Will Write for Incentives: When Sorry Doesn’t Do

Traveling back in time, this is a scenario that has irritated me the same as a grain of jacketsand irritates an oyster, but there is no pearl reward on this end.

Quite some time ago, I ordered two jackets from Global Travel Clothing. These jackets have a number of interior pockets and even pockets within pockets for a twofold benefit. When there is limited carry-on luggage requirements, storing items like a tablet computer or books in the jacket is ideal. The inner pockets are excellent places to conceal wallets or cash, thus thwarting pick pocket attempts. Past pick pocket experiences motivated my search for this type of jacket.

When the owner of Global Travel Clothing, Glenn Cope, realized I had been the Frommer’s writer for Budapest and Hungary and a current travel blogger, he offered a $40 discount on the two jackets in exchange for two reviews on my blog. Before accepting the offer, I had to make it clear that we would put them to the test and the reviews were going to be honest regardless of the discount. There would be no flattery for $40. We struck a deal.

The first obstacle was getting the jackets to Hungary. Fearful of Customs and the postal system, since I had already left the university, it was decided to ship them to my private student’s business with his permission. My student assured me the business receives shipments from all over the globe without a problem.

We were quite excited when the jackets arrived in time for our Quito trip in 2015. Interestingly, both jackets were created from custom measurements we provided as Glenn had suggested. Coincidentally, our measurements were within an inch or two of each others, but there was a significant difference in their final sizes and both were on the large side. Roomy is better when you have lots of pockets to stuff, so there were no complaints.

Though the jackets are warm, the material is a breathable sweatshirt type material, so climate changes were not an impediment. We found the jackets to be excellent with one exception: the zippers. As a rule, in the US men’s clothing fastens right to left. The zippers on the jackets started on the left, so this took some getting used to, but they also frequently came undone from the bottom. It was a hassle getting it right again, but when they worked well, the jackets were great. We still found them useful, convenient and they safeguarded our valuables.

Being a bit OCD, okay more than a bit, I posted three reviews with photos, one more than ‘contracted’. After reading numerous reviews of similar jackets, I was convinced this jacket best fits most people’s needs and I still believe this.

When we were in Columbia, Ron and I both wrestled with the zipper on our jackets more often than should be necessary. Politely, but with a definite note of being disgruntled, I wrote an e-mail to Glenn Cope suggesting zipper improvements for future jackets. I just happened to mention the travel scam we had dealt with a week prior in Mexico City, praising how the jacket was our savior in some ways.

Glenn’s response was apologetic regarding the zipper while sharing the news of a new style of jacket currently available for sale on his site. Another offer for bartering followed. He was intending to publish an online booklet about travel scams, so he asked if I would write two stories about our experiences with such issues due to our extensive travel experiences. In return, he would give us each a new jacket of our choosing.

Again, my OCD kicked in; I submitted four stories, not two, which he forwarded to the editor he hired to create the booklet. Both had rave reviews. Ron and I chose our jackets, the windbreaker version, but this time we had them sent to our friend Dan, who was visiting his parents in Philadelphia.

With great anticipation, we received our new jackets when Dan returned to Budapest. They were ideal with one exception. Neither one of them fit. Both of them were michdefinitely too small nowhere near the size of the previous jackets ordered. This was a major disappointment; we cannot wear them with the pockets empty. If we were to put any items in the pockets, we would resemble the Michelin man.

Glenn wrote to get my opinion regarding the new style jackets. After learning of our problem, he admitted they had to change their sizing system; these jackets were created from the old sizing charts, with frugal measurements. It behooves one to bear in mind these products originate in China, so large or extra large have different interpretations. Glenn did offer to replace the jackets with those cut according to the new sizing system, but that would have entailed sending these jackets back to the US via Hungarian post and then receiving new jackets the same way. The entire exchange would be costly and cumbersome with an unpredictable outcome, so we never bothered. Also, it was uncomfortable for me to ask my student to do me another favor as laws have changed and customs would have to be paid.  We have two jackets hanging in the closet if anyone wants to buy one half-price.

I do want to remember with great kindness and fondness the bag and duffel bag I received from Lewis N. Clark Travel Accessories. They have been incredibly useful.

If anyone has a product to review, let me know. I am open to offers, but honesty in reviewing is the key.

The scam mentioned above will be posted separately.

After completing my Ed.D., the frustration of finding a teaching position where I was willing to live, led to Ron and I leaving the country. We intended to travel for a year before settling somewhere in MA or RI. We left the US without any credit card debt, no car payments and our house mortgage paid by renters. We had $10,000 in the bank to make our way through a year.