The great backpack fiasco of 2009, the reprise!

October 1, 2009 at 8:00 am 2 comments

Let me start this tale by saying that I hadn’t planned on this happening. Seriously. I hadn’t. But, Isaac demanded that I send applesauce in with him, in his Star Wars thermos, so I did. BUT, he didn’t close it all the way, and whammo. Applesauce all over the pack.

We did what any parent worth their salt would do. Empty the pack and toss it in the washing machine with the next load of wash, which happened to be towels. We’ve done this with all of our packs and bags, both REI, EMS and LL Bean. We have never, ever, ever had a pack come out of the wash looking like this:
 Yep, that's a big rip!
Yeah, that's a HOLE.
Oh, lookie loo. That's ANOTHER hole!

Needless to say, I was NOT impressed with the LL Bean backpack that we had fought so hard to get. Knowing full well LL Bean has a satisfaction guarantee, and that we needed a backpack for the morning, I called the local store.

I had a nice chat with a kindly gentleman, who totally understood my predicament and really wanted to help me out…but they don’t carry the LL Bean Original Bookpack in the store. They only have them online.

Yes, I knew that.

So, I told him that I didn’t care if we got a deluxe bookpack or whatever, as long as we had SOMETHING that met the following criteria:
1) was red.
2) was large enough to hold snowpants, a lunch box and other assorted things in the winter.
3) was small enough for a kindergartener’s back.
4) Would last for a few years.

He told me he had two things in stock-
1) the deluxe bookpack.
2) the critter backpack, which has a shark on it.

Now, the only problem is that these two backpacks cost a bit more than the one I purchased. I was NOT willing to pay for the upgrade to the backpack. I wanted a straight out even exchange if I was going to be made to get a more expensive pack.

I explained this to the kindly gentleman on the phone who explained that he couldn’t do this without a manager’s approval.

I understand that. It’s at least at $10.00 difference!

Now, it’s here that some people would say that I’m being unreasonable. I don’t think I am after what we went through to GET the pack in the first place, and the fact that we had purchased it in July, never even took it out of the package until September and my child had only used it to and from school for not even 3 weeks. Also, to refresh memories, I was given lectures on how I was going to ruin my child’s bones by purchasing the pack that I did, even though I explained I knew how to load a backpack and would be sure to watch out for overloading…and how can you overload a kindergarten backpack? I even did my homework on ratings, age appropriateness and the like. So, I don’t feel I’m being unreasonable.

Back to the tale…

Kindly gentleman puts me on hold and comes back and lets me know that the manager had approved the even swap, due to our immediate need and extenuating circumstances. I tell the nice guy that I’ll be in to get the pack in about 30-45 minutes.

I hop in the car and head down to the mall and the LL Bean store. I walk in and take the pack to the register. Explain the whole story, tell them that there’s a critter pack waiting for me and that I just need to do the whole exchange.

Then, I see her. One of the lecture givers…and she said “Oh, is that the jr. backpack?”
I told her it wasn’t and got the eye roll…then, she accused me of putting the pack in the DRYER.

Umm..the pack was still wet from the washer! How could it have even come CLOSE to going through the dryer?

As I’m being rung out, the clerk notices that the critter pack was more expensive than the backpack I was returning. I explain what I was told on the p hone, and they bring back Ms. Lecture. She ok’s the even exchange and I go on my way…to deliver this:
Look! It's a backpack with a shark and no holes!

To a waiting 5 year old, who was beyond happy that his new backpack was:
1) red
2) had a shark on it.

Now, can we please just get through the year without another fiasco that involves a backpack or a part of Isaac’s room?


Entry filed under: annoyances, customer service, Kindergarten!, parenting hell, shrimper.

How to… Things you don’t see every day…

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Laurie Brooks - L.L.Bean  |  October 1, 2009 at 11:17 am

    Glad to hear that Isaac loves his new L.L.Bean Critter Pack. Sorry to hear the exchange was a hassle. If you have a moment, please let me know what L.L.Bean store you visited for the exchange.
    Many thanks,
    Laurie Brooks
    L.L.Bean Public Relations

  • 2. TheAngelForever  |  October 1, 2009 at 12:09 pm

    Yikes! Can not believe how bad that really was. Makes me nervous about our new L.L. Bean backpack that we bought this summer. I was comparing it to the old one and the material really does seem thinner. Hmmm….


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