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Sporting Asses

Misleading advertising? – The Sporting Gentleman

Have you ever felt taken advantage of and got way too emotional about it.  That’s where I am now.  I think I felt guilty spending so much money on such a frivolous thing and when what I received looked so cheap a wound was opened.

I admit it was an impulse purchase, but the image of this Flask looked so cool I had to have it, despite the exorbitant price.  The embossed customized initials were a great part of the appeal.  So, I jumped in and ordered one.  Much to my dismay, when the item arrived there was no embossed initials, only a cheap looking print.  For $125 you can’t afford to Hand Stamp???

I tried returning it for a refund, but the form allowed no way to explain my reason.  This was the reply:


Hey, Thomas!

Unfortunately, your return request RMA1268540 for order 21987 has been rejected.
The reason your return request has been rejected is: See return policy
Need help? Do not reply to this email. Please contact The Sporting Gent customer support.
Thank you,
The Sporting Gent


I should have read the fine print that says the initials may not look like what was pictured.  Who reads the fine print?  If they know their product is not what is pictured, why not show an accurate image of what to expect to avoid misleading people?

Shortly after my rejection letter I got a request from TSC to provide feedback on the item.  This was my opportunity to take out my vengeance on the perpetrators of this crime.

Then comes a more nicely crafted email from “Team TSG” confirming the rejection of my request and inviting me to contact them with any questions.  So I responded with a copy of my feedback and a comparison photo.  A very sporting exchange ensued.

Here is their explanation:



Well, hi, Tom.  Thanks for the reply!  Very nice of you to share.

While at the moment it may not seem like our shop/customer relationship with you will last as long as that customization on the flask (the latter being forever, btw), if anyone ever has an issue with our quality or with any product we sell, we certainly hope our customers would contact us directly and chat with one of our shopkeepers, our real-life humans, regarding the issue first.  We could have certainly helped figure out a solution.  We believe in helping out, having happy customers, and following the Golden Rule, and because of that philosophy, we have 1000s of fantastic reviews and as many loyal customers both online and at our flagship location (insert grateful emoji).  That image you “posted” is an example and from Clayton & Crume directly, who use a different machine than we do – hence the difference and hence the disclaimer.  We either handstamp OR etch the leather with a very expensive laser which allows us to offer the same service of customization without the comparative issue of having a hand-stamped or hand embossed look – which some do not prefer.  Unfortunately, we cannot satisfy everyone and that’s ok.  We in no way mislead. 
With your obvious dedication to transparency I hope this also makes it into your blog.
We’re looking forward to reading your blog!  Please send us the link once it’s posted!!
PS – The image name had us cracking up. Thanks for that!! I’m sure people have told you already, but you should consider writing a book about humor as well.
Shoot straight,  Team TSG
I was duly impressed by the word smithing skills of the respondent.  But when I persisted that something should be done to make amends, I got a much edgier response.  Same person?  I wonder.  The first email thought my file name was funny?  And I already acknowledged the fine print was there.  Not the point.

Tom – So happy to hear from you again!

While we would have been more than happy to offer a solution in this case – being called “Sporting As***” is not going to light the fire of support from us.   And as actual Sporting Gents™, we would agree that they have honor, but they also have manners and treat others with respect. Sometimes we’re willing to say that all folks are not our folks – and that’s okay.
Oh, and we learned how to share images as well.  Here’s one from our website with three places clearly mentioning our disclaimer.  Please also include this in your blog and don’t forget the bolded and center-front “fine print” you so eloquently reminded us of – all three of them which are clearly shown here:
Picture of their website image saved as “Tomniceguy.png”


All the best to you, sir.  

P: (704) 896.5600
I had to chuckle about their comment “we learned how to share images as well” considering the issue at hand.


The final analysis:
  • Was writing this blog a form of therapy to help me let it go?  Absolutely
  • Did I unintentionally offend Team TSG by saving my comparison photo image as “sporting asses.”  It wasn’t intended for them when I first saved it, but I can see how they took it that way.  Didn’t help my cause.
  • Did I spend WAY too much time on this stupid thing?  Yes
  • Did I get emotional over a small thing and overreact?  Yes
  • Do I feel a little embarrassed?  Yes
  • Should TSG use the manufacturers photo that misrepresents what you’re buying?  No
  • Do they absolve themselves with the disclaimers in the product description? Maybe, but who reads the details when you are buying what is depicted in a photo which should speak for itself.
  • Will I be as proud as I thought I would showing off my fancy new flask?  No
  • Had I ordered directly from Clayton & Crume would I have got what I expected for the same price?  Apparently
  • Will I still use it? Probably
  • Was this a good distraction while I am quarantined due to Covid?  You betcha!

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