Tuesday, November 11, 2008

An Open Letter to Graco ** UPDATED

Updated to add: Graco officially rocks The HomeFront Corp! I contacted customer service this morning, and then I also dropped by the Graco blog where I again mentioned my stroller difficulties and left them a link back here.

The verdict? These people do not mess around. I got emails and phone calls, and by one o'clock they were telling me how to ship the stroller back to them so that could replace the whole durn thing! They have hooked this Mommy up in a big way. They even apologized in advance if they aren't able to match the exact pattern. The only pattern I care about is a seat up front and a seat in back, the rest is just gravy.

So to Lindsay, Amy, Michelle, and the rest of the Graco mavens, I extend a hearty thank you. And I am sure the stores to which we will venture with our new stroller will thank you as well!

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To My Good Friends at Graco:

Let me begin by saying how much I enjoy your products. I have been mothering for nine years straight, give or take the approximately two hours each night that I am allowed to lie down in my own bed without a child draped somewhere on my personage, and in that time, many Graco products have found their way into our home. We have always been impressed by their quality and durability.

We have listened to our babies over your monitors, we have fed them in your high chairs, we have transported them in your car seats and boosters, and they have passed many vacation nights in a Pack 'N Play. What I'm saying is that we are fans of Graco. In light of our long-standing use of your products, I'm hoping that you can help us with a problem with one of your strollers.

This letter pertains specifically to the Quattro Tour Duo Stroller. I don't think I can overstate my deep affection for this stroller. I big pink strawberry scented heart this stroller. I know that sounds weird, but you have to understand our family's star-crossed history with strollers.

You see, we have had many strollers in our day. Joggers, umbrellas, full-size, travel systems -- you name it, we've tried it. And what we have discovered is that we must be unfailingly brutal people, because we have broken every single kind at least once. In fact, our garage is where strollers come to die. It's not pretty.

But the Quattro Tour Duo? Oh, that's my ace in the hole. It is so easy to maneuver, the handles are the perfect height for tall people like myself, and it is as sleek as a double stroller can possibly be. It is like the Cadillac of strollers. No, it's like a lim-o-zeen.

And now it's broken, and I miss it terribly. Especially now that I am forced to use an umbrella stroller for the baby while my toddler roams the stores like a rogue agent. She's a broken field runner, that one, and it's better for everyone involved to keep her restrained with the Quattro Tour Duo's five point harness.

I know I have four energetic children, and I know that some of them, who shall remain anonymous, have the strength of ten men when they are seized by a paroxysm of childish rage over the fact that I zipped a coat that should only ever be zipped by a toddler. (It should never, ever, ever be zipped by the mother. Ever. I bring these things on myself, I really do.)

However, that being said, I'm sure you have rigorous product testing and strength trials, right? You must have machines that simulate the constant and punishing kicking inflicted on a foot rest in the throes of a tantrum, correct?

And I'm sure you also have machines that simulate the amount of pressure on a stroller's frame caused by a nine year old and a six year old draping themselves on the side, or possibly even trying to hitch a ride, while said tantrum is occurring because walking fifty feet to the exit of the store is something that no mother should ask of her children.

I'm sure you can see how much I need my Quattro back, so here is the problem I am facing. We have always been big fans of the one-handed collapse feature, but now our stroller refuses to collapse. We cannot turn the handle at all, and believe me, we have tried every which way to Sunday to bend this stroller to our wills. Kudos on the stroller's super strong frame.

My husband did manage to partially fold it up once in the past few weeks, unfortunately I was bent over the stroller at the time and he closed it on my head. I didn't sustain any injuries, but
you can see why we are loathe to try that again. It could be mighty hard to explain to a physician:


So how did you sustain these bruises on your neck, ma'am?
My husband folded my favorite double stroller on my head. Accidentally. Again.
Mm. I see.

Do you have any suggestions for me, my Graco friends? Have other people had this problem? Is there some kind of part we can replace that will bring back the portability of our Quattro? Our stroller is only nine months old, and I need it for at least the next twelve two years.

I am all ears, because I am not joking when I say that I need that stroller with the five point harness operational and fully portable by the Christmas rush.

Thanks for helping a mom out,

Sincerely,

Aimee

14 comments:

  1. Nice shout out.
    Stroller injuries...
    Curses.

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  2. I understand about that runner thing. Mine is 4 and believe me, you can't keep a good man down. Unless the store has a cart, I'm not able to shop there :( And he's too big for strollers, unless I buy one of those $300.00 ones (insert hysterical laughter here).

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  3. Too good. Almost makes me glad to have teenagers!

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  4. Did you call the Graco customer support #? They have people sitting around actuallyanswering questions like this. I should know, my hubby used to be one of them. Graco Customer Support is available Monday through Friday, 8am to 5pm EST.1-800-345-4109 (US). Give it a try - Chris had many stories about all the funny questions they got - I'm sure yours will be nothing new to them.

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  5. Did you call the Graco customer support #? They have people sitting around actually answering questions like this. I should know, my hubby used to be one of them. Graco Customer Support is available Monday through Friday, 8am to 5pm EST.1-800-345-4109 (US). Give it a try - Chris had many stories about all the funny questions they got - I'm sure yours will be nothing new to them.

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  6. We have the same stroller- it is the best money we ever spent. We had a problem with a part and called the support # and they were very helpful. My only complaint about this stroller is that I have a hard time unhooking the bottom basket to load/unload. I hope Graco can help you fix the problem!

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  7. YOu mean you take your children out of the house? All at once? without reinforcements? You DESERVE a brand new stroller from GRACO! I'll back you up on this one!

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  8. Wow! That is incredible. It is always nice to know about companies that understand how important their products are to their customers and also know what the words "customer service" mean.
    And, hey, maybe you'll end up with a pattern that you like more than the original.

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  9. Anonymous8:26 PM

    Yay to Graco for taking care of it!

    Whatever happened with the Lowe's paint story?

    -LisaL

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  10. ok I gotta say that Graco does rock! How many times have I called a customer service number to get someone who could really care less about my issue? so kudos to Graco - especially since I was there when you got closed in the stroller accidentally and I know just how much force it took for Rob to try and fold the stroller and it still didn't work!

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  11. SO COOL- while I admit GRACO is a pretty awesome company*, I think your wonderfully descriptive letter got to them the most. Perhaps you can write my complaints? Which wind up being edited 3-4 times to omit profanity and insert actual problems instead of vague threatening nonsense...

    * We use a lot of their stuff AND they're also ranked well on some kind of "Green Company" list.

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  12. Who says there isn't good customer service anymore? That's impressive.

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  13. Your update is awesome. That is the kind of customer service you just don't hear about anymore. Good for Graco!

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  14. Wow. Something similar happened to us when our two oldest were little. When the handle on our stroller snapped at the joint, I contacted Graco to ask for a spare part; instead, they sent us a brand new stroller within a week...and it was an even newer model.

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Go ahead and say it. You know you want to.