L.L. Bean Rocks

The lovely Anne dropped us a note about her wonderful experiences with L.L. Bean. Apparently, L.L. Bean rocks.

After the first or second ring, a REAL LIVE HUMAN BEING answered. I’ve heard tales of such wondrous, magical, fantastical happenings, but this was happening to ME! Anyway, a very pleasant woman named Michelle helped me with everything and I hung up very happy. It’s true. LL Bean rocks.

Well, yay! Perhaps we will buy this crazy lime green jacket. Or not. —MEGHANN MARCO

Anne’s email inside.

    I just had such a great experience with LL Bean that I wanted to drop you
    a quick note. I was already frazzled and aggravated from dealing with
    other “customer service” people at other call centers (particularly that
    of a credit card company whose name rhymes with “Crapital None”). But I
    had “call LL Bean” on my list. I needed to exchange a gift I’d received
    and to order a gift for someone else. I didn’t anticipate any problems
    because I’ve heard from many people (including Consumerist fans) that LL
    Bean’s customer service is legendary. So I dialed.

    After the first or second ring, a REAL LIVE HUMAN BEING answered. I’ve
    heard tales of such wondrous, magical, fantastical happenings, but this
    was happening to ME! Anyway, a very pleasant woman named Michelle helped
    me with everything and I hung up very happy. It’s true. LL Bean rocks.

    I’ve decided that every time I have a craptacular “customer service”
    experience from some other place (credit card companies, utility
    companies, etc.), I’m going to reward myself (for not strangling anyone)
    by calling up LL Bean and ordering something.

    Given the state of customer service in most places, that could get



Edit Your Comment

  1. Everybody loves LL Bean. Even the beautiful stuffed moooooooooooose in their flagship store in Freeport, ME, were he to develop the capability for emotion, he would love Bean. w00t!

  2. Antediluvian says:

    LL Bean is great. They always have been, and I hope they continue. They set the standard for customer service and quality.

    While you might be able to find comparable products and save a little bit of money, you will lose in the long run. Put a value on your time and energy, and you’ll always win big buying from Bean’s.

  3. skippywasserman says:

    The flagship store is amazing. Oh, and the service while in the store is astoundingly good. The goods are, of course, top notch and they will help you find what you really need rather than steer you toward what costs the most.

    I will never buy winter boots or snow gear from anywhere else. Oh, and the flagship store is open 24-7. Yes, you can go shopping there at 3 AM Christmas Day if you like.

  4. Musician78 says:

    A real live human being answered? Perhaps someone was playing a joke on the poor girl.

  5. acambras says:

    Yeah, Musician78 — it took me a minute to respond when the voice answered. I’m so used to having that recorded-voice time on hold to gather my thoughts, so I was quite surprised when I got a human immediately. Kept waiting for “Your call is very important to us…. please continue to hold…..”

  6. ElizabethD says:

    I second all these warm and fuzzy emotions about LLBean. Never ever have I had a bad experience, and I’ve been amazed at everything from the helpfulness of the phone workers to the rapid shipping. One year when I bought quite a lot of stuff, they sent me a Christmas card! Awwww. I think I’ll drive up and hug the moose.

  7. dickius says:

    2 LL Bean Customer service stories:

    1. When I started seventh grade, I got a new LL Bean knapsack, which I carried to school (and basically everywhere else I went) for the next 14 years (through college and law school). During my senior year in college, one of the zippers finally gave out. I called Bean and they sent me a pre-paid mailer to send it back. They called me a few days after they received it, said they were very sorry it had failed (after 11 YEARS) and offered to send me a new backpack. I explained that my old backpack had a lot of sentimental value, and I didn’t want to have to break a new one in. They said they would fix the zipper instead of sending me a new one, but I would have to pay some ridiculously low sum ($6?) for the service. I said go for it. When I got the backpack back, it came with a note letting me know that they had waived the service charge.

    2. I’ve been wearing Bean’s blucher mocassins (not the same pair) since I was a kid–about 25 years. I treat them like crap and they tend to get ratty looking after 2-3 years, so I just buy a new pair. With one pair, though, the soles wore out before the uppers did, so I called Bean. They told me to send them back and they’d replace the soles. Instead, though, they just sent me a brand new pair! The big surprise, though, came about a week later, when they sent me a check for $3 to compensate me for the postage I had paid to send the shoes back to them.

    That’s service.

  8. homerjay says:

    OOh! I want in on this LL Bean lovefest!
    Retailer (and possibly company)

  9. segfault, registered cat offender says:

    As far as getting a human when you call, I’ve had them pick up before I even got the “ringing” sound on my end. Now that’s service!

  10. pestie says:

    LL Bean isn’t cheap, but man, they’re worth the money. For the last 10 years or so I’ve been wearing LL Bean Mountain Treads hiking boots day in and day out. Not the same pair, mind you – this daily use means I burn through about one pair a year, usually when the soles wear out. What amazes me most is that the quality of these shoes seems to be improving. When’s the last time you heard of that happening? For the first few years, this model of shoe had a problem where the soles would actually start detaching from the shoe, and it was impossible to repair them. I loved the shoes so much that I kept buying them anyway, and now they’re made with Vibram soles that last longer and don’t detach like the old ones did. The price has gone up a bit – I think they were about $80 – $90 ten years ago and are $119 as of today, but I really can’t complain. I think the pair I’m wearing now were bought nearly 2 years ago, so for that extra $30 – $40, I have shoes that last twice as long. I can live with that.

  11. Drinker Nisti says:

    I love LL Bean almost as much as I love Kitchen Aid. (Is Consumerist starting a “share-the-love-” feature on Fridays?) I use the LL Bean Visa a lot– cash back in the form of LL Bean coupons, free shipping on all LL Bean orders, and free monogramming…

  12. acambras says:

    Hey, I LIKE the idea of having a “share-the-love” feature on Fridays.

    Since I’ve been reading the Consumerist, I share a lot more feedback with the businesses that get my money — negative feedback or positive.

    I’ve written some “strongly worded letters” but I’ve also written some letters of glowing praise, especially when someone is particularly helpful.

    I knew I would be preaching to the choir with the LL Bean story, but I did feel like sharing the love. :-)

  13. sassenach says:

    Ditto, ditto, ditto.

    L.L. Bean is the gold standard for customer service, and their products last forever. I guess that’s whay they’ve been successful for so long.

  14. Shopper says:

    gotta admit the love affair ended. Got a pair of slippers and in less than one year, the “wicked good” slippers wore out. I wanted them repaired or replaced, but lost the receipt. For people that live in Maine, Bean worries about stolen items being sent back for money. I just wanted mine repaired. Nope. No 100% guarentee. One worker told me that the mark up on stuff is so bad that one winter coat costs $300 at the store, and sometimes is down to $50 at the factory outlet. He said at $50, they STILL are making a profit. That is a bit too much to pay. They also “flag” people that return “too many times” and will send a letter warning you. Mainers aren’t in love with Bean as others are….perhaps our salaries are lower, and their suspicion is higher.

  15. Shopper says:

    Try calling the 800 number and asking about the mark-up and return policy. Once in a while, you get an honest person who tells you the facts…$200 boots that cost about 1/10 that amount in Indonesia. Bean has almost completely stopped all American made goods. Less and less…..of course, not on par with Walmart…..yet

  16. Shopper says:

    by the way, that 100% down parka is really warm. It goes for $199 in the catalog. I got it for about $60 at the factory store. the color wasn’t selling so well. they said that even at $60, they still make a nice profit. Made in the far east, also.

    I really hope that Bean goes back to Made in the USA. They use the label “Imported” in the catalog. When they are proud of where it is made, it will say, “Made for us in Scotland” or “Genuine Wool from England”. But when it just says “Imported”, i

  17. tworld says:

    Duh, EVERYBODY loves L.L. Bean. Their merchandise is made really well, the selection is great, they are more than friendly on the phone, AND good prices.