Friday, August 31, 2012

An Open Letter to Mr. Buffett

Mr. Warren Buffett
3555 Farnam Street
Suite 1440
Omaha, NE 68131

August 31, 2012

Dear Mr. Buffett,

I must start this letter by admitting that I do not currently own any shares of Berkshire Hathaway, INC.  I do however, find your investment strategy (find something good and make lots of money off of it) and your philanthropic strategy (give most of that made money away) to be inspirational and exactly what we should expect from leaders in our country.

But this open letter is not about big issues or strategy.  It is about one of your investments and why I believe you found it to be such a worthwhile place to park some coin over a finite period of time: Brooks Sports.

As you can tell from above, I have been a fan of yours for quite some time.  My mother taught me from a young age to respect the power of Berkshire and your strategies behind its power. She purchased a share back in the day, and made a handsome profit on that investment. She regularly says she "could kick herself" for selling that one share when the investment doubled, but it was still one of the best investments she ever made. It serves as a fantastic learning opportunity for us all.

I have been a fan of Brooks for a shorter period of time. After running a in a few different kinds of shoes, I discovered the Adrenaline GTS 11s.  These shoes were both light but supportive of my extremely flat feet.  However, like most shoe companies, Brooks updates its shoes every year so to make us runners have to change into new shoes.  Granted we run through on average 2.6 pairs a year, but I don't like having to get new shoes after I find a pair I like.

So when Brooks came out with Adrenaline GTS12s with a cartoon of you on it sole I knew I had to own these shoes.  These shoes were made especially for your last shareholder meeting. Not being a shareholder, it took some work to procure those shoes.

I called the only shoe store in the country with pairs of these shoes and ordered them to be sent first class mail from Omaha to San Francisco.

Good running investment?
I was then a proud owner of the Buffetts.  And they were great for about 125 miles of running.

While learning about this shoe and my need for it, I also learned that Jim Weber, the president and chief executive of Brooks Sports, has been trying to get you out to Seattle for a run with the Brooks staff for quite some time.  To date, he has failed.  So I will assume that while you know runners go through many pairs of shoes a year, making Brooks a strong investment, I will not assume you know that those shoes should last for between 300 and 500 miles of running. 

One-hundred twenty-five miles of wear and tear should not leave the heel clicking and the arch without any support.  But this is exactly what happened to my Buffetts.

In that I am in the middle of my marathon training for the fall season, I went out to purchase a new pair of shoes.  Rest assured, I purchased a new pair of Brooks.  This time I choose the Trance 11, a more supportive shoe to help deal with my shinsplints.  After breaking them in, they have been wonderful.  With well over 200 miles on the shoes, they are still going strong.

However, because I am a loyal customer of this brand, I thought it would be right to let the company know about the breakdown of these shoes.  I logged a complaint about the shoes online and was quickly contacted by Andrew in customer service.

Over the course of a few weeks, we exchanged emails with photos of my shoes and descriptions of the breakdown.  After we concluded our interaction, Andrew asked me to send my shoes back to the company and pick a replacement pair.  While I reluctantly gave up your shoes, I sent them off to Washington State and received my replacement shoes when I came home from work today. 

This is how customer service should be.  Runners tend to be a nutty group but we like to stick with brands who support us and remember those who do not.  Andrew was professional, understanding, and quick to respond.  He clearly is one of many who make the customer interface what it is.

In every other aspect of my life, I will look for a good deal for goods and services.  However, when it comes to my running addiction hobby I will pay the premium to purchase expertly fitted and recommended gear.  Your investment is safe in Brooks.  I know dozens of other fanatical Brooks fans who, like me, will never wear a different shoe.

Thank you for your time sir and I would love to hear back from you on any topic.

Best to you and yours,

the dcc


Robin said...

didn't read all of this. however, a) i did not realize it was warren buffett on the heels of my shoes, thanks. and b) i am on mile 230 of these shoes and they feel great? hmm.

dcc said...

I think it was just a bad pair of shoes. It can happen and they fixed it. I am now the most loyal Brooks consumer and will most likely never own another pair of running shoes.