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FFIM is a non-profit organization devoted to promoting and preserving Maine's fisheries
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PostPosted: February 10th, 2018, 8:53 am 
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Joined: August 28th, 2002, 12:00 am
Posts: 1321
Location: Standish, ME
From Shawn Gorman's FB post:
"Based on these experiences, we have updated our policy. Customers will have one year after purchasing an item to return it, accompanied by proof of purchase. After one year, we will work with our customers to reach a fair solution if a product is defective in any way."

How can you argue with that? The consumer has to have SOME skin in the game. Frankly, I'm surprised it took them this long. The comments like "I closed our 2 LL Bean accounts today. Good bye LL Bean..." are hysterical. For those that didn't abuse the system - this has virtually no impact. The ones making statements like the one I noted probably abused the policy at will. I am confident that Bean WILL "After one year, we will work with our customers to reach a fair solution if a product is defective in any way." and, if there is an issue, it WILL be resolved. This will have zero impact on my buying habits.


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PostPosted: February 10th, 2018, 9:55 am 
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Joined: December 4th, 2001, 1:00 am
Posts: 774
Location: Vermont/Rangeley
Here, here Craig! 25, 30 years ago when I started getting back into fly fishing, I bought a rod at the factory store in Ellsworth. I didn’t notice until I got to the counter it had ‘fs’ scratched in the reel butt. I didn’t care, but out of curiosity asked why? People bought rods cheap at the factory store, broke them deliberately, and exchanged for new in Freeport... low life.


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PostPosted: February 10th, 2018, 10:28 am 
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Joined: April 30th, 2002, 12:00 am
Posts: 2530
Location: Pownal
It’s easy for someone like pushaw to theorize about lost sales and dump on beans hiring “some MBA” to increase profitability. But my guess is that if they are making this move, the amount of money lost via unreasonable returns (whether it be some douche swapping out socks and boots annually, or some fly angler bringing back bottom end lightweight waders in year 4 because they’re leaking in the knee) is much, much higher than we all think. And the profit margin on this stuff is probably much lower than we all think. There’s no way they would make a change to what’s been a core attribute of their business to attempt to gain a few extra bucks. No way. The way this stuff actually works, they could probably see their gross go down by 10% or 15% or whatever and actually net more.

Retail in the age of amazon is scary. Ten years ago there were no vacancies in downtown Freeport. Not anymore. I’m glad I’m not having to figure out how to sell shoes and dog collars and rain coats.


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PostPosted: February 10th, 2018, 1:25 pm 
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Joined: December 2nd, 2001, 1:00 am
Posts: 4006
Location: Ellsworth
We can’t really blame Beans for having clothes made overseas. Try finding American made shoes. My present boots are Italian. My sneakers are made in Indonesia and Vietnam. Of course most clothes sold at beans are made overseas

Try finding US made clothes at Macy’s, JC Penny or any other clothing store.

Same with outdoor equipment. If you want a US made fly rod you’re paying )600 at the low end, and close to $1000 at the upper end

Sub $400 rods are almost always made in China or Korea. Sub $400 reels are almost exclusively Asian

You can buy American if you insist, and we probably should......but we’re going to pay through the nose for the opportunity to do so. Just a fact of life in the “age of Walmart”

Dave M

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"Fish the West every year. Life is short; and you'll be dead a long time." Chris Hutchins--2009


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PostPosted: February 10th, 2018, 4:18 pm 
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Joined: March 16th, 2013, 11:04 pm
Posts: 575
What was oh so cleverly slipped in, is that the "Legendary" Free Shipping is now only for orders over $50. With the 500 layoffs,buyout, return policy changes, no more free shipping, and employee benefits cuts, and massive tax cuts I'm sure you'll see cheaper prices..........

I find it hard to believe that they are just now finding out people are taking advantage of the return policy. I could care less, besides boots I don't really buy anything from Beans, and can only remember returning gifts that were the wrong size, so it really doesn't matter to me.

In the words of Navin Johnson: "So it's a profit game!"


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PostPosted: February 10th, 2018, 4:34 pm 
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Joined: December 5th, 2001, 1:00 am
Posts: 5222
Location: Manchester, ME
I'm guessing that as LL Bean expanded its retail stores around the country, abuse of the return policy increased. It was always easy for those of us from Maine (and maybe also NH and northern MA) to drop by the store for a return or exchange. It was a harder to do that through the mail, and I suspect not many people bothered. Now that there are retails stores all over, I bet the volume of returns has increased, and abuse of the system with it.

The bigger scandal at Bean's is the decreasing availability of XX tall sizes at the retail store. :lol:


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PostPosted: February 11th, 2018, 12:50 am 
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Joined: January 24th, 2002, 1:00 am
Posts: 2328
Location: Lyons, CO
I guess we'll see what transpires. It's not the same statement about how they stand behind their products. I generally try to buy high quality gear and Bean's stuff is just not as good as other people's stuff in my opinion. Maybe there isn't really much change in the warranty policy and that's how they should've stated it, that for 95% of customers, this is no change. I'm going to take a while off until I hear how they are actually standing behind their stuff (e.g. how do they respond when a pair of waders is leaking all over after 2 years and 20 days on the river -- I know they used to take them back).

I don't envy their position -- it's not easy to be trying to put an affordable, high quality product out there. If you want to succeed in today's retail market, you need a niche where you can clearly succeed. I wish them well, but I think they are going to have to bring the quality up a notch to succeed. All long term business relationships are built on trust. It was super easy to trust Beans because of the warranty. Now they are going to have to earn it other ways.


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PostPosted: February 11th, 2018, 8:10 am 
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Joined: December 3rd, 2001, 1:00 am
Posts: 277
Location: Freeport, Maine
I think Jeff's comment is dead on. When Bean was a mail order company the generous return policy made a lot of sense. But they made a strategic mistake (hindsight is 20/20) when they embarked on an aggressive bricks and mortar expansion AND maintained the return policy. By my count they have 28 stores in the eastern US and it's a lot easier in the short term to back out of the overly generous return policy than it is to back out of 27 store locations to maintain the bottom line.


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PostPosted: February 11th, 2018, 8:19 am 
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Joined: August 28th, 2002, 12:00 am
Posts: 1321
Location: Standish, ME
In the words of Navin Johnson: "So it's a profit game!"

:lol: At the end of the day, all I want to do is get to the end of the fence.....with my thermos....and special purpose.....that's all I need.......


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PostPosted: February 11th, 2018, 10:02 am 
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Joined: February 11th, 2002, 1:00 am
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Location: Dayton, Maine
And this lampshade......


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PostPosted: February 11th, 2018, 10:06 am 
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Joined: August 28th, 2002, 12:00 am
Posts: 1321
Location: Standish, ME
Boneylegs wrote:
And this lampshade......

:lol: :lol: :lol:


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PostPosted: February 11th, 2018, 12:36 pm 
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Joined: August 28th, 2011, 11:58 am
Posts: 4
Weighing in:
LL Bean has been a famous Maine retailer for a long time. My wife has worked for them on and off for the past 30 years including a stint working for L. Gorman. I have purchased a lot of LLB "stuff". They are a great company that stands behind the product and I believe that they will continue to do so for many years into the future. The bottom line, they were grossly being taken advantage of for years by people that are less than honest and ones that literally thought it was a lifetime guarantee. I have returned my fair share of product when it broke because of MFG defect or didn't perform the way it was advertised or designed to perform. It has never been an issue and has always been done within a year. I have two quick stories and have many more from standing in the line to return new product for exchange or the aforementioned. A few years ago I was in line to return a product and the gentlemen beside me was returning a pair of hiking boots that I'm pretty sure just came off the Appalachian Trail. They were so beat up it was shocking and embarrassing that he was standing in the line. FULL CREDIT! Last week I was standing in line to return a new product that I exchanged for a larger version. The person next to me was returning a coat. As is the new policy, if you don't have a slip, they search for the record of purchase. The LLB rep was very courteous as she waited on the customer, digging, patiently asking how long it has been since it was purchased. She finally found the purchase, 2011! The customer was returning it because it did not perform to his exceptions. Same story, this coat was more than well worn, well worn enough that it would not even qualify for most on this board to bring to Goodwill, it should have been thrown away. Gift Card issued, $179.95!

I don't believe LLB has changed but firmly I'm in the camp that society has changed and a larger percentage of people will take advantage of anything that they can, hurting the rest of us. You can't blame LLB for changing a policy that is getting abused. I would urge you to continue to support a great retailer that has brought a lot to the Maine culture.


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PostPosted: February 11th, 2018, 10:24 pm 
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RoundaboutCaddis wrote:
In the words of Navin Johnson...


Inventor of the Opti-grab?

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"You never miss the water until the well runs dry" - traditional blues


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PostPosted: February 12th, 2018, 9:30 am 
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Joined: February 14th, 2007, 1:00 am
Posts: 1298
Location: New Hampshire
I've been stewing on this topic for days now, and have enjoyed the varied responses and feedback. I've come to the conclusion that we are a very narrow niche, and not one that can support hundreds of retail locations, and 5000 local jobs in Maine. While we have a voice, we don't have nearly the impact on the top line of the business to expect them to serve us specifically. A cited article in another post said this was costing them 250mm over 5 years. That would fuel a lot of growth or profit sharing.

One thing that always chapped me about Beans was their in ability to fix things. Every story told has been... Here is a new coat, pair of boots, rod, reel, etc. I was relieved when they gave me $10 to have my broken in hiking boots resoled at a local cobbler. Why they don't replace zippers and patch waders is beyond me. too much waste and financial impact in starting new every time.

Either way, as I sit here reading this post on my Blackberry, that I bought at the nearest circuit city, i can't help but think that i've seen this movie before (probably my last rental from Blockbuster)... while Beans is having one of its own Kodak moment, I really hope that this does enable them to stick around for a very long time to come. Remember Tim Soule posting a picture of a Shawmut brown, that was taken on a Polaroid?

There, I'm done now.

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"Fishermen...spending their lives in the fields and woods...are often in a more favorable mood for observing her, in the intervals of their pursuits, than philosophers or poets even, who approach her with expectation." - Thoreau


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PostPosted: February 12th, 2018, 9:34 am 
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Joined: October 15th, 2003, 12:00 am
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Location: Bangor
https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=he ... &FORM=VIRE


Most of my "work shirts " ( like Reardon) are from Bean's. Within one year, the left elbow blows out on about 75% of the shirts ( my telephone arm). They always let me exchange and I continue to buy a lot there. I went into the outlet on Saturday and the nice woman behind the counter ask me, somewhat downcast, if I had heard about the change. Not a big deal for me as my gear that gets used the hardest does not come from Bean's (or Cabela's for that matter) as it will not take the abuse it put on it.


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