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Nia Schmald
(nschmald) - MLife
Big Sky on 12/03/2007 16:33:48 MST Print View

I was browsing the Big Sky website and noticed that Bob is offering up to a 20 % discount for prepayment with delivery between 20 March and 19 June 2008. Sound familiar? Any takers this time around?

Paul Huhn
(trlhiker) - F

Locale: Eastern NC
What a deal on 12/03/2007 16:59:49 MST Print View

You mean if you pay now, it will take anywhere from 3 1/2 to 7 months to get it!!!!!!!!!!!!! No thanks.

Bob Bankhead
(wandering_bob) - MLife

Locale: Oregon, USA
Big Sky on 12/03/2007 18:04:29 MST Print View

It's a common enough business practice these days: I run my company on your money.

It also suggests to me that his stuff may be overpriced as well. Ever hear those "No payments until 2009?" offers. Who do you think is paying the interest on that money and where do you think they hide it?

Reported high quality not withstanding, you'd have to be several bricks shy of a full load to deal with him under those conditions, especially given his proven past performance. Wasn't it P.T. Barnum who said "A fool and his money are soon parted."?

However, as we always hear..... HYOH ..... and Caveat Emptor.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Big Sky on 12/03/2007 18:24:45 MST Print View

But, on the other hand, wasn't it H. L. Mencken who once observed that "No one ever went broke underestimating the American public"?? Bob is still in business.....

Denis Hazlewood
(redleader) - MLife

Locale: Luxury-Light Luke on the Llano Azul
Re: Big Sky on 12/03/2007 19:25:56 MST Print View

IMHO Bob's stuff is not overpriced. The quality is superb and you can't beat the weight/floor area ratio. His new offer does sound a little like the same problem we had with Bob a year ago. I ordered and paid for my Evolution 2P 2D2V 373 days before it finally arrived, in December 2006. I've used it around 30 nights since then and I love it.

Hopefully Bob is not up to his old tricks. I'm hoping to get a "Porch" Fly for my tent. Bob says it'll be a while ("late January/February") until they are back in stock.
Evolution 2P on the Lost Coast - June 2007
Evolution 2P at Gitchell Creek - Lost Coast - June 2007

Paul Huhn
(trlhiker) - F

Locale: Eastern NC
373 days!!! on 12/03/2007 19:31:57 MST Print View

373 days? That is rediculous no matter how good it is.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Sucking Up the Big Sky on 12/03/2007 20:28:24 MST Print View

Anybody placing an order -- please post here so we can all have a good laugh. Thanks in advance.

Bob Bankhead
(wandering_bob) - MLife

Locale: Oregon, USA
Big Sky on 12/03/2007 21:46:16 MST Print View

Why do I get the impression from all that has been said in this and previous threads that while Bob may be a highly talented designer of truly great products, he does not have a single clue as to what it takes to be a successful businessman?

Why can he not acquire the investment capital necessary to make his admittedly fantastic products a marketing success?

Many entrepreneurs are absolute geniuses at what they do, but total incompetents as businessmen. The smart and successful ones realize this early on and hire what's missing.

If Bob could pull this together, I have no doubt he'd be both highly successful and highly profitable.

But then, after 40 years as a professional quality manager, what do I know? Ignore me. I rant.

Wandering Bob

Edited by wandering_bob on 12/03/2007 21:50:45 MST.

Richard Scruggs
(JRScruggs) - MLife

Locale: Oregon
On being "several bricks shy of a full load" on 12/04/2007 00:36:51 MST Print View

Don't think of myself as "missing a full load of bricks" all the time, but do confess to ordering a tent from Big Sky late last summer. I ordered a standard version that appeared likely to be "in stock" and did not add on a lot (or even any) fancy options. No carbon poles. No porch. No "superlight" fly. Just the basics, still very light.

Delivery was prompt, within a few weeks time frame as I recall, and I was pleased with the tent's design & quality.

I did have an issue with some of the velcro attachments on the pole sleeves of the fly not appearing to align exactly with velcro on the tent body. Bob remedied the issue by having me ship the fly back (at his expense) and then returning the fly (again at his expense, with shipping expedited shipping) with the velcro corrected just fine.

Emails between Bob and me regarding the velcro issue were speedy, with his replies always provided within 24 hours as was the case when I first sent him emails to ask about the tent's features before placing an order. Bob even called me to confirm the shipping method needed to assure that I would have the fly and tent returned when needed.

I post these observations because, as was the case when I decided to order the tent, I believe someone just can't be as bad as some have made Bob sound -- not when it was evident that he had invested a great deal of time and effort to create such a fine tent and bring it to market. The success of of his design and production efforts, as it seemed to me, indicated that he had pride in the quality of his product. And that pride seemed inconsistent with a total disregard for the satisfaction of folks who might want to enjoy his tents, too. So I dropped a few bricks from my load, and placed my order.

From my experience with Big Sky, my trust in Bob was well-placed, and I would order again from his company.

Balanced against Big Sky's history of problems reported in other forums here about unfilled and delayed orders, it also seems that Big Sky has a very good reputation for the innovation and quality of its tents. At least that's my understanding based on reviews I've read about the product itself, including reviews at BPL. I'd be interested to know if anyone has seen a bad review of Big Sky's tents, as opposed to reports of customer dissatisfaction with the poor handling of orders or pricing practices?

This current thread appears to have resulted solely from Big Sky posting on its web site its pricing policy with discounts for advance payment arrangements even though the tents covered by the policy wouldn't be available until sometime late next spring. Maybe I'm wrong, but I believe only one of the comments thus far posted in this thread, has reported a greatly delayed order based that poster's personal experience in dealing with Big Sky. That person apparently is pleased with the tent (nice photo, too), aside from the delay.

I appreciate the efforts by others to relate their own personal experiences with any gear purveyor so that I am better informed of possible risks or rewards of the gear or the seller of the gear. In Big Sky's case, I'm glad that I was "several bricks shy of a full load" on the day that I decided to test my judgment and place an order.

The tent is definitely a fine full-featured tent weighing in at right about 3 pounds. I know from postings I've read in various BPL forums, and reviewed Carol Crooker's interview with Bob, that Big Sky has had difficulties in the past in meeting demand for a very nice product. All those resources were considered by me before my order was placed for a Big Sky tent.

Now, I believe from my own experience that Bob does care about his customer satisfaction -- just as he cares about tent quality. I wish him great success in both areas.


Edited by JRScruggs on 12/04/2007 00:42:36 MST.

Sven Klingemann
(svenklingemann) - F
Re: Big Sky on 12/04/2007 09:13:50 MST Print View

OK - Bob may have had his challenges BUT! He is actively working on the customer satisfaction side (hiring!) and I have been e-mailing with him with regards to my experiences with his tent(s). Communication has been great and he has been very gracious in offering to fix/add options for free that could improve my existing setup. Granted - I have been frustrated in the past but at some point you have to move on. I also wish Bob the best of luck.

k sebler
(kurtibm) - F

Locale: Grand Canyon State
BS on 12/04/2007 13:22:57 MST Print View

It seems to me that if your company was in good standing with its bank or investors that you'd borrow the money THERE. It is illogical (and fiscally unsound)to give away 20% of your profit if the money could be borrowed for less than 1% a month; that is, unless there is 'trouble in Denmark' and your bank and investors have given you the 'cold shoulder'. Remember that they they would be privy to more financial details than US.


Sven Klingemann
(svenklingemann) - F
Re: BS on 12/04/2007 13:34:08 MST Print View

First of all, just because BS has a 20% sale on ONE OF THEIR TENTS does not mean that they have to borrow money. Not sure where that idea would come from. Second, they are pry still making a profit on the tent even after a 20% price break.
Just because you have a very limited sale does not make you bankrupt ...

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: BS on 12/05/2007 11:20:28 MST Print View

Here's what I gather -- both from my own extensive email exchanges with Bob Molen himself -- and reading about other people's experience:

1. If you have questions, Bob will answer your email very quickly -- same day much more often than not.

2. If you wish to buy, Bob will also respond very quickly.

3. If -- like the poster above -- you buy an "off the shelf" model without mods AND Bob just happens to have one on hand -- his response will also be lightning fast.

4. BUT -- If you pay up and Bob has nothing to deliver -- then suddenly, he's in China a lot and can't communicate with you (which is bogus). You get NO updates, follow up's, etc. for months and months beyond the supposed "expected delivery date".

Even a monkey can be extremely responsive when things are going well. What separates professionals from fly-by-nights is when things AREN'T going well -- in that case, does the seller continue to be responsive, to keep buyers informed -- and to do his very best to make it right for his buyers? Or does he go hiding for months -- like Bob Molen???

Basically, it's when things don't go well that you can truly distinguish the good from the bad.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Hire a Monkey on 12/05/2007 11:59:15 MST Print View

Maybe Bob could hire a chimp?

Young chimp beats college students By MALCOLM RITTER, AP Science Writer
Tue Dec 4, 6:46 PM ET

NEW YORK - Think you're smarter than a fifth-grader? How about a 5-year-old chimp? Japanese researchers pitted young chimps against human adults in tests of short-term memory, and overall, the chimps won.

Edited by jshann on 12/05/2007 12:01:19 MST.

k sebler
(kurtibm) - F

Locale: Grand Canyon State
Re: Re: BS on 12/05/2007 14:42:03 MST Print View

" Re: BS on 12/04/2007 13:34:08 MST
First of all, just because BS has a 20% sale on ONE OF THEIR TENTS does not mean that they have to borrow money. Not sure where that idea would come from. Second, they are pry still making a profit on the tent even after a 20% price break.
Just because you have a very limited sale does not make you bankrupt ..."

1. The exchange of goods or services for an amount of money or its equivalent.

a. Something lent for temporary use.

If he gave 20% off and SHIPPED the item immediately (exchanging money for goods), that is having a 'sale'. Just like the ethical outdoor goods suppliers do.

If you pay him today, but receive your goods in, let's say, 6 months (if the moon aligns with mars), all-the -while your 'investment' is at risk, that is a 'loan' paying 20% interest. If you believe that your investment wouldn't be at risk, ask the hundreds of folks who were duped the first time he offered this 'deal'- THEY will tell you the difference between a loan and a sale..


Edited by kurtibm on 12/05/2007 14:42:56 MST.

Sven Klingemann
(svenklingemann) - F
Re: Re: Re: BS on 12/05/2007 15:05:29 MST Print View

I do not agree with Bob's past business decisions/tactics. I myself had to wait for six months to get my tent. Do I believe that a lot of people are still p*d off? Sure. Do I believe that Bob can and will improve customer services? Yes, I do.
The fact that Bob is offering a 20% discount on one of his models does not mean that he has financial difficulties and the previous e-mails do not contradict this statement. The fact that this sale offer may incite people to buy a tent and lead to a (certainly reduced) profit is also not contradicted by any of the previous e-mails.
If Bob really needed the money he would be better served by getting a loan from a bank. This is ASSUMING that (a) he needs the money to survive and (b) that people would buy the same tent at the full retail price, neither of which we know or are certain about.
If Bob is not in need of any type of loan and if his sale incited people to buy the tent therefore creating profit, then this decision makes business sense. Does it make sense for people to invest in Bob's tent with (perceived)uncertainty about delivery and/or delivery time? That is a totally different question.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: BS on 12/05/2007 15:26:16 MST Print View

Frankly, I don't care if BS needs cash or whether this is a loan or a sale or whatever...

The only thing that matters is that Bob Molen is trying -- again -- to suck cash out of the buying public -- with nothing on hand to sell. "March to June" doesn't sound like much of a firm delivery schedule to me -- no difference really from the old "4 to 6 weeks" delivery that he used on people over the last 2 years.

So again, folks, please post here after you've forked over the cash so we can all have a good laugh! :)

Edited by ben2world on 12/05/2007 15:44:32 MST.

Richard Scruggs
(JRScruggs) - MLife

Locale: Oregon
What is the latest "sour purchase experience" with Big Sky . . . . on 12/05/2007 16:53:38 MST Print View

of which anyone has personal knowledge?

Last week? Last month? Three months ago? Six months ago?

To judge wether Big Sky is actually rehabilitating itself, some perspective seems fair and relevant.

Or is Big Sky rage like the Civil War which, at least for some, will never to be over and done with. As in that old song from way down in Dixie -- "A long time not forgotten."

As for paying upfront for a tent that you're informed at the outset will not be delivered until next spring, in exchange for a discount of the tent's price -- is anyone being forced to enter into that arrangement?

I doubt it.

Or can it be that anyone who's considering a purchase from Big Sky on-line is wholly unaware of Big Sky's history, even thought it's been spread far and wide, and/or can it be that someone fails to do any research uncovering that history before laying out the money for such a large payment with delayed delivery? I doubt these two hypos really exist, either.

To illustrate, a google search of the name "Bob Molen" by a potential customer would produce this link to Carol Crooker's interview last August with Bob, as well as other links that describe prior experiences with Bob & Big Sky:

Just curious about why there would be any objection to judging Big Sky on the basis of its actual recent history with orders, rather than merely assuming that it's just more "bad business as it used to be" for orders placed today and forever in the future.

It's more helpful to learn about all the experiences that anyone has had with Big Sky. The more recent the better. And good experiences as well as bad.

But don't overlook the fact that everyone is free to buy from Big Sky, or not buy. And with the internet, anyone who buys can easily do so with eyes wide open.

For me, I sure do like that tent.


Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: BS . . . . on 12/05/2007 17:26:24 MST Print View

I totally agree that all experiences/feedback should be looked at -- with greater weight placed on the more recent ones.

BS website lists Feathered Friends -- a very reputable company -- as a BS dealer. Just a few weeks ago, when a hiker friend was looking for an Evolution 2P2D tent, I warned him about BS and steered him to FF instead. What we found out was that FF was clean out of Evolution tents, and when FF tried to contact BS, they too got no reply!

This goes back to my post above -- when things are well and there are tents to sell -- you get great response from Bob. But when he's out of tents, etc., he simply doesn't respond -- even to Feathered Friends, his own dealer!!!

Edited by ben2world on 12/05/2007 17:27:38 MST.

R Alsborg
(FastWalker) - MLife

Locale: Southwest
Re: Big Sky on 12/05/2007 18:51:01 MST Print View

I noticed in the BPL gear reviews that anyone who owns or has tried the Big Sky Evolution 2P is very happy with the end product rating it a 5 out of 5.

I also wonder if how many of the above negative comments were created by people running short on patience or worse yet those just padding their BPL rating?

Another observation / testament to Big Sky is I’ve never seen any of their products listed in Gear Swap.

Funny thing few people want to eat at an empty restaurant… Yet they complain about the wait to be seated at a popular establishment, the service or even the price for dinner.