I hate catalogs. Waste of paper. Anytime I get them, I opt out. But when it comes to L.L. Bean catalogs, your opt-ins last forever.
For 7 years now, I’ve been trying to get off L.L. Bean’s catalog list. Every year I’ve sent emails to the address on their site. I get emails from the Customer File Maintenance department. “We’re on it,” their emails say. Every year, I’ve called their opt-out number. “We’re on iit,” they tell me.
And then I keep getting their catalogs. Around eight a year.
So I tried to use a free service called DMAChoice.org to get off their list since L.L. Bean won’t honor my requests. Turns out L.L. Bean won’t honor their requests either. L.L. Bean explains why:
“Many third-party services are available to help you opt out of catalog mailings. After careful consideration of customer service, data protection, privacy and fees, L.L.Bean no longer honors requests made by these organizations. We do not think you should have to pay third parties to opt out of catalog mailings. We prefer to hear from you directly so we can best meet your needs—we want you to be satisfied with the communications you receive and are happy to honor your preference requests. Contacting us is easy; please refer to Your Choices About Communication from L.L.Bean in the section above.”
You’re forcing me to contact you to get off a list I never asked to be on — and you’re doing it for my own protection. Thanks, mom! And the “paid” third-party option? That’s free. The easy means of contact? A maze-like, years-long process involving phone queues and multiple emails and the continued mailing of catalogs.
What would be awesome is if LL Bean used honest language to describe why people aren’t permitted to use third-party services. Something like, “Our goal is to toss prospective customers into a labyrinth of retail bureaucracy from which they will never emerge in the hopes that a credit card flies out of the hands they throw in the air, thus enabling us to charge massive amounts of well-crafted flannel to those sixteen digits. Honoring requests made through an opt-out service would stymie this proven strategy. Continue to enjoy your catalogs!”