retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Regarding the change in LL Bean’s returns policy, one MNB reader wrote:

Satisfaction guaranteed is what kept me buying from LL Bean...less so in recent years than increasingly I have been unsatisfied with my purchases from them. Except for their boots, it seems the quality of their clothing has declined...their sizing seems unpredictable...and I have found that I need to return items, sometimes for exchange, sometimes for credit. Instead I have turned to Filson in Seattle where it seems to me the quality is higher, and although more expensive, more items are "made in the USA" rather than imported.

Filson is good. I haven’t seen the decline in LL Bean quality that you describe, though.

Got the following email from MNB reader Joe Ciccarelli:

Read all the responses regarding the proposed changes with food stamps. Why not transfer a lot of this process to all the local food banks where available? I help out at a local food bank and believe me we are very efficient, try to package together a somewhat healthy offering and pass on the “junk” or “sweets” offering in a very low volume offering.

I think food banks do a great job, but I also think we need a federal response to poverty and hunger. I think that is our responsibility as a culture. We can always do a better job than we did yesterday, but doing nothing, or just outsourcing the job, doesn’t strike me as the best public policy option.

Yesterday, I posted an email from an MNB reader who bemoaned the fact that the Remington Arms gun company has declared bankruptcy, which he thought was emblematic of what happens with a lot of companies when they chase short-term gains at the expense of long-term stability.

It was an email written before the massacre that took place at the school in Parkland, Florida. But I responded:

Your point about relevance is legitimate.

As I’ve noted here before, while I was not raised in what these days is referred to as a “gun culture,” I try to have an open mind about the applicability and boundaries of the Second Amendment.

But … It is hard for me to give a damn right now about the inability of a gun company to stay in business. I have a wife and daughter who work in schools, and I’m tired of reading about how such places are being turned into killing fields.

MNB reader Chad Spiegel responded:

I enjoy target shooting, but I’m disgusted by the non-stop bloodshed in this country caused by greedy folks looking to sell as much lethal hardware as they possibly can.  The spread of AR-15’s is closely tied to Cerberus’ actions in the market through Freedom Group.  The AR-15 is a weapon that can be mass-produced cheaply and has created a market for accessories that can continue to bring in profits long after the initial purchase.  The greed that drives Cerberus and the NRA has created a situation in this country where mass shootings are both more common and more lethal.  Sadly, I have little faith in our ability as a society to enact the kinds of gun control policies that are needed.

From another reader:

Regarding your comment about Remington Arms, I agree. We need to do something about gun control. As my wife said this morning before I headed to school, a teenager said the wisest thing on ABC's GMA about the Florida shooting - something has to be done now!

MNB reader Ken Wagar wrote:

God Bless your wife and daughter, I pray they will never have to experience directly what took place yesterday. It is an insane world when it comes to gun control or management of any kind!
But another MNB reader wrote:

I get your anger towards the “killing fields” that our schools are becoming.  These truly are tragedies.  Are guns apart of these tragedies, yes. 

But my question to everyone is, take the gun out of the equation and would this tragedy not occur.  I seriously doubt it.  If someone is so hell bent on committing such a crime against humanity, having a gun or not, will not stop them.  They would just turn to another implement choice.

You cannot legislate insanity out of existence.  Unfortunately, if you take the pencil away, people will still write.  So address the writer, not the tool they use.

Forgive me, but that is B.S. If that killer in Florida had a knife, he wouldn’t have been able to kill as many people as he did as quickly as he did.

This isn’t a binary choice. We can address the mental health issue and simultaneously do things to get guns out of the hands of people who should not have them.
KC's View: