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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

LL Bean 30% off EVERYTHING: Fair to Post?

Now that I've recovered from my multiple ailments, my mind is racing through things important (Shakespeare, Henry James), necessary (committee work), and trivial (frugal musings of various sorts).

A few days ago, LL Bean sent out a 15% off EVERYTHING code to a lucky few. A LUCKIER few got a 30% off EVERYTHING. There are numerous free shipping codes available too. I was in neither lucky camp.

Still, I read about it on a site I seldom look at: Slickdeals, which I learned about from a frugal colleague, and which offers deals mostly of the electronic variety. I checked Facebook to see if LL had publicized the code that way. No. A woman did write to complain that she, a good customer, got 15%, while her husband, who never buys anything, got 30%. LL responded that they were trying to entice people who didn't buy much.

Well, thanks a lot! I guess I fall into neither the buying nor the non-buying category, though I did spend a couple of hundred dollars there this year. In my fantasy world (promoted by Bean's publicity machine), LL offers FAIR everyday prices, with a FAIR profit.

If that's true, how can they fling around a 30% off everything code? Is it FAIR to LL to use a code you find posted on the internet? Is it FAIR to post the code? Is it FAIR to offer some customers a better price than others?

I know not the answers to these questions. I did buy Mr. FS a pair of boots and Miss Em a travel backpack for her trips this summer and beyond. I used the code.

It's good through today, I think. I am considering getting some of their sheepskin slippers! Oh, and how about a kayak? I've always wanted one to use in Massachusetts, where we have a house on a lake (we generally borrow the neighbor's kayak, but that is sometimes awkward).

FAIR to POST? If you want it, the code is JPA4393. Free shipping (if you don't have the Visa offered by LL) is LL3039329. FAIR? What is FAIR anyway? And how has FAIRNESS changed in the age of the internet?

And now for some beauty, via Shakespeare:

From fairest creatures we desire increase,
that thereby beauty's rose might never die

or, more disquieting,

And every fair from fair sometime declines
By chance or nature's changing course untrimmed

Can one even talk about FAIRNESS in the context of big business, marketing, consumer awareness, and so on?


Shelley said...

I think a business has to demonstrate a certain amount of fairness in order to maintain a relationship with its customers. Banks over hear offer better (variable) interest rates to new accounts, not to account holders; presumably the new accounts will soon be switched to the lower rate. There was even an advert on the telly about using fish hooks to pull in new business. Presumably LL Bean knows what to expect when they offer either 15 or 30% off their merchandise (tells you something about their mark-up). If they wanted to limit the number of people given the offer, they could make the code less accessible I suppose, or create other criteria that had to be met. I didn't already have anything in mind that I planned to buy from them, so I'm not interested in even the 30%, as I'm not prepared to pay the 70%, even if I could order on this side of the pond. I think it's fair for you to post the code - you're advertising their sale for them!

Duchesse said...

Bean will analyze how widely that 30% code gets transmitted virally and who uses it- I suspect that's really what they want to know.

FWIW I, a regular but not frequent customer (buying for my sons) got NO offer of any kind.

The sheepskin slippers are superb. The women's clothing is too conservative for me.

Funny about Money said...

Glad you're feeling better!

It would be amazing if companies didn't expect consumers would share those codes. Though really...they might expect some blowback when people realize the disparity and that customers who shop there frequently are rewarded with a smaller discount than people who probably aren't very interested in the retailer's products. IMHO turnabout is fair play.

Frugal Scholar said...

@Shelley--True--if they didn't want people to use it, they would make it so each offer had a unique code. Good point.

@Duchesse--I don't wear the clothes either (too preppy for me), but I did get my daughter some of the slippers in red. I think your comment about testing the market is very shrewd--I didn't think of that (of course!).

@Funny--Yeah-it makes me inclined to wait for another such offer before I buy anything again. But I am an odd and verrry cheeeeep consumer.

Funny about Money said...

@ frugalscholar: Yes, I'm much the same way.

A long time ago, I came to realize that many outfits in department stores and boutiques go on sale just a few weeks after they appear on the racks. Especially in places like Dillard's and J.Jill, I never buy clothes until they go on sale. It feels like such a rip-off when you jump at a cute outfit and then two weeks later see it marked down 30 percent!