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It's no secret that I love L.L. Bean. In fact, if y'all have followed along with this blog over the years, you've probably heard me sing the praises of L.L. Bean's famous Boat & Tote Bags and Bean Boots. I also really love their pajamas and house shoes. And their sweaters last forever... Well, you get the idea.
L.L. Bean products do seem to last forever. In fact, the company's eponymous founder is known for saying in the first L.L. Bean circular that "No sale is really complete until the product is worn out, and the customer is satisfied. We will thank anyone to return goods that are not perfectly satisfactory...Above all things we wish to avoid having a dissatisfied customer." That was in 1912. Those of us who love L.L. Bean have, over the past 106 years, grown accustomed to the company's lifetime replacement policy. Then, Friday morning, this email arrived.
There's always one or two jerks who have to ruin everything, right? I mean, WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE BUYING STUFF AT YARD SALES AND CLAIMING A WARRANTY RETURN? I've bought some vintage Bean sweaters on eBay, but I buy them to wear. Because, again, Bean sweaters last forever. And, because their quality doesn't end because the original owners were tired of them. And, because the original marketing statement made by Mr. Bean was built on the idea that customers were honest and not jerks.
For me, the rule of returns is "does the reason for the return constitute my misuse/overuse or a manufacturer flaw?" I've worn my sweater fleece pullover at least twice a week for two years, so it's no wonder that the hem of the cuff is starting to fray. That needs a few stitches, not a replacement. And I live in my slippers -- of course they're looking a little rough on their third winter. Those are on me, not the company. On the other hand, when I didn't care for the way a monogram showed up on a pair of pajamas, I did return them for a monogram in a different thread. I actually felt guilty doing this, as it was custom monogrammed, but it was a pair of new and unworn pajamas. I guess I'm the opposite of this guy.
How about y'all? What do you think is an "appropriate reason" to return a product?
Shop my L.L. Bean favorites below. I promise you probably won't have to send them back, anyway!