In this world, there are a few certainties: you’ll pay taxes, you’ll die and somewhere along the way, you’ll trade in your dad’s weathered duck boots for a shiny new pair of your own thanks to LL Bean’s generous no-receipt return policy.
But like an otherwise nice family dinner, we've gone and ruined at least one of those things.
Citing gradual but growing abuse of the lifetime guarantee that backed their goods from 1912 to 2018, the brand is now limiting their policy to one year, and requiring a receipt for any exchanges or returns. This is why we can’t have nice things. Or, this is why we can’t have nice things, for free, in perpetuity.
In announcing the change this morning, executive chairman Steve Gorman said that some view the good-faith policy as “a lifetime product replacement program, expecting refunds for heavily worn products used over many years.” Podcast of record This American Life took a look at the company’s return policy in a 20-minute segment in 2016, and concluded that the LL Bean “returns bin says a lot more about the customers than the products.”
Leon Leonwood Bean, you tried. We thank you.
Nota bene: It’s worth noting that their boots are super reasonably priced already, with their men’s signature looks all well below $150 with just a few exceptions. So pony up.
Image by Anna Chernichko