Friday, January 13, 2017

Friday Freebie: My L. L. Bean Slippers

Sitting here in my could-possibly-pass-for-real-clothes pjs and my best-ever L.L. Bean slippers, I'm considering yet another domino that has fallen in the wake of the 2016 election.

L. L. Bean. Maker of the slippers I live in.

As news stories reveal Linda Bean's substantial contributions to a PAC supporting the president elect and the Twitter-verse plunges into boycott outrage, I'm contemplating what this means to me and my slippers.

Linda Bean is the granddaughter of the company founder, as well as a board member. Most relevant to me is the fact that she's co-owner of L. L. Bean, which means that the money that I pay for my slippers ends up in her hands.

From there, it could be argued, it's up to her to do what she wants with it. After all, once I have my slippers, my money has become rightfully hers. But I can't say I'm happy about it landing in a PAC that supported Donald Trump.

But it's more complicated than that because there are lots of other things I can't say.

I can't say that Linda Bean is a terrible person -- I've never met her.

I can't say that she's responsible for any of the things I find reprehensible about our PE, or the misguided initial actions of our Congress in the past two weeks.

I can't say that she, or her company, or any of the folks who depend on L. L. Bean -- and by extension, Linda Bean -- for a paycheck agrees with every word that comes out of the PE's mouth or every policy he supports.

And I can't say I don't love my slippers. Or the new pair upstairs waiting to replace the ones I'm wearing once I've worn these out.

Usually, on Fridays, I just post a story to share, but today, I'm sharing mine because I find this decision challenging. I know where I don't want my money going.

But I also know I don't want to yield to a knee-jerk (or any other kind of jerk) reaction.

I need to remember that Linda Bean is a person. Just as I'm not disowning family members whose political allegiances differ from mine, or condemning students who voted differently than I did, I can't necessarily hold a company responsible for anything more than its products without thinking things through.

In a kinder, gentler time, I would have made a knee-jerk decision. But now, when vitriol is more prevalent than impulsive tweets from the PE, I feel the need to do some thinking. Not just because I love my slippers, but also because I need to be careful not to toss aside someone whose views differ from my own because all that will do is lead to more vitriol and divisiveness.

This won't be the last -- or most challenging -- decision I need to make in the next four years when it comes to people vs. politics.

And there's a lot more at stake than my slippers.


  1. Lisa, I almost didn't read this. I've been filtering out a lot of posts lately, particularly the ones I fear may encourage divisiveness. I'm glad I didn't filter yours. You are a voice for reason. Good for you.

    1. Thanks for reading! I'm glad you gave me a chance :-)

  2. There is a difference between a person making contributions (as seems to be the case here; this is the first I've heard of it) and a company using its catalog or website to stump for a cause or candidate. That last, I will (and do) boycott, because I'm shopping for merchandise, not politics.

    1. Those are the kinds of distinctions I'm trying to make, Barb. Thanks for reading.