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NPR Reports: REI vs L.L. Bean Return Policy
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Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Locale: MaxTheCyclist.com
Let's Get Serious about Arguments with Max on BPL on 09/25/2013 10:37:19 MDT Print View

Dean,

My example of a sick wife was not meant to combat the morality of the policy. It was intended to combat your idea that you can fundamentally decide the morality of a return from your desk chair.

I hardly decided you were a judgmental curmudgeon. Perhaps it's useless to explain, since as you said, you're refusing to change, but perhaps I can enlighten you to a different perspective;

Don't worry about it. Why are you worried about it? Ask yourself what it does for you, or anyone else, to declare it wrong in a forum and publicly condemn a few hundred strangers to your blacklist.

Taking a stand and saying something is all well and good when there's real harm. However, REI and Backcountry and L.L. Bean are making money, expanding, producing jobs, and opening more stores- all while their return policies remain somewhat the same. So, there's really no "cause" to fight for at all.

When you spend time judging people you don't know, you waste time. "We all form opinions" is mostly true. I'm guilty of it myself. But clinging to those opinions like the lever on a guillotine is terrible karma. You're better off investing your time in yourself, or in your positive interactions. I try to shake the habit whenever I can. I don't know you, so I'll give you the benefit of the doubt in any question of your platitude, and ultimately, I will feel better and be more inclined to treat you with respect. Not jsut you; anyone I encounter.

Judgement, for some people, is something that ends up ruling them. If you spin wildly trying to figure out who's wronged your sense of good, you'll forget to foster change by being a positive example with positive things to say.

Edit: Typos

Edited by mdilthey on 09/25/2013 10:39:11 MDT.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Locale: MaxTheCyclist.com
Whoops! on 09/25/2013 10:38:28 MDT Print View

Stephen,

Bad example. The music industry makes a lot more money today than they did when they were selling CD's. Same with HBO and Microsoft Office, which are commonly pirated.

----------------------------------------

Actually, I take that back. Maybe it's a great example. Everyone can jump on a soapbox against pirating, but ultimately, pirating things like Game of Thrones did more for HBO than any marketing they ever invested in. It was free, and it catapulted them.

I would argue that the return policy issue is the same horse. It's easy to make a logical argument that it's harmful, but in the end, I think it might actually be better for REI/etc. in the long term.

If I was worried about the durability of my XTherm and my Ghost Whisperer, I probably would've bought the $30 stuff instead. And here I am, using both, and $300 poorer for it. All to REI and Backcountry.

Edited by mdilthey on 09/25/2013 10:43:50 MDT.

Dena Kelley
(EagleRiverDee) - M

Locale: Eagle River, Alaska
"NPR Reports: REI vs L.L. Bean Return Policy" on 09/25/2013 10:38:56 MDT Print View

I like LL Bean. I bought some flannel sheets from them yesterday (and got a $10 gift card from them today as a thank you, which I'll probably use to buy a pair of flannel lined jeans). I have one of their Microlight FS1 tents, which is a good design but a bit heavy for what it is. Bombproof, though.

That said, I have to agree a bit with Spelt. People need to get over the REI policy change. This is NOT an attack on Max, or anyone else here. I just think it's much ado about nothing, and agree with Spelt that if you don't know within a year whether a piece of gear fits, works or is robust enough then the problem isn't REI's return policy.

Edited by EagleRiverDee on 09/25/2013 10:49:02 MDT.

Stephen Komae
(skomae) - MLife

Locale: northeastern US
Re: Oh, I'll judge you if I so choose, Brother... on 09/25/2013 10:43:41 MDT Print View

> The deal that is made when one buys an item from a store like REI or LL Bean is that you will pay the agreed price and can return it if you find it somehow unsatisfactory. Returning a shoe if the sole delaminates after only a couple of hundred miles meets this standard. Returning one when the tread is worn out after 700 trail miles does not, and that is what some people are doing. I am happy to make a stand and say that this is wrong.

> The amount of profit that REI or MEC makes is immaterial- you paid the agreed price and made that deal. That REI and LL Bean preferred not to rigorously define what "finding an item unsatisfactory" exactly means in the interests of keeping customers happy does not somehow make it MORAL to cheat them. That's specious. You're basically saying "It's ok to rob them if they didn't make enough effort to keep me from robbing them." (Please excuse the straw-man, there.)

> We have ALL seen the worn-out shoes at the REI garage sales.

I think this is really key. It is not REI's intention to be your lifetime shoe subscription for one flat fee. I've seen people treat it as such and it really bothers me.

Such abuses hurt not just REI, but all other customers of REI. Now that the policy has been tightened up, when we have legitimate issues with things we buy we have to think about a time limit and whether we are going to really be able to justify it to a manager. That's why we can't have nice things.

The argument that REI's policy is made to be abused is false as well. It is made so that customers, in good faith, are able to return things that are legitimately not working out for them.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Locale: MaxTheCyclist.com
Abuse on 09/25/2013 10:44:56 MDT Print View

I definitely don't think it's designed to be abused, nor do I think that's ok.

I definitely DO think it's designed to handle the inevitable abuse that does occur.

Will Webster
(WillWeb) - M
Linda Bean on 09/25/2013 10:45:00 MDT Print View

Dean, I admire your determination not to do business with a company if it has a Director or major stockholder whose politics are extremely different from yours. Good luck with that.

It looks to me like the Bean family members controlling/owning the company include both liberals and conservatives. Their PAC gives about equally to Democrats and Republicans. I don't see a problem with continuing to give them my business.

Dean F.
(acrosome) - MLife

Locale: Back in the Front Range
Re: Let's Get Serious about Arguments with Max on BPL on 09/25/2013 10:49:14 MDT Print View

Well, I have to turn that around, Max, and ask why you care so much about what others think of you in an internet forum? :)

For that matter, why did you bring up the return policy issue at all, then? Just to troll? YOU seem to be the one with a 'cause"- defending the practice of abusing return policies.

I hardly obsess about this. But if you ask I will answer, and you asked, if only indirectly. And my answer is that the abuse is wrong. And we all know that it was abuse. And it ruined things for the rest of us. As I said, I am comfortable making that call.

Saying that judging others is a waste of time is false. One could argue that you have a duty to point out injustice when you see it- it lets others know that they have earned your scorn and just MIGHT influence them to change their habits. This is a boon to society, and thus all of us. John Burke and all that, even if that was a misquote- "All that is required for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."

And, again, you used a false argument. The fact that REI and Backcountry and LL Bean are profitable does not magically make it moral to cheat them. That's just rationalization on your part. It is not moral to pickpocket a rich person just because they can afford to lose the $20.

Edited by acrosome on 09/25/2013 10:59:12 MDT.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Locale: MaxTheCyclist.com
Re: on 09/25/2013 10:50:40 MDT Print View

Dean,

I tried.

Dean F.
(acrosome) - MLife

Locale: Back in the Front Range
Re: Linda Bean on 09/25/2013 10:51:52 MDT Print View

Will-

Well, I do what I can when it gets egregious.

But maybe I was operating under false assumptions- I was under the impression that Linda Bean pretty much got it all. Do you have a source? (I would certainly like a set of a certain boot model of theirs...)

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Locale: MaxTheCyclist.com
First to Judgement on 09/25/2013 10:53:04 MDT Print View

Last to L.L. Bean Boots. Life lesson?

Dean F.
(acrosome) - MLife

Locale: Back in the Front Range
Lesson? on 09/25/2013 10:54:51 MDT Print View

What lesson? That I am imperfect? Brother, I came to terms with that LONG ago. Perhaps there's a life lesson for YOU, there? I refer you to the innate hypocrisy of saying that it is wrong to judge people. :P *snicker*

But if you ask me- which I acknowledge you didn't- you really do need to lose this "don't judge" attitude. Judging people for meanigless stuff like the color of their skin or which gender they choose to sleep with is pointless, but if we judge nobody then child rapists would be free to do as they will. Some behaviors need to be judged and scorned. Even the color of skin or sexual orientation gets "judged", really- it just happens to get judged "neutral" in my book.

Edited by acrosome on 09/25/2013 11:00:31 MDT.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
ahhhh on 09/25/2013 10:59:26 MDT Print View

intraweb morality ...

amazing how worked people get over what they think other people they never met should do ...

almost sounds ... religious

;)

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Locale: MaxTheCyclist.com
Dean on 09/25/2013 11:00:14 MDT Print View

Dean,

The fact that you're currently quoting Edmund Burke's speech (not John Burke) on the triumph of Evil over me bringing a flannel to L.L. bean is a pretty good indication to me that you're operating under false assumptions. Imperfection is perfectly appropriate if you're ready to be open to new perspectives.

Reread my posts. I'm not your enemy. I'm also not judging you. I'm spreading perspective. This doesn't have anything to do with your opinion of me, just on the conversation about whether "Theft," "Rob," "Morality," and "Evil" is appropriate diction for the way the majority of BPL uses the policies.

Or whether any of us can appropriately decide who is right and who is wrong in their use, or whether that's remotely useful.

I posted the article in the first place because it's an ongoing conversation. For me, it's reminiscent of the "Stealth Camping" debate of this past spring, mostly in that I'll inevitably lose.

Ian B.
(IDBLOOM) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Chaff... on 09/25/2013 11:03:55 MDT Print View

I have nothing against trolling but maybe pondering the universe and return policies would be better in Chaff.... a dark place which used to be filled with random oddities, flame wars, and the occasional meme. Lately it's been lonely way down there at the bottom of the forum where only brave souls dare to roam.

Come on in boys, the water's fine.

Dean F.
(acrosome) - MLife

Locale: Back in the Front Range
Ah, yes, Edmund. My bad. You got me. on 09/25/2013 11:06:43 MDT Print View

Oh, you are judging me. (Especially using charged language like "refusing to change.") You're arguing that we shouldn't judge one another- which is a judgment. Do you really not see that? "Spreading perspective" is merely obfuscatory language because what you are really doing is arguing a position contrary to mine. You are saying that I am wrong when I claim that it is appropriate to judge others on some issues. Are you not saying that I am wrong?

I am a pretty open-minded individual. I have grown immensely over my life. I have changed opinions in the past, and I will do so again- because I am rational and open to rational arguments. But this issue (abuse of return policies) is egregious. Sorry. So, yes, just accept that I scorn those who do it. You should, too. Frankly, to use your terminology, I find not "taking a stand" on clear moral issues to be cowardly.

Edited by acrosome on 09/25/2013 11:09:47 MDT.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Locale: MaxTheCyclist.com
Sorry Ian on 09/25/2013 11:07:13 MDT Print View

Ian,

I need a certain "critical mass" of people to see what I type to feel motivated enough to type.

Little Miss Popular..

Greg F
(GregF) - F

Locale: Canadian Rockies
Return Policy on 09/25/2013 11:09:50 MDT Print View

I think that the internet/social media really is what killed the return policy.

When you had to walk up and face the cashier and tell her why you were returning that generated a lot of fear and guilt in people. Generally the abusers of the policy know they are abusing it and work their way through some hoops in their head to justlfy it. For most people their concience would get the best of them and they would use the return policy reasonably. But once social media took over the community gave approval for the abusers of the policy to do it. So now someone who before had to justify it to themselves why they were returning the item now only has to say other people do it so I would be stupid not to. This approval of a small community broke down the barrier and got rid of the fear of rejection and judgement. Without that fear the abuse would just snowball.

For me I don't think I ever abused the return policy. A few delaminating jackets that were 1 or 2 years old which to me was in the lifetime of the jacket and my closest to abuse was a pair of climbing shoes which I bought, didn't use for a year and tried them outside, and returned them because they didn't fit right. I really should have tried them indoors so they could be resold.

I know what REI is trying to with their return policy is to say that you can try out a piece of gear and if it doesn't work for you return it, if it fails before you think is reasonable return it, if you get fair use out of it and it is worn out buy a new one.

Stephen Komae
(skomae) - MLife

Locale: northeastern US
Re: Abuse on 09/25/2013 11:10:35 MDT Print View

> I definitely don't think it's designed to be abused, nor do I think that's ok.

> I definitely DO think it's designed to handle the inevitable abuse that does occur.

Yes, and Max it has been updated for 2013 to handle the inevitable abuse that does occur.

Back in the 1930s when REI was founded, and the 60s when it became a "real company" with a CEO, people could be trusted to act in accordance with how the return policy was envisioned. Now that it is 2013, with a different generation, a different set of ideals and groupthink, the policy had to be revised. I dub our generation the entitled generation, because so much gets handed over to us on a platter.

Will Webster
(WillWeb) - M
Re: Re: Linda Bean on 09/25/2013 11:10:46 MDT Print View

Dean, this is the first hit when you google: ll bean political contributions.

http://influenceexplorer.com/organization/ll-bean-inc/7b5317ec59e846b9a4f3aa8c1682f955

Dean F.
(acrosome) - MLife

Locale: Back in the Front Range
Re: Sorry Ian on 09/25/2013 11:11:28 MDT Print View

"I need a certain "critical mass" of people to see what I type to feel motivated enough to type."

Wow. That sounds like trolling. :)