We drove up to L.L.Bean early this morning because I wanted to see their silk long underwear in person before buying it. I last wore L.L.Bean’s silk underwear during the winters I spent up in Orono for college back in the 1980s. Wearing a silk top and leggings is a natural, comfy and effective layering strategy to stay warm outdoors in the winter. Long-time readers know my relationship status with Bean is complicated. I’m still willing to try every so often. Plus, I like to see the fish!
Last year I shared in a few different posts why I was breaking up with L.L.Bean despite decades of loyalty and satisfaction. In summary I outlined how the quality had declined so much that we were doing too many returns/exchanges which preceded Bean yanking their legendary return policy, customer service suffered and I witnessed them moving almost all of their manufacturing from the US to overseas. I wanted to move more towards buying US made and ethically sourced clothing. Here is an update, contrition included:
I feel ashamed. It wasn’t until L.L.Bean withdrew their legendary Satisfaction Guarantee that I took off my blinders. I knew they were making the majority of their products overseas; I knew the quality had declined; I knew prices hadn’t gone down to reflect that. I even knew that labor and environmental practices in China are notoriously terrible. Somehow I conned myself into assuming that L.L.Bean vendors were paid almost as well as their US employees; the “golden rule” they promised to follow wouldn’t allow it otherwise. Maybe it was more convenient for me to focus on pretty plaids vs shoddy treatment via wages to the people making them. I never did look into it until now. Here’s what I discovered:
A little over a month ago I shared why I was breaking up with L.L.Bean after nearly a lifetime of loyalty. Now there’s some breaking news (and a quote from me in this article): L.L. Bean scraps its century-old unlimited lifetime return policy:
“Company executives say too many customers abused the policy by returning worn-out items years after they were purchased.”
Dishonest people weren’t holding up their end of the “handshake” and “golden rule”, but what about L.L.Bean? (Updated February 12th with response from L.L.Bean, see below.)
It was January 1998. I was 29 years old, had graduated from the University of Vermont in the spring prior and moved to Freeport, Maine. I had a fantastic rental situation: the entire top floor of what was once an office building. I had a large balcony, three bedrooms, huge living room with skylights, bathroom, heat and hot water included, all for $700 a month which cost less than the one bedrooms I had viewed in Portland. In contrast I only owned one brand new bed, a black and white Apple laptop and small wardrobe (that quickly grew thanks to the surrounding clothing outlets.) I was literally one block away from L.L.Bean where my home was tucked in between restaurants and businesses.
Continue reading “Maine’s Ice Storm of 1998 & Blizzard of 2018”
I’m calling it quits with L.L.Bean. For many Mainers, when it comes to L.L.Bean, it’s personal, which is why this breakup won’t be easy.
Wayne and I went up to L.L.Bean in Freeport to buy him a new belt, but of course also to watch the charming July 4th parade! Continue reading “Happy Fourth of July!”
Summer really is here here and Ferry Beach, only minutes from my house, is my favorite place to enjoy a warm evening. After work, Wayne and I had headed over for a sunset picnic. Continue reading “Summer Solstice Sunset Picnic at Ferry Beach, Scarborough”