February 15th, 2007


To The Bastards at L.L. Bean

Dear Bastards (at L.L. Bean),

After all that I have done for you.

After my singlehandedly supporting your company throughout high school (much to the detriment of my own popularity, I eventually learned) you have turned, L.L. Bean, and stabbed me in the back. Your colorful linens, warm flannel shirts, and wholesome toys carved from a solid block of maple are not enough to distract me from your black heart (page 86, item no. 44831) and thoughtless, hurtful lies (page 43, item no. 44902, color: sage green).

If I ordered your blueberry dinnerware, L.L. Bean, would you decide that I might like your All-Weather Braided Rugs and send me those instead? No-- because you are allegedly in the business of giving people what they order, L.L. Bean. That is what you do.

Now hypothetically, L.L. Bean, let's suppose that someone orders a monogrammed towel. Perhaps they have a close friend with whom they have a private joke, and they would like to have the joke monogrammed (white letters on pink) onto a soft, absorbent bath towel. They call you up (very politely) asking if it would be possible for you to monogram a towel with the word "Shithead."

The caller is very calm, and understanding. She understands the ideals of your company and says that if monogramming "Shithead" onto an Egyptian cotton towel will be problematic, that she understands-- that she will not make you do anything that is against policy or that will make you uncomfortable, but that she and her friend have a tradition of affectionately calling each other by vile, disgusting names, and occasionally like to continue this tradition in print.

"Not a problem," says your associate, who sounds as though she has taken a few hours out of prancing through a Lake Wobegon novel to work for your customer service center.

"Not a problem?" the customer asks, checking again, expecting to be questioned, or reprimanded, or transfered to the L.L. Bean anarchy division.

"You're all set," says the customer service representative. Which (foolishly!) led the customer to believe that she was all set.

It was only a few weeks later that your alleged customer received a Thank You call from shithead, saying "Hey-- the thought police over at L.L. Bean apparently deemed whatever it was you monogrammed 'unfit' to print," and they sent an apology notice that they were unable to include it on your gift. But thank you," she continued, "for the bath towel."

So the customer, L.L. Bean-- is she not rightly upset? Should she not have been contacted before the decision was made to send out the towel sans monogram? And can I ask why the monogram was such a problem, L.L. Bean, when last Christmas you happily sent out a child's personalized dinner plate with the word "Assface" written across the top in enormous blue letters?

With much displeasure and contempt.