Today I received from LL Bean my old Boat and Tote duffel bag. I’d sent it to them for repair when—after 8 years of being lugged onto the Metro North to Greens Farms and the Amtrak to Mystic, hauling ski gear to Vermont and Utah, and sitting out the slow ferry to Nantucket—the shoulder strap gave out.
I was disappointed, of course, but I’d been hard on it, and I was sure that it could be repaired by Bean since it was made in Maine. (I was, obviously, willing to pay if need be.) But when I brought it to one of their stores, a saleswoman scoffed at me: “We don’t do repairs.” Instead of accepting a gift card for the sales price and letting the bag (now discontinued, and still very much usable) be tossed onto a large pile of soon-to-be disposed of crap behind the counter, I double-checked with Bean directly. Send it on up, they said! And so I did, and it came back to me looking perfect, with new d-rings snugly sewn back into place, ready for many more long weekends. Thank you.
"Guaranteed to Last" shouldn’t be just a slogan for LL Bean. It shouldn’t mean replacing low-quality goods when they inevitably disappoint with a voucher to buy more low-quality goods, a wasteful process that inevitably shifts the costs onto other customers. As it did here, for me, "Guaranteed to Last" should mean committing to make only those products that you are willing and able to insure have a long and useful life with their owner. Here’s to Made in Maine!