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Five Thousand Miles for Customer Happiness

Last month, we welcomed Jan Carlo, our new Customer Happiness Manager, to the team to ensure that you—our customers—are well-taken care of. Several days after Jan Carlo started, I read a customer email which began: “My name is Shinobu T. from Japan…” Shinobu went on to say that she had bought a small backpack for her 4-year-old son at one of our locations at the San Francisco International Airport, but that the zipper broke. Her son cried about it all the time because he loved the backpack and took it to school every day. Shinobu asked if we could exchange the backpack and gave us her address in Japan. Since Jan Carlo was hired for this very purpose, we gave the assignment to him.

“Find out if she has any friends or relatives in the United States where we can ship a replacement backpack and send it to her there,” I instructed him since we normally do not ship merchandise internationally because shipping costs could be more than the merchandise itself. Jan Carlo found out Shinobu did not know anyone domestically that we could ship the backpack to. I replied, “Well then, it’s going to have to be hand delivered to her personally. Figure out how much it would cost and how long it would take for you to take it to her home. Remember, your number one priority is customer satisfaction.”

Jan Carlo looked at me confused, but excited. He was probably thinking, Man, this is the coolest job in the world. My first week here and I get a free trip to Japan. I then had to say, “I’m just kidding. Find out how much it would cost to send the backpack to her and then ask Ralph (our CEO and Chief Traveler) to approve the shipment.”

Jan Carlo calculated the cost and took it to Ralph who had just spent the weekend watching his four young grandchildren put his whole house under siege. Jan Carlo explained the situation Ralph opened his mouth to ask Jan Carlo if he knew our company policy about sending merchandise to addresses only within the United States, but then Jan Carlo uttered these magical words: “Shinobu’s son is crying about the broken zipper all the time…”

Instantly, Ralph could relate. He told Jan Carlo to send her a replacement backpack and for Shinobu not to worry about returning the one with the broken zipper. “But she lives five thousand miles away in Japan!” Jan Carlo exclaimed.

“I don’t care,” Ralph replied, “Send it to her quickly with my compliments.”

And Jan Carlo did.

A little while later our social media consultants at Brandora ( informed us of a great review we received online from someone in Japan who had contacted us about a replacement backpack. That review prompted this story and epitomizes our philosophy that our team will go thousands of miles to make you, our customers, happy.

So if you are shopping for custom-designed travel gear, apparel, or accessories, please visit us at Here you’ll also find fun travel tips and inspiration. Thank you for reading our blog and have a wonderful trip.



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