Mary’s Musings

Way to go, L.L. Bean

Posted:  Wednesday, February 14, 2018 - 8:45am

It’s about time, say many of us, that L.L. Bean will no longer quietly let some unscrupulous customers take advantage of them and hurt their bottom line.The company is discontinuing its long-term policy of replacing old, worn, and damaged merchandise NO MATTER THE AGE OR CONDITION. Most of us have hated seeing Bean’s ripped off by customers (con artists in our opinion) who brazenly walk into the store with 20-year old badly worn boots, often never purchased by them in the first place,  expecting the company to give them a brand new pair. Somewhere along the line, they made the false assumption that Bean’s generous policy was a lifelong replacement program. Wrong!

While boot replacement is the most often used example, the company has been replacing EVERYTHING, usually with no questions asked. Can you imagine having the gall to walk up to the return counter with a broken tennis racket, worn-out skis, or torn snowmobile suit and expecting the company to give you a new one? Unfortunately, thousands have been doing that for years and the company has forked over new merchandise, even though it is estimated to have cost the company up to $250 million in just the past five years alone.

We daresay precious few Maine residents have not shopped at L.L. Bean during their lifetime, or at least owned Bean products since it opened for business in 1912.It’s a destination for many out of state visitors either coming or going, or both.L.L. Bean jackets and boots can be seen everywhere. Their merchandise is durable and lasts forever, it seems, which is even more reason to resent the scam artists who try to get new replacements. Rumors abound when it comes to tales or tricks used to swap old and worn for brand new. Some have reportedly acquired items from yard sales and used goods outlets and then taken them to Bean’s to trade in. It’s become a game for some customers, which is disgusting, because the more it costs the company for replacement merchandise, the lower their profits and the higher the cost for honest customers (not that some of these folks who trade in old, worn items consider themselves dishonest in any way; they’ve convinced themselves it’s all just a part of L.L. Bean’s policy).

Anyway,  it’s refreshing to know that this legendary Maine business will now be on a fair playing field as its adopts a new policy of offering a one-year replacement with proof of purchase – far more than most businesses offer. Of course, they’ll continue to stand behind legitimate claims if there are any problems with items they sell.We’re convinced that they have the full support of most of their loyal customers as they make the transition.