In this case, JC, there really isn’t a loop to be in, as it’s both fast-breaking news, and poorly communicated news. I know of it only because I’m living it, via the following scenario:
–I talk to _____(not Amy) at UDC, who tells me that any UDC Nimbus 36’ orders will ship the very next day.
–I order a new Nimbus 36" online…everything seems to be fine, no Warnings
–Two days later, UDC sends me a mail saying my UDC Nimbus 36 has been handed over to UPS, and I’ll hear from them soon.
–Two days later, I do in fact hear from UPS. They tell me that the order they were told to pick up has been cancelled…by UDC.
–Thinking “Okay, WTF is this all about?”, I call UDC and get Amy. She tells me that the cancellation is due to one of their employees mistakenly creating ship orders for a bunch of orders that in fact were not ready to be shipped. So they had to cancel them. My order is not ready to be shipped because they don’t yet have the 36" wheel builds back from Kovachi Wheels, which has been enjoying a Thanksgiving break from wheel-building, even though we’re now near the end of the first week of December.
–In passing, seemingly harmless, Amy also lets slide that the current Airfoil rims they’ve received don’t in fact work with the Coker tires, but never mind about that because the TA tire is the one specified on the web site and it’s a darn fine tire. I think to myself–and say to her–that for the kind of money being paid here, shouldn’t the best 36" rim on the market hold both of the available 36" tires? When you’re “spending up” for a best in class setup, shouldn’t you be able to count on that?
–Amy’s response was basically “Well, this is what we recieved from the rim-maker, and we’re not sure he’ll ever do another batch, so this is what we have.”
In other words, “Our supplier is incompetent, but rather than challenge that or assert our quality standards as a buyer and reject their defective batch, or do ANYTHING to support our customers, we’re just going to let their incompetence ride and pass the defects on to the group most important to our long-term survival, our customers. So what if they have spare Coker tires hanging in their garage…they just need to learn to love the TA, and the TA only. And that’s fine, because the TA will NEVER go out of business, so the customer will NEVER be stuck with a totally useless rim hanging in their garage right next to their totally useless Coker tire, both of which were purchased–coincidentally–from Unicycle.com. This whole concept of interoperability is over-rated.”
But frankly, given the endless series of mistakes which has always been the UDC (in the US) business model, I don’t know whether I really believe the Coker tire won’t fit. It could just be incompetent shop hands. I want to move to Europe for an upgrade in competence.
JC: Since I have one of these defects arriving in the next week (if Kovachi is done with his Turkey Dinner)–and I have a new Coker tire on hand–I’d propose you and I run the thing through the rigorous “Black Butte Porter” testing regimen. Let’s see if we can get a Coker tire mounted and inflated above 30 psi (the point at which all the UDC tests failed), so we can provide some neutral feedback to the community. I’m pissed now, but am willing to invest some time in the spirit of journalistic integrity. We can run tests up until Christmas eve, at which point I need to have a functional 36" to stash under the tree. The children should not suffer for the incompetence of adults.