Customer Service

Working on the hammocks desk, I field a lot of questions about our products.  Ten years of doing this job, and this is the first time I’ve ever seen anything like this one, that came in the other morning through our site:

“Well hello dears, This is Betty Pendleton trying to reach you! You may or may not remember my husband, George, and I purchasing a lovely hammock from you awhile back; perhaps 2 or 3 years ago. A very sweet woman named Spring or Summer or Sunny (or something like that) gave us the best help in picking it out! Since the time, we’ve greatly enjoyed the wonderful relaxation of laying in a hammock! Your craftsmanship is excellent, and this hammock has been very good to us. Yet I have a terrible story concerning George. You see, he has passed away. Shortly ago my late husband was struck with pneumonia coming out of surgery. The doctor who gave him care thought it would be fully recoverable. Despite his old age, they told us, he’d be fine. Well, after 3 long months, Walter’s suffering came to an end. Yet, just before he moved on, George took one last rest in your Twin Oaks hammock, among the cedars and moss. The last rest he’d ever have. To me, there was no greater relief than to see him go in peace. The warmth on his face as he lie snuggly under the sun is serene. On August 23, George had officially passed in that exact spot. Today we are still recovering from this loss. Most difficult to put into words is how much George has meant in my life. 39 years of marriage, and never any regrets. For this reason, I find it unbearable to let him go. Today George still lies out in his hammock among the pine trees. He’s there deeply dreaming. Fortunately enough, hammocks do wonders to keep away rodents and little creepy things that might get to him. He has his own space to let nature take its course. My one big concern would be the material. Specifically, the notion that rope hammocks might stain. We wouldn’t want any remains to bleed onto the threads and ruin them. George and I have taken good lengths to keep our furniture clean & pleasant for company. The last thing we need is for the colors to go bad right now. So far he has been out there for 10 days straight. No harm noticeable! Now that doesn’t mean the future won’t hold surprises – which is why I’ve wanted to contact you for advice: Is it advisable to clean the hammock with a bleach based solution, or is normal soap okay? My guess is using too much abrasive solution could be damaging. I’d have to move George to get under the hidden areas. Well then, perhaps Alexandra would be helpful. Oh, do you imagine it’s possible to take care of the hammock without moving the body? Sort of tilted to one side, perhaps. I hope you shouldn’t take any of this as peculiar. My husband and I have always had odd behaviors. At 83 years old, maybe more than I’d know! My only wish is for George to get the eternal rest he deserves. Sleeping among nature’s beauty is certainly a greater harmony than left in a cold, dark box buried beneath the ground! I believe he’d have felt the same way of his care. All the best and God Bless. Sincerely, Betty Ann Pendleton”

Though one of the other deskies looked up the address and name of this customer and could not find any record of a sale (nor any such address at all), I decided to be straight in my response.

 

 

“Dear Betty Ann,

I’m so sorry for your loss.  It sounds as though you and your husband enjoyed a very special relationship, and I hope you’re remembering all the good years together. 

On to the practicalities of your inquiry, you’re asking about cleaning your rope hammock?  It seems that you have the intention of using it again in the future, once George has returned to the earth.  Your guess that you might want to avoid using bleach or other abrasive chemicals was right on the mark: if you need anything at all, go with a mild detergent, nothing stronger.  Do you have one of our traditional rope hammocks, or is it Envirope?  

You were worried about the color of the rope bleeding, which makes me think you do not have an Envirope hammock (since they only come in white).  The rope is UV-treated and specially made to stay out in the weather, so even in its current use as your husband’s place of last rest, I do not believe that the colors will bleed.  On the rare occasion that that has happened to other people’s hammocks, it’s with products that have been out in the weather for a decade or longer.  Your hammock, being relatively new, should be just fine.

My take would be to let George move on in peace; do not worry about moving him or caring for the hammock just now.  In a year or two, if and when you’re ready to use the hammock again, give it an inspection and see if there are any issues with it.  If the hammock has begun to show signs of wear that look as though they may affect the structural integrity of the product, we will do what we can to repair it for you.  We don’t provide cleaning as a service, but you can bring the hammock inside, place it in the bath, use a mild detergent as discussed earlier, and a soft-bristled brush to remove any dirt that may have accumulated during George’s use of the hammock.  Bring it outside and dry it in the sun before having anyone lie in it again.

If the rope or wood ever breaks, we can do repairs on those for a very modest fee.  Don’t hesitate to contact us should you ever notice such a problem with your hammock. At that point we can give you instructions on how to send it here. 

I hope the hammock holds up for many more years of service to you and your late husband.

All best,

Summer”

Twin Oaks Hammocks 
A worker-owned cooperative making hand-crafted hammocks in the USA
138 Twin Oaks Rd.
Louisa, VA 23093
540-894-5125
800-688-8946
hammocks@twinoaks.org
www.TwinOaksHammocks.com

 

I have a suspicion of who wrote this email, and if I’m right, I’m happy.  The person I’m thinking of used to play all sorts of little jokes on the community before leaving, and I really liked cos sense of humor.