I bought my first SOG product, a PowerPlier multi-tool, in 1997. After looking at the available competition (back then there was only Leatherman) it was obvious that SOG had created a tool in a class of its own, far superior to anything its competition could provide. Even still, having satisfied myself that I was purchasing the better tool, I had no way to know back then just how invaluable that little knife would come to be. I can only compare it to the first time I picked up a smart phone and thought; "Wow, that's pretty neat," without having any idea of the convenience and security it would provide me going forward. Today, just like my smart phone, my SOG PowerPlier is one of the few items I carry everywhere. The difference, of course, is that I either drop or drown my smart phone every couple of years and am forced to get a new one. I still own the same 15+ year old SOG PowerPlier and use it every day.
A few weeks ago, a small thing happened that affected me quite profoundly. I was working on a piece of copper pipe, trying to crimp and fold the end. As usual, I was using my trusty SOG for something that I really should not be - placing more stress on it than is reasonable for a "pocket knife" when - snap! One of the jaws of the pliers broke off and shot across the garage. Ordinarily, with any other tool, I may have gotten a little upset, tossed it into the trash, and grabbed another tool to get back at it; however, having killed my SOG for no good reason other than to crimp some copper pipe, I was truly disheartened. It ruined my whole day, no kidding.
I couldn't bring myself to just throw my old friend away so I tossed it into my dresser drawer and tried to get along without it, replacing it with a standard two-blade pocketknife. I felt naked. It seemed like at least five times a day I'd be working on something and instinctively reach into my pocket for my SOG only to remember it was gone forever.
After a few days, I broke down and decided to check the SOG website to see if they offered any replacement parts I might possibly buy to somehow repair my trusty tool. I wasn't hopeful. After all, the knife is 15 years old and had been discontinued. I did see that SOG offered a lifetime warranty - which I did not know - and that they would replace broken plier jaws for free on current models. I thought, "Well, it's my only chance," and mailed it to them, along with a note, to see if they could salvage it.
After about two weeks, I thought I might call them and see if they had a chance to look at my knife or, since it was out of production, had simply tabled it until I called to either pay for return shipping or authorize them to toss it out. Calling the warranty department, I was caught off guard when a real human named Arnoldo immediately answered the phone. I was a little dumbfounded, having expected to leave a message or push a button or something. I asked, stammering a little, "Um, Hi. I sent you guys an old knife a couple of weeks ago with a broken plier jaw.. Oh yeah, My name is..." Arnoldo cut in saying, "Oh, the PowerPlier, yes sir. Is everything OK?" This caught me off guard again. He knew my knife, personally? And what did he mean by "Is everything OK?" So I asked more clearly this time, now having my thoughts better formed for a person-to-person conversation, "Yes, I was just wondering if you'd gotten a chance to look at it and if there was anything you could do. Do you need to look me up in your computer?" Arnoldo laughed and said, "No sir, Your knife is all fixed up and was mailed out to you a few days ago. I thought there was a problem. Let me check... Yes, the tracking shows it to be out for delivery to your address today." Huh? Fixed? Delivery? TODAY?!? I stammered some more, thanked him profusely, and got off the phone. I imagine he gets that all the time.
Sure enough, in a couple of hours the doorbell rang. I opened it just in time to see the UPS man climbing back into his truck, leaving a small box on my doorstep. I was thrilled. I quickly opened the box and could not believe what I found. SOG had not only replaced the pliers, they were upgraded to the new, improved version. They had additionally replaced the old, loosening pins with new ones, tightening the plier mechanism to new condition. They also attached a lanyard mount that had not been there before, sharpened all the blades to a like-new edge, and (I could not believe) even replaced the fine-tipped screwdriver blade that I had long ago ruined. I had a new knife again! My cost, zero. Lastly, they included a really cool little credit card-sized toolkit as an extra and completely unexpected gift.
Sitting at this computer with my trusty PowerPlier back in my pocket, I feel that I cannot adequately express my gratitude - although you wouldn't know it based on the length of this review. It seems silly to think that something as simple as a knife could be that important. Thinking about it though, I think my gratitude to SOG goes deeper than just this knife. In this "90 day warranty" disposable age, I find comfort and hope in the knowledge that there are still companies who stand behind their products, really do expect them to last a lifetime, and show by their actions that they are truly grateful to have their customers' business. I also find it deeply satisfying that I am able to support a company like this with my business. I encourage you to do the same.
- SOG customer for life