elderly lady I like to refer to as Mrs. Backorder. She will happily take your order, and just as happily inform you that the item you desire is backordered, so you have the choice of ordering and waiting for the item to ship - - from India, via ship - - or canceling your order.

Today I tried to order a Kukri. Now, Windlass Steelcrafts is the sole supplier of these to the Ghurkha regiments, so if anyone is going to have them, it would be Windlass, right? Wrong. Backordered. Likewise with the "antique" Ghurkha Officer's Patch Knife (are they really antique if they can be backordered, or are they manufactured to order?) That was backordered as well. Then I tried the replica German WWI Trench Knife, which I had unsuccessfully tried to order on three previous occasions (backordered), and it was actually in stock! So, a trench knife should be here by the end of next week. Still have to acquire a kukri, though.


Mrs. Widget said...

If you have to wait, order from these guys

The thing is a monster, but cool. The really cool thing is unpackaging it and finding out it is really from Katmandu.

Bob said...

@Mrs. Widget: thanks for the link, I like the look of some of their kukris, and the price is much lower than at Himalayan Imports. I see an aluminum-handled one that is calling my name.