I have never been affiliated with, received gifts from, or otherwise maintained an inappropriate relationship with, L.L. Bean, Inc. (I did not have sexual relations with that man, Mr. Leonwood.) I have been, however, very satisfied so far with their offers and service on fly-gear and instruction...

Two things to mention; first a follow-up to the Walk-On Adventures program:

"I can't vouch for the instruction..."

While I still cannot personally vouch for the level of instruction, I have been thoroughly assured that it is Top Notch. In fact, the Albany store has at least one FFF Certified Casting Instructor. In general (and as one might expect), L.L. Bean has a pretty strong legacy in the fly fishing instruction arena. Their head instructor is Macauley Lord, who's got some good literature out as well, including some stuff up on Midcurrent.

I've also been told that it's quite possible to end up being the lone participant on occasion, in which case you essentially have 1:1 instruction for the $15 session. Also, participation gets you vouchers/coupons both for discounted gear and additional courses. Finally, when I was in the store yesterday, I noticed that in-store purchase of a complete outfit entitles you to a complimentary instructional session...and it is not necessarily limited to the Walk-On program. Half-day courses ($95 value, available in Maine, Maryland, and Virginia) were also listed on the tag I saw.

Which brings me to the next topic; I have a brand new rod sitting at home now:

As I had mentioned previously, my 3 wt had gotten damaged (in my absence). The break was a result of carelessness. Quite frankly, it was an obvious result of carelessness (I can't imagine any other reason it would snap exactly at the end of the tip-guide). So I walked into the store with the (now) 3-piece rod, anticipating one of the following outcomes;
1) I would receive a free or small-fee repair or a replacement rod section.
2) They would tell me there was nothing they could do and I would be required to make Brian pony up the $100 to replace the rod.

I honestly did not consider a third option (complete in-kind free replacement) a viable possibility due to the obvious wear on the rod, the nature of the damage, and fact that the LL Bean guarantee is a "Satisfaction Guarantee," and in no way could I say with a straight face that I was returning the rod because I was unsatisfied with it. Of course, as usual, I was wrong. After checking first checking the fishing department, the conversation at the checkout counter went something like this:

Clerk: Can I help you?
Me: I have a broken rod and was just wondering what we could do about that.
Clerk (looking at the rod, then the computer): I believe we have these in-stock; if you're looking to replace it with the same model, we can do that right now.
Me (a little surprised): Uhhh, yeah, that'd be great.

And that's essentially how easy it was. O.K., so I had to show I.D. to prove that I actually purchased the rod from them (I might add that it was an internet purchase, which doesn't matter, because any store will take back merchandise purchased at any other store or the website), and when the gentleman from the fishing department did bring the replacement, he asked that I assemble and check the rod before I left to make sure it was satisfactory. Oh, and I was asked how long I had owned the rod...after the replacement was already in my hands. That's it. No questions about what exactly happened to the rod. No trying to down-sell me to a repair, or up-sell me to a better rod. From a customer's perspective, exactly the way customer service should be done.

So I'm a happy boy. I'm going to make sure Joe and Nate take advantage of the Walk-On instruction (and will do so myself), and may very well purchase a new rod from Bean before the season is out. And after work today, Brian, Joe and I are headed west to meet up with "Capt." Menjik and troll Ontario for salmon. Who knows, we might actually place in the money. Whatever the outcome, it will be a welcome change of pace.

Afterthought--perhaps they were just being nice to me because the knew I reach a very extensive, savy, out-doors rec. audience with mounds of disposable cash...whaddya think Margaret?


Margaret said…
yes, they have definitely noticed my savvy comments. probably are also aware that while raising a family of four, plus lucky on a pizza guy's salary i have tons of extra cash flowin outa my bum to spend on the best fishing gear.

oh, and guess what? the guy angie married is an upper salesperson for boston whaler and gets the newest fishing boat to drive (um, float...it's not sail) around every year. you should visit a lot.
Margaret said…
so you didn't do it with leon leonwood bean when we were in bath?

remember gram in the yellow raincoat with the duckbill and having leeks? i've never seen her that silly before or since!

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