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  1. Customer support and after sales service - the way it should be There are companies who make promises and there are companies who keep it; encountering the latter came as a pleasant surprise, not only did they keep the original promise, but went far beyond their remit to keep an end customer happy. The story goes thus. I land at my dad's after a couple of years [we live half way across the world] and during a nice balmy drink he jumps and says 'Son, I was meaning to give you something last time you were here, but forgot, let me go fetch it'; before I gulp the drink and pop the question as to what, where & why, he has disappeared back in the house. Out he comes after some time holding what looks like a Parker gift box. I knew that my father knew about my preference to fountain pens but did not know that he knew that I liked it that much. 'This has been sitting in the closet waiting for you, I thought you'd like it' is what he says pressing the pen in my eager hands. His eyes twinkle as I gingerly open the box and find a magnificent Sonnet. I don't know *this* sonnet says my logical side of the brain and goes on its way meandering though the existing mental database while the emotional part of the brain has forgot to close the faucet to the salivary glands. Time is not kind to satin and other soft materials that is used in the gift boxes these days especially when it sits for 4 years in humid tropics locked inside a closet. There are spots of brown and red and the texture and feel is tending towards a starched-cotton fabric instead of the silky, shiny that is supposed to be. The pen itself though, looks pristine! As the cap is tepidly opened, hoping that the dampness has not nibbled on the nib (see what I did there ;-), Out comes a gleaming dual-tone tip with squiggly scroll. A twirl and a peek at the feed reveals that it is an 'M' which is when logical bit of the brain returns with a 'Nadaaa' instead of a 'TaDaaa' and goes back again scampering, wondering if parker would oblige to change the nib to XF instead. A slight press of the nib-tip on the finger nail unravels a springy metal, NICE, and the faucet is opened again. With no internet connection [blessed is that place] and hardly a mobile around, 'net' still means something that you catch fish with and a tweet is actually made by a bird! A hole in the system is made by earthworms and what gets hacked is almost always a dead tree. A buzz is made by a bee and not by a marketing drone; finally, stars are still visible to the naked eye; a python is not what you script, but run away from. This meant 3 weeks of waiting before I get back to uncivilised world. In the meanwhile more dehydration ensued just looking at the golden swirls. This one not easy to capture on a photo and is lot more handsome/beautiful in reality. Fast forward; a polite e-mail is rushed to folks at NewellCo and a quick response received. Half way through the perusal, a smile breaks out on an old wrinkly face and both hands begin to pack the precious to be shipped off. Despite Einstein’s desperate protest against such statements, time did move really slowly for the next 3 weeks. Here is it ladies and gentlemen, the new XF on the Parker sonnet Chinese lacque Amber. Despite being an old model and having no proof of purchase, the Parker-waterman customer service team rendered a stellar job at keeping a promise – nib exchange. The pen was returned in excellent shape, superb nib and the interaction with team was exemplary. They threw in a new converter and a cartridge to boot. A Customer couldn’t have asked for more; and now they got a loyal one.

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