I was cleaning my photo library, and found some photos I took for a review of the Hand Glider that I never got around to writing, so I decided to go ahead cross it off the backlogged to-do list. I first read about the Hand Glider at the start of June via a post from The Unofficial Apple Weblog, when it became available for order on their website. The product had tried it’s run at a Kickstarter donation campaign for funding, but apparently failed to meet its goal. I guess the inventor, Joseph Bell, found an alternative means for funding and was finally available for purchase. I immediately made a mental book mark about it, since it seemed to elegantly yet simplistically solve a long-standing issue I’ve had with the iPad. There’s a lot of awesome note & drawing apps available for it, but the inability to rest my hand on the surface of the tablet really takes away from the experience and in some cases, hinders usability. The concept seemed sound – I’ve tried using touchscreen devices in the winter months, and they’ve been impossible to use when wearing gloves. In turn, I had no difficulty believing that a glove specially designed to only cover the contact points of the user’s hand would be a great way to work around that problem. Especially when it received an endorsement from someone named Kyle Lambert, a very competent artist judging by the pieces he has on his site.
So, how well does it work? Skip ahead to the end of the post for that. Leading up to that, I’m going to detail the entire purchase experience, since that’s just as important of a step in the buying process as the experience with the actual product. (All email text is copied in it’s original form)
I placed the order for the Hand Glider through their website. The order confirmation email doesn’t contain any information regarding shipping time. Even though I see on their website that the estimates are 1-3 weeks, I write an email to verify that time frame. The nightmare begins.
Friday, 06/15/2012 (Week 1)
All week, I waited to get a shipment confirmation, and never heard from the company. I replied to the email thread and asked about the ship time again, pointing out that they missed the window they’d given me. At that point, I was still cool about the situation. I respected the fact that Joseph Bell had come up with a creative and simple solution that resulted in an innovative and stylish product. I also realize that behind every small independent business, there’s a person trying to realize a goal/dream. I know that if I were to take an idea to market, the launch would be a little rough. I would need time to learn how to get things running smoothly. I don’t know when I sent it, since that message seems to have been deleted from Gmail’s archive. Definitely somewhere between Thursday (06/14/2012, when the week moved past the “early” phase) and Wednesday of the following week. All the stuff I wrote in the paragraph I also communicated in my email. I wanted to make sure that my email would be perceived as angry and demanding. I was still all about supporting the man’s idea, and was simply looking for an answer to a very simple inquiry.
Friday, 06/22/2012 (Week 2)
I receive a reply to my email:
Your order is scheduled to ship next week.
-The Hand Glider Team
I got a little annoyed; that was a curt response to the long and cordial email I sent. They just answered the question, and didn’t even acknowledged the failure on their part to follow through with what they’d told me. Still, I keep things on the nice side side of the spectrum, and wait to hear from them again. At this point, even the 1-3 week estimate ship time on their website has been exceeded.
Thursday, 06/28/2012 (Week 3)
The same exact thing happens again. I send another email:
On June 15th, I was told it was going to ship “early next week” (the week of 06/18). Then I was told on the 22nd that it was going to be shipped this week – it’s already Thursday, and I still haven’t received any information regarding shipment. Should I still expect it to be shipped out this week?
I was starting to get mad at this point, but still didn’t try to jump down anyone’s throat. So I waited for their next response.
Friday, 06/28/2012 (Week 3)
We apologies for the delay, we have been hit with an enormous amount of orders that have put us behind schedule. I personally will update you with a shipment date by tomorrow the latest. Thanks for your patience with us. Your going to love the Hand Glider.
Okay, more than EIGHT days later, I get a response. Even though it took way longer than it should have, I feel a little better – it’s signed by Joseph Bell. The big boss is aware of the problem, and makes a sincere sounding promise. It sounds reasonable, and after this long what’s one more day?
Saturday, 06/30/2012 (Week 4)
I learn that Joseph Bell’s word doesn’t mean jack shit.
Tuesday, 07/03/2012 (Week 5)
I refused to have to wait until the end of the week to get an answer. I sent another email, still not allowing myself to fly off the handle over the situation:
Your message from four days ago said “I personally will update you with a shipment date by tomorrow the latest”. It’s now Tuesday, July 3rd, which means that not only have I not heard back from you yet, but in 6 more days it will have been an entire calendar month since I’ve placed this order and I still don’t even have a proper ship date.
I’m aware that you must have a lot of orders – I found out about the Hand Glider by stumbling on the Kickstarter page after the funding period has closed. I think it’s a great idea that you should make money from, and have been very patient and understanding the past few weeks. However, after so many missed ship times and lack of follow through, I will admit the only thing keeping me from canceling the order altogether is that I don’t know of any viable alternative product. I don’t doubt that I’d love the Hand Glider – my doubts are concerned with whether or not I’ll be seeing it arrive anytime in the near future.
I look forward to hearing back from you regarding the matter, and hope you’ll have good news regarding the shipping status of my order.
I get a generic response from “The Hand Glider Team”. It was basically another “next week”, but at least made the effort to try to switch things up by getting more specific about the ship date they were going to miss next. Neither on time nor personally delivered by Joseph Bell, and…c’mon, Week 6. Things were well beyond ridiculous at that point.
Our new shipment comes in on Sunday and will ship by wednesday. We apologize for the delay.
-The Hand Glider Team
Monday, 07/16/2012 (Week 6)
I gave up after they missed yet another ship date, and decided to just wait and “be surprised”. I walked into the office to find that it FINALLY arrived…but there was something wrong with it.
Hello Joseph & Team:
I finally received my Hand Glider in the mail today, one (1) month and seven (7) days after I placed my initial order for the Hand Glider. When I tried to test it out with my iPad and stylus, and opened the envelope and removed the Hand Glider. As soon as I took it out of the envelope, I immediately noticed a large loose thread (attached: IMG_0700.jpg).Upon investigating the thread, I noticed that it was loose at a point where the inner lining and outer lining are stitched together along the wrist, resulting in a gap that’s about 1cm long (attached: IMG_0701.jpg). At this point, I don’t even know what to say. When I placed the order on your website, it said that orders ship within 2-3 weeks. After waiting over a month to receive The Hand Glider with so many missed ship dates and lack of follow-up in communications, I was very angry to find what I received in the mail is a defective product that was already falling apart before I even received it. This entire has experience has been a nightmare of an ordeal, and the state of the product upon receipt is unacceptable. I appreciate your prompt response.
Tuesday, 07/17/2012 (Week 6)
We apologize that after such a long wait for this product you are in satisfied with it. We will ship a new one out to you this week. We want our customers to be happy with the money they spent. Please return the defective glove to the address on our site.
Again we apologize.
I’ve received more apologies from these people than I know what to do with. Not only has there been delay after delay, but then they have the gall to ask me to mail it back to them. They’ve wasted so much of my time, and then I’m supposed to pay out of pocket to send them back their defective product? Wow.
Saturday, 07/21/2012 (Week 6)
Your exchange was shipped yesterday. We will look out for the defective glove.
Monday, 07/23/2012 (Week 7)
The replacement Hand Glider arrives! I pull it out to examine it, and notice that something feels different. I looked for the original one they sent me, then compared the two. It seems that loose thread wasn’t the only defect.
Left: Original Right: Replacement
In my disappointment with the original one already coming apart at the seams, i didn’t bother to look at the rest of it or even try it on. When I compared it to the replacement, I realized that it wasn’t even SHAPED properly. The first one they sent doesn’t even look like it’s shaped for a hand…unless your pinky happens to be the size and shape of a penis.
See it now?
THAT SUCKED…BUT HOW DOES IT WORK?
If the video doesn’t play for some reason, here’s a clue: it doesn’t.
Here’s a screenshot I took after the test in the video:
If you’re wondering, I was trying to write “Does this thing work?” The Hand Glider doesn’t. Resting my hand on the screen with the glove on prevented the iPad from properly detecting input from my Wacom Bamboo Stylus, and even created a few random dots.
It’s been little over a month since I gave up on the Hand Glider. After that terrible experience, I didn’t bother to send back the junk glove they sent me the first time. I didn’t bother to email them again and go through more hoops trying to get a refund. At that point, I just wanted to be done dealing with them, cut my loss, and not waste any more of my time. I meant to write this back then, but I stopped myself – I didn’t want to publish something on the internet with my name on attached to it out of anger. I felt if someone was going to call attention to the awful customer service and quality issues of the product, it wasn’t going to be me. Those type of things can have unintended influence – I didn’t want a rant on my part to negatively affect Joseph and his employees’ lives. Now that I was reminded of this as I was going through my photo library, I felt compelled to finally write it and push it to the web.
I no longer harbor anger over the situation, but I don’t want to just write it off. If there’s someone that’s contemplating buying the Hand Glider and stumbles upon this post, I want them to know what exactly it is they might be getting into. It would have made a considerable difference in how all of this played out if I’d known in advance what to possibly expect. I also hope this helps light the fire under Joseph’s ass to get his shit together – selling something that doesn’t work and neglecting your customers throughout every step of the buying process is not the way to succeed in business. If this does happen to have any negative, I regret it – but I don’t apologize for it. Fault for that, if it happens, is all on him and his team.