Big Red Car here after a trip to Savannah to worship the new My Perfect Granddaughter. Today, we speak of LL Bean, but first a picture:
So, today, dear reader, we speak of how people can ruin things, specifically, the former unconditional satisfaction guarantee from LL Bean.
LL Bean and The Boss
LL Bean is a company near and dear to The Boss. Once upon a time, when he was a young, combat engineer lieutenant traipsing about the hills in South Korea, nigh to the border with North Korea along the Demiltarized Zone (an area which is totally militarized), he wrote to LL Bean inquiring as to their recommendation for a good pair of socks and boots to forestall the cold and moisture. [Typed the letter on a manual typewriter in a freezing cold tent dug into the side of a hill overlooking the Imjin River whereat there was a great sufficiency of cold and moisture as they were only a hundred miles from Manchuria.]
LL Bean replied by return post — takes a long time to get a package from Maine in the US to Korea in Asia — with a pair of hunting boots and a full box of socks. FREE. Did I mention they were FREE?
The Boss mentioned he had about 50 men in his unit and the Beansters sent 144 pairs of socks. Each man got two pairs of socks. You used to carry the second pair of socks in your armpit to keep them from freezing. Hello, America! The Boss has always loved LL Bean.
The LL Bean Unconditional Satisfaction Guarantee
Part of the LL Bean magic has been an unconditional satisfaction guarantee — has been for more than a century.
Now, the company will limit the guarantee to a single year.
Why, Big Red Car?
The reason is simple, dear reader, abuse.
LL Bean, founded by Leon Leonwood Bean in Maine 106 years ago, reports the following abuses:
1. People were returning merchandise which has consumed its useful life. This violates the spirit of the deal. It was intended to guarantee satisfaction with the product, not a free replacement policy.
2. People were buying merchandise at yard sales and returning it to LL Bean for new replacement merchandise — also, not the deal.
Big point — the LL Bean guarantee allowed a buyer to receive either CASH or a replacement product. The yard sale people were turning this into a cottage industry.
In the last five years, this has cost the company $250,000,000 — WOW!
New, tighter policy
Now, the LL Bean policy is as follows:
1. You may return merchandise for any reason within one year of purchase with a “proof of purchase.” LL Bean has exquisite records, so getting a proof of purchase is no high hurdle.
No yard sale baloney.
2. You may return defective merchandise forever. They will give you good merchandise.
Read about it here: The New LL Bean Guarantee.
LL Bean has always provided free shipping. Now, the free shipping requires an order of a minimum of $50. Not quite the worst policy ever. Fair, it seems.
So, dear reader, there you have it. Crooked persons ruin another great retail policy with their avarice and greed.
But, hey, what the Hell do I really know anyway? I’m just a Big Red Car, but I’m heading to Colorado to ski, so I may need a good pair of flannel lined LL Bean jeans, huh? Have a great weekend. Next week is Valentine’s Day.