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wabbit's winter wonderland, day 6

It's damn cold here tonight. The wind is whipping so loudly against my windows that it's a wonder they don't fall in. A large tree branch lies across my back yard, where it fell earlier this evening. When I pumped my gasoline earlier tonight, which was not a choice but a necessity, I froze my buns off. Yes, even for an arctic hare like myself, the wind is just brutal tonight. They say it only feels like minus 11 F, but man! Brr!

But you know what?

When I walked my dogs just now, I wasn't cold. See, I changed coats when I got home. I pulled on my brand new super warm down parka (it's rated to minus 45 F, you know). This parka came from a place that I used to scoff at. A place I thought was only for yuppies and GQ models. A place I judged (wrongly) from their catalog pictures and high end prices.

I freely admit my error, and while I'm not one to advertise things in general, I'm going to tell you why this place rocks.

They have free cider and cookies at Christmas, and there's always live music - either carolers or instrumental groups - playing, too.

They provide free valet parking during the holidays, and both gift boxes and gift wrapping are free, too.

Every register in the place is open when they're busy, and if the line is long, they bring you candy while you wait.

The employees there are helpful without being overbearing (no, really), and you never have to look for one.

Their outdoor education classes are a great way to get a taste of various sports for reasonable prices ($15 for a shoeshowing hike, complete with equipment with no required pre-registration? $60 for a full day of kayaking? Not bad!) without buying lots of equipment.

And best of all, every single thing this place makes is 100% guaranteed forever, no questions asked.

I'd never bought a thing from them until three years ago, but I still wear those shoes every wokring day of my life, and they look just fine. The rain gear I bought last year keeps out the Maine mists better than anything else I've seen. This year, I finally got the parka I'd been eyeballing for two years, as it was discontinued in favor of a slightly changed style and I grabbed it on a serious sale. I'm pretty sure it won't let me down. The coat I've been wearing for the past two winters (and still my every day coat) works just fine, but when it gets seriously cold on the trail in Fort Kent, I've wanted more.

And so I say thank you to L.L. Bean.

You are the one place that makes shopping a joy, and frankly your stuff is worth it. I love Cabela's, and I've got to say that their polar fleece thermal underwear can't be beat, but your service gives you the edge against your competition, especially at Christmas. I must admit you've made a believer out of me. Thank you for allowing me to take a step back in time every time I go in your store. Sometimes, you really do get what you pay for.

And you get the free stuff, too. When I got to L.L. Bean, I pass this special place. In summer, I don't even notice it, but in winter, on my annual holiday trek to Freeport, it always makes me smile. I think it's obvious why.


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 30th, 2009 05:23 pm (UTC)
Interesting to find out about the outdoor education classes. This sort of thing will be instrumental in our plan to homeschool Z, and you find them in the most unexpected places! Cooking classes at the grocery store, woodworking at Home Depot, arts and crafts at Michaels (though I rather think we can managed that on our own), it's all good. :D
Dec. 30th, 2009 06:26 pm (UTC)
Too true. I'm not sure where you could find them where you live, but when I was in school in Massachusetts as a kid (public school), we had outdoor education classes every winter. They covered survival skills, nature stuff, and included a bit of fun, too. I loved it!

In Texas, the Fort Worth school district also had an outdoor education center, which I only got to go to once. It covered the same type of things, but obviously only for that climate.

As for LL Bean's stuff, they have "try me" classes, which include snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, kayaking, canoeing, fly fishing, skeet shooting, mountain biking, archery, etc. Then they offer their "real" classes, like wilderness survival and Maine Guide courses. Much of my state is truly unclaimed wilderness, so it's a big deal. I want to take the Wilderness First Responder course, but I need to figure out the funds and time.

I'm excited to see you interested in such things, as I think they are integral to the whole "education" process. (I put that in quotes because it is entirely different than "schooling.")
Dec. 30th, 2009 06:32 pm (UTC)
I'm not much of a wilderness person myself, but I'll try most anything once. :) And I think it's really important to throw a lot of stuff at Z and see what sticks.
Dec. 30th, 2009 06:37 pm (UTC)
Oh, you totally have to throw that spaghetti on the wall. Otherwise how will you know when he's done? *g*
Dec. 31st, 2009 02:54 am (UTC)
For years, the LL Bean catalog contained everything on my Dad's Christmas Wish list. I still get it occasionally (to look for a present for my brother) and look at the down dog beds and real wreaths.

And the customer relations people that staff the phones are just as nice as the store clerks you describe. They go the extra mile to satisfy the customer.

Just wish I was close enough to take some of the classes though.

Dec. 31st, 2009 03:20 am (UTC)
Oh! I forgot about the wreaths! They didn't have any this year (most likely because I was there on December 23), but last year every shopper got a free wreath! They hand them out at the door as you leave! And I've heard that about the phone staffers, etc. They just really do go the extra mile, it seems, and yeah... it's a one stop shop for hubby holiday shopping.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )


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