CHESTER – The Billings Farm and Museum Quilt Exhibition was won this year by a quilt entitled “Darned Tough,” made entirely of Darn Tough brand socks, cut and stitched together in various patterns by Polly Esther Batting of Chester, VT. Second place went to a piece called “Quilt Chamberlain,” depicting various pastoral Vermont scenes, each featuring iconic 20th Century basketball star Wilt Chamberlain.
Batting kept all of the receipts from her sock purchases and, after winning the top honors at the Woodstock quilt show, attempted to return the socks to Darn Tough, still in quilt form. But, according to Batter, she was refused a full refund.
“I don’t understand the problem,” Batter says. “It says right here, ‘No strings, no conditions, for life.’ Why are they even asking me things like ‘what happened to these socks?’ and ‘Did you intentionally cut up these socks and sew them into a quilt?’ Those sound like conditions to me! I have the receipts!”
After it started to spread on social media that Darn Tough had refused Batter a refund, many leaped to her defense, while others seemed to think that there was still a place for common sense in this modern world. The company itself tweeted that it would accept returns on all socks, but that quilts were not socks, leading some to accuse Darn Tough of suddenly having ‘conditions.’
“So the socks still have to be in sock form? Is that not a condition?” tweeted @angrypotstirrer in response to the company’s decision.
“I thought about taking legal action,” Batter says, “but I actually got my refund eventually. The owner of the company called me and personally refunded me the money. It just goes to show you what a little Yankee ingenuity and persistence can do. Sometimes the little guys do beat the big guys.”
“Well, the company didn’t officially offer a refund,” says Ric Cabot, founder and CEO of Darn Tough Vermont. “I called Polly up and I bought the quilt from her for the exact price of the socks. I’m thrilled, actually. It’s a fantastic quilt, and I got it for less than the cost of the materials. I mean, an award-winning quilt made from our socks? I would have paid ten times as much for it if she had just tried to sell it outright. I’m beyond happy with it.”