L.L. Bean Excellence
Posted on March 11, 2016
Write-Up and Photos By Jacqueline Bennett newsandviewsjb.com
The L.L. Bean motto is “Quality Guaranteed Since 1912”. As if I didn’t already know what an outstanding company L.L.Bean is, I was recently given a rude reminder of what it can be like to do mail order business with a different company not equally dedicated to customer service.
The decision to do business elsewhere cost me a $6 initial shipping fee and another $20.86 in return shipping for the unsatisfactory item. That was despite a phone call and personal request I made for a shipping label. I explained the potential return cost and my surprise because there was no indication on their website that my return cost would so far exceed the sending fee. Not only did the customer service representative refuse my request, but egregiously she further refused to let me speak with personnel above her. Her ‘solution’ was for me to drive an hour and a half out-of-state to their nearest outlet store which would have cost me the $20+ anyway, in gas money. Not only has this company lost any future business they might have gotten from me but also a whole lot of good will.
In marked contrast, I have been doing business with L.L.Bean since before they offered free shipping and before they opened a store not far from where I live in Connecticut. My experience of this Maine-based company has not only been year round styles I like, lasting quality in its clothing and other products, but also genuine responsiveness to customers. For example, their institution of free shipping. One time I missed a fifty dollar purchase requirement to earn a $10 reward by one penny. I contacted customer service and a pleasant, accommodating customer service representative mailed me the reward anyway. That is good business. Certainly, I would not make a habit of making such a request but the courtesy of that gesture from L.L. Bean impressed me in a very positive way.
After many years of wearing a stone-colored L.L. Bean barn jacket, this winter it was time to buy a new one. What ‘Bean’ calls an Adirondack Barn Coat was purchased during one of their 10 percent off promotional events. I selected the shade of “loden” – which is a woodman’s green – with a plaid flannel lining, complimented by a dark brown corduroy collar and cuffs. I love it! It’s comfortable and in a classic style which I adore. So far I have worn it with a cotton L.L. Bean turtleneck accented by a chocolate brown, wool, moose design scarf, as well as, with a L.L.Bean oatmeal-colored wool sweater. Both were already part of my wardrobe. Barn jackets tend to be three season coats, perfect for autumn, winter and early spring – although yesterday temperatures jumped to 70 degrees here in the Northeast and if that continues, in 2016 we may skip spring and head straight to summer.
My excitement when a L.L. Bean catalog arrives by mail reminds me of an episode of the television sit/com “WINGS” when Nantucket pilot Joe Hackett, the character played by Tim Daly, was overjoyed because two of his favorite catalogs were delivered on the same day. Often, I tuck the newest L.L. Bean catalog in my sturdy, beautifully monogrammed L.L. Bean tote, which was a gift, in which I carry with me my camera equipment, my reporter notepads, UConn Huskies pens, and more. When I have a free moment I thumb through the L.L. Bean catalog – again and again- making my ‘wish list’.
It is so nice to have a company of L.L. Bean’s high caliber. What tickles this native New Englander even more, is that L.L. Bean was founded right here in New England.