Category Archive 'Urban Community of Fashion'

10 Feb 2018

L.L. Bean Drops Life-Time Guarantee

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L.L. Bean has a more fashionable and up-to-date customer base these days, and they are consequently dropping their famous “No Questions Asked — Lifetime Warranty” policy. NPR reports:

L.L. Bean’s outdoor gear — including its signature Bean Boots prized by campers and hipsters alike — is no longer guaranteed for life.

In a letter to customers Friday morning, the company said it has updated its return policy to give customers one year to return purchases, with a receipt. The previous lifetime guarantee, which enabled customers to return products years — or even decades — after purchase, has long been a selling point for the company.

[Emphasis added]

“Increasingly, a small, but growing number of customers has been interpreting our guarantee well beyond its original intent. Some view it as a lifetime product replacement program, expecting refunds for heavily worn products used over many years. Others seek refunds for products that have been purchased through third parties, such as at yard sales.”‘

L.L. Bean says the policy update will affect only a “small percentage” of returns and pledged to keep its mission of selling “high quality products that inspire and enable people to enjoy the outdoors.” The company says if a product is defective, it will “work with our customers to reach a fair solution” even after a year.

The return policy on the site now reads:

    “If you are not 100% satisfied with one of our products, you may return it within one year of purchase for a refund. After one year, we will consider any items for return that are defective due to materials or craftsmanship.”

A Business Insider reporter put the policy to the test last year by returning four-year-old shoes with broken stitching. He recounts that the cashier immediately accepted the return and asked for no proof about when he purchased the shoes. “Two days later, the brand-new shoes were waiting on my doorstep,” Business Insider writes.

At the time, an L.L. Bean spokesperson told the site that the return policy was taken advantage of less than might be expected.

“Our guarantee is not a liability, but rather a customer service asset — an unacknowledged agreement between us and the customer, that always puts the customer first and relies on the goodwill of our customers to honor the original intent of the guarantee,” spokesperson Mac McKeever told Business Insider.

The company traces its origins to 1911, when a Maine outdoorsman developed a hunting shoe with leather uppers and rubber bottoms. Its rugged products were designed with hunting and fishing in mind.

In recent years the company has taken steps to appeal to a hipper, less outdoorsy clientele. As Maine Public Radio reported, L.L. Bean has been “looking to really create a new updated fit and style.”

In the old days, L.L. Bean used to sell to real Americans, hunters and fishermen. In my family, we always wore Pennsylvania-made Woolrich coats in deer season, but we preferred the fit, features, and durability of Bean’s canvas hunting coat for Upland Game season. Maine was far away, and Bean’s hunting coats were expensive, but you only ever needed to buy one once. That hunting coat would last your lifetime.

Now, in the old days, nobody in the former customer base would have thought of ripping off L.L. Bean by going out and buying a shot-down pair of 50-year-old Maine Hunting Shoes at a yard sale and then invoking the life-time guarantee.

But, when you go out there and start trading with the hipsters and the liberal fashionistas from the city, the kind of people who shop at Patagonia and the revived gender-ambiguous “Abercrombie & Fitch,” well, it just ain’t the way it used to be anymore. Those new customers are not your friends and neighbors.

20 Nov 2010

Why Liberalism Failed

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Joel Kotkin argues that old-style New Deal liberalism aspired to improve general prosperity and new Obama-style liberalism proposes to facilitate the ability of the New Class intelligentsia to tell everybody else what to do. The New Deal erected massive federal dams and contemporary liberalism bans Happy Meals. The appeal of the petty dictatorship of the self righteous is inevitably restricted to the urban enclaves where the elites themselves live and to college communities full of brainwashed undergraduates.

Liberalism once embraced the mission of fostering upward mobility and a stronger economy. But liberalism’s appeal has diminished, particularly among middle-class voters, as it has become increasingly control-oriented and economically cumbersome.

Today, according to most recent polling, no more than one in five voters call themselves liberal. …

Modern-day liberalism… is often ambivalent about expanding the economy — preferring a mix of redistribution with redirection along green lines. Its base of political shock troops, public-employee unions, appears only tangentially interested in the health of the overall economy.

In the short run, the diminishment of middle-of-the-road Democrats at the state and national level will probably only worsen these tendencies, leaving a rump party tied to the coastal regions, big cities and college towns. There, many voters are dependents of government, subsidized students or public employees, or wealthy creative people, college professors and business service providers. …

The failure of Obama-style liberalism has less to do with government activism than with how the administration defined its activism. Rather than deal with basic concerns, it appeared to endorse the notion of bringing the federal government into aspects of life — from health care to zoning — traditionally controlled at the local level.

This approach is unpopular even among “millennials,” who, with minorities, represent the best hope for the Democratic left. As the generational chroniclers Morley Winograd and Michael Hais point out, millennials favor government action — but generally at the local level, which is seen as more effective and collaborative. Top-down solutions from “experts,” Winograd and Hais write in a forthcoming book, are as offensive to millennials as the right’s penchant for dictating lifestyles.

Often eager to micromanage people’s lives, contemporary liberalism tends to obsess on the ephemeral while missing the substantial. Measures such as San Francisco’s recent ban on Happy Meals follow efforts to control the minutiae of daily life. This approach trivializes the serious things government should do to boost economic growth and opportunity.

Perhaps worst of all, the new liberals suffer from what British author Austin Williams has labeled a “poverty of ambition.” FDR offered a New Deal for the middle class, President Harry S. Truman offered a Fair Deal and President John F. Kennedy pushed us to reach the moon.

In contrast, contemporary liberals seem more concerned about controlling soda consumption and choo-chooing back to 19th-century urbanism. This poverty of ambition hurts Democrats outside the urban centers. For example, when I met with mayors from small, traditionally Democratic cities in Kentucky and asked what the stimulus had done for them, almost uniformly they said it accomplished little or nothing. …

Of course, green, public-sector-dominated politics can work — as it has in fiscally challenged blue havens such as California and New York. But then, a net 3 million more people — many from the middle class — have left these two states in the past 10 years.

If this defines success, you have to wonder what constitutes failure.

Read the whole thing.

Hat tip to Bird Dog.


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