The Difference Between A Great Product And A Great Company

a close-up of a speaker

As a frequent traveler who has a pretty set routine, there are a number of pieces of technology that I rely on heavily to try to stay organized and efficient.  There are reasons I choose certain products, and this short story about a company I prefer.

High on my list are good quality headphones/earbuds/bluetooth headsets.  All have a permanent place in my backpack and serve a specific need.  They’re also all Bose branded products.  I carry the Quiet Comfort 20i noise-canceling headphones and absolutely love them.  You can see my review on them here.

I used to carry the bulkier over-the-ear headphones.  I found them to be excellent sound quality for my needs, and my first pair lasted me just about a decade before breaking.  That was when I first discovered that Bose has a robust product replacement plan.  They took my 10+ year old headphones back and charged me a $99 charge to replace them with the current model (I think they were QC15s at that point). The current retail price at that time was $250 or $300, so this was a huge discount.  I was hooked.

Plenty of frequent travelers have told me they have better headphones.  I’m not an audiophile, so I’m not sure I could put forth a convincing enough argument either way.  But, even if I concede that some of those folks are right, and they have headphones they might like the sound quality of better, I doubt someone is going to convince me there’s a better company to buy that sort of gear from.

Bose Covers My Mistake

My gear gets used aggressively over the course of many flights, getting crammed into my backpack or pocket of my jeans, taking a decent amount of abuse.  Having the backing of Bose for when I break something is great, being able to pay a small fee and have the equipment replaced, even if it’s my fault.

But, that really pales in comparison to my experience this week.    One of the most vital pieces of equipment I carry around is my Bose bluetooth headset.  I take the majority of my phone calls on it and manage to run the battery down to zero just about every day.  It’s small enough to fit in my pocket and durable enough to survive a beating.



I was rushing to get myself ready to go back out on the road after spring break with the family.  I think you can tell how the next part of the story goes.  Unfortunately, I didn’t check my pockets thoroughly enough and washed my bluetooth headset.  Shockingly, it actually still worked when it came out of the washing machine.  The sound was a little garbled, but I though that might clear up as it dried out.  After a couple of days, it had improved but was still a bit wonky.  I decided since I have a Bose store near my house I would stop by and see what the replacement cost was for the unit.

Much to my surprise, the warranty on my headset (1 year from date of purchase) covered my own stupidity.  I told them I washed the headset.  Literally 2 minutes later, they had already completed a free exchange for my headset and I was headed back to my car.  Completely free, completely easy.

The Final Two Pennies

Someone might come up with the argument that they’ve found a better device.  I don’t believe so for my needs, though reasonable minds can disagree.  But, I’m happy to go with the better company.

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  1. There are several brands that have better sound quality at similar prices. However, we also have some Bose devices in our family for the same reason. Anyone who has been a customer for several years has a story like yours and that’s why I always recommend Bose to people looking for a new set of headphones. “You’ll be happy enough with the product and you’ll be well taken care of by the company behind it”is my usual line.

    1. Sounds about right, Brian. And, I would argue that the products some consider better can really only be considered incrementally better, not magnitudes better.

  2. Most people do not know about the trade in program Bose has. I have used it myself a few times. What I can say about the earpiece you use. I have tried several BT earpieces, most of them seem to fail or do not offer the same sound experience over time. This Bose earpiece sounds great and works consistently, for me it has been the most comfortable.

    1. Leonard, couldn’t agree more on the BT earpiece. I don’t recall what I paid for it originally, but I think they dropped the price a bit as well. It’s a good value, solid sound quality and battery life.

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