It’s a policy older than pretty much all Mainers: If you’re not satisfied with something you bought at L.L. Bean, you can return it.

But in the age of social media, was such a guarantee sustainable?

On Friday, the company finally said no, and on social media, more customers than not said they understood.

“Totally support this move. I’ve seen first hand the abuses of people bringing in garbage bags full of old clothes…” a commenter on the Press Herald Facebook page wrote.

Many Mainers reported having seen folks in line with dubious returns.

Others made the point that they assumed trading up for new models had been priced into L.L. Bean’s higher-end pricing, and wondered whether rates would be adjusted down to reflect the new system.


Still, most seemed to blame folks they knew were taking advantage of the situation.

On reddit, the top comment in a post on the r/frugal subreddit also blamed people for taking advantage, reading in part:

“I’ve bought Bean products, worn them to shreds, and happily purchased new. But it was also nice that they replaced a jacket for me when the zipper broke after less than two Winter’s wear. Companies can’t be honest and fair because people are so shameless.”

Similarly, posts aimed at camping and hiking enthusiasts drew a lot of discussion to REI, an outdoors outfitter who had a similar policy to L.L. Bean until they, too, had to adjust to the times.

Wrote one poster on the r/campinggear subreddit: “That’s exactly how it went for REI. The only guy I knew who was pissed about it from our regular group was the guy who would laugh how he hasn’t bought a pair of boots in 15 years but had a new pair every two.”

Back on Facebook, another Mainer was reminded of a similarly generous policy from Shaw’s that was discontinued after it was abused.

Many posters argued a general decline in quality standards of Bean products had as much to do with the move as anything. Still others tried to take a bigger perspective.

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