L.L. Bean Refuses To Let You Be Unhappy — Even Though It's Your Own Fault

L.L. Bean just wants you to be happy, ok? Even if your unhappiness is entirely your own fault because you ordered the wrong size shirts and had them monogrammed. They don’t care. You will be happy or else.

Reader Jeremy (aka Bulldog9908) says:

I wear dress shirts to work every day, so for Christmas, my wife ordered three new shirts from LL Bean. Like all my other shirts, she ordered them with my initials monogrammed on the pocket. Some of my old shirts are a little threadbare, so I was thrilled to have new shirts. (Kids, when you get older, clothing CAN be an exciting Christmas gift.) The Monday after Christmas, I pull one out of the closet to wear to work. The sleeves are too short—way too short.

I didn’t try them on Christmas day because almost all of my shirts come from LL Bean. They’re all the same size. I just took them from the package, washed them and hung them with my other shirts.

Turns out, my wife had confused my inseam length with my sleeve length and ordered shirts with the sleeves three inches too short. I was quite disappointed, but my wife was fuming mad at herself. That’s about $150 worth of shirts that had my initials on them and I couldn’t wear. We, naturally, assumed we would be stuck with the shirts. It was her error, not LL Bean’s. We’d just be careful ordering in the future—”Measure twice, order once,” to steal a carpenter’s axiom.

I encouraged my wife to call anyway, just in case, and explain what had happened. Reluctant to admit a mistake, she waited to call until yesterday. She wasn’t calling to try to return them, just to place an order for replacement shirts.

The conversation with the LL Bean customer service agent went something like this (paraphrasing):

Wife: “I placed order xxxxxxx in November, and I’d like to re-place that exact order with different size shirts.”
LL Bean: “That’s an odd request, why do you need to do that?”
Wife: “I ordered the shirts for my husband, and the sleeves are 3 inches too short, but it was my mistake, and they are monogrammed, so I know I can’t return them.”
LL Bean: “Oh, you need to send those back to us. We’ll replace them for you.”
Wife: “But it was my mistake. I don’t want you to have to pay for my mistake. Can I just place a new order?”
LL Bean: “I’m sorry, ma’am, I can’t place your new order for those shirts, you’ll have to send them back so we can replace them for you.”
Wife: “They’re monogrammed though, you won’t be able to re-sell them.”
LL Bean: “I understand that, but we always want to make sure our customers are 100% satisfied with their orders.”

This is truly an above and beyond from LL Bean. We ordered the wrong size monogrammed shirts, called them not to try to return them but to place a new order, and LL Bean refused the new sale and instead is sending us new shirts and eating $150 on the monogrammed shirts. Instead of $300 in sales, they have $150 in sales and three ruined shirts.

We hear that kind of story all the time from L.L. Bean customers. L.L. Bean just really wants you to be happy. You could probably buy a flashlight or something and then go back three years later and tell them you were feeling sad in general for no real reason and they’d at least give you a hug.