Thursday, February 23, 2017

How Winter Used to Be

On February 24, 2014, I posted the below blog post.

That was in the good ol' days when winter was winter.

I still own this warm LL Bean coat, but I haven't had to wear it too many times this winter. 
That isn't to say that we haven't had a winter this year.  On February 12, this was the scene in our front yard - something we call "heart attack snow" as it is so heavy.

 But this is the forecast for today. Possible thunderstorms?

And what about tomorrow?

Tomorrow, February 24, 2017, it is expected to get up around 70 degrees F (21 C) here in Binghamton, New York. 
How wonderful it is to walk on sidewalks not encrusted in dirty snow along the sides.  How wonderful it is to cross the street without dodging snow piles.

Some people love winter, but I am not one of them.

We in the United States, in the midst of an unbelievable warmup, continue to wonder "is this for real?  Or will it end in a bad way?"  Well, another snowstorm is on its way.  Surprise.

So today, a reminder to us of how a normal winter used to be like, just three years ago.  And if you have a good customer service story to share, please feel free.

The L.L. Bean Coat

I occasionally  blog about customer service experiences, both good (Chobani yogurt) and not so good (a local Binghamton, NY restaurant, who acknowledged my email but only after several days and although they said they would respond, they never did.)

This experience, though, has to be a first.

There is a long time company, located in Maine, called L.L. Bean. They have been in business since 1912 and have a reputation for excellent customer service.  Their clothing can be a bit pricey, but I've been wearing one of their light fleece jackets for years and years, and I will go into mourning the day it finally falls apart.

In September of 2011 I bought a ski jacket in their flagship store in Freeport, Maine.  It was a splurge, and I don't ski, but it had some features I wanted.  It was a light ivory/white, which I wanted, so I could be visible at night if I had to go out.  It had a nice red liner, so fleecy and comfy.  I hadn't worn it enough to have to wash it until this year, when it became my go-to coat, in our extended "polar vortex" weather.

I washed it yesterday, and to my horror...well, let my email to L.L. Bean from today tell the story.

"I purchased during a visit to Freeport in 2011, a white ski jacket with red liner... I didn't wear it much the winters of 2011 and 2012 but wore it a lot this winter and got it dirty. I washed it for the first time yesterday-cold water, gentle cycle as directed. The red liner has bled all over the coat in various places and is visible from the outside in many spots on the hood and the back. It is cosmetically ruined. Is there anything that can be done? I love this coat and we are ready to go into another cold wave later this week. Thank you."

Less than 1/2 hour later (on a Sunday!!) I got this response:

"I am sorry to read the red liner on your North Ridge Sport Jacket bled.
Unfortunately, the jacket was discontinued in 2011 and is no longer available for replacement. You are welcome to return the jacket if you wish. We would issue you a gift card for the return... Simply print a return form and return shipping label[from our website]."

After a little further correspondence (which they responded to in minutes, as if someone was waiting there to get my email) I was told no rush if I need the coat until it warms up - there is no time limit on returns!  (I've read that - and now I know it is true).

And maybe, one day, it will really be spring.  Meantime, tonight, it is supposed to dip down to 10 above (-12.2 C), and by Wednesday, 3 above (-16.1 C) .  If you see someone with a blotchy white/ivory coat walking around Binghamton, you'll know who it is.

Have you had a really good customer service experience?


  1. Love hearing about great companies. My friend swears by them, too.
    Thanks for the share.

    1. I haven't bought from LL Bean recently, but I still hear they give excellent customer service. So nice to hear.

  2. I love LL Bean and used to wear their things every year as a rural mail carrier. Now, I live in SC and I haven't had to wear a coat in a long time, but I miss the snow sometimes which is weird because I always hated it when I was in it!

    1. Many liking snow and living in South Carolina is like the "grass is always greener" syndrome? There's a lot about South Carolina I like but maybe I wouldn't like it if it was there in front of me, 365 days a year.

  3. Environmentally, we live in a crazy world. Here in Edmonton, Alberta, we've only had about two weeks of winter. The rest of the time, the temperatures have been above freezing. ABOVE FREEZING! In Northern Alberta! Weird.

    1. We've had too many "strangest weather ever" years now. Crossing my fingers about this summer. Meantime, it is supposed to get unseasonably cold for us in March.

  4. We're having a real warm spell here in Windsor, Ontario - not like winter at all! I'm enjoying it while it lasts, as I'm pretty sure we're not yet free of the snow for this season.

    1. I think you are right, Laurel. I hope you didn't get any of the severe weather our part of NY state receivd today (Saturday).

  5. You've had a warm up. We've had a cool down. We're colder than you today. And tomorrow we're supposed to stay around 62 for the high. (I'm in southern California. This is considered a cold snap and we're all complaining of the cold.)

    1. Things so we are back to being cold again.


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