L.L. Bean Reviews | Glassdoor

L.L. Bean Reviews

Updated December 14, 2017
391 reviews

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3.7
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Stephen Smith
47 Ratings

391 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • There is a great emphasis on a healthy work/life balance (in 25 reviews)

  • Great people to work with a generous employee discount (in 40 reviews)

Cons
  • Not a lot of room for advancement (in 12 reviews)

  • I worked with LLBean part time before being accepted into the Summit Program (in 15 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "Sales Representative"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at L.L. Bean part-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    L.L. Bean is one of the best places to work. It is such a positive environment to work in, with both customers and co-workers. Management is really encouraging and helpful. There is a lot of employee appreciation and acknowledgment, which I found very motivating. I find that everyone is very passionate about L.L. Bean and their products. As a representative you want to do everything you can to make the customers day and will end up making your day too.

    Cons

    Can be hard to move up into other positions


  2. "-"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Process Manager in Freeport, ME
    Current Employee - Process Manager in Freeport, ME
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at L.L. Bean full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Tons of opportunity. Have only had amazing bosses.

    Cons

    Slow to adopt large change.

  3. "Seasonal Worker"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    Pros

    The people here are very friendly and easy to get along with. As a seasonal worker the hours are not too bad and there is a sense of camaraderie.

    Cons

    Hard to break into a full time position. Management thinks less of seasonal workers because you are a temporary fixture in the workplace.

    Advice to Management

    Stay kind.


  4. "Great Place To Work!"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at L.L. Bean part-time

    Pros

    -Awesome work environment
    -Team full of outdoor enthusiasts like myself

    Cons

    -Nothing to complain about
    - No Cons


  5. "Good Company/Opportunities"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Freeport, ME
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Freeport, ME
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at L.L. Bean full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    Great people, home/work balance, great pay and benefits

    Cons

    Very political, me first advancement


  6. "A Raw Review of My Time at L.L. Bean"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Sales Representative in Danbury, CT
    Current Employee - Sales Representative in Danbury, CT
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at L.L. Bean part-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    - Great coworkers if you can build the relationships
    - Nice discount
    - 3/10 customers are in love with the company and treat us well
    - My asst. manager is the most competent person I work with

    Cons

    These are all founded in studying the environment intensely over the course of my 14 month employment at L.L. Bean.

    - Bureaucratic nonsense with Managers
    I answer to 6 different bosses. None of them are my immediate supervisor, whose position was eliminated after he retired. My Footwear Lead looked out for us in his department, shielding us from the mind-numbing busy work that the other leads would try to give us. It was my impression that his position would be filled by one of the more senior Footwear personnel; I was wrong. Now, since we in Footwear have no immediate supervisor, every lead and manager from every department gives us tasks to perform. Nobody minds helping out, but everyone minds being told to do work that other people are paid to do.
    The managers/leads are all one big clique. They are catty and extremely unprofessional in their treatment of each other and the employees. L.L. Bean is a business where one can make friends, not a soap opera. There have been no less than 5 people and one manager who have left the store because of the hostile environment the managers/leads create. I myself think about quitting every day.

    - Nobody listens
    I have been doing my job for 14 months at Bean. I am the most seasoned in my department and it falls upon me to do all the heavy-lifting and training of the new employees, a responsibility I don't mind. That being said, I am essentially the defacto Footwear Lead, performing every single task the former person did plus everything else, and I am not paid for any of it. I get no respect when I approach any lead/manager about an issue we have in the department. They figure because I am not technically management, my opinion is less-than, despite the fact that I run the department that makes the most money for the store.
    I have called upon several issues that have been ignored by my "superiors." From the cashiers sending back to Footwear items we don't carry in the store, to serious issues regarding stocking, safety, and mistreatment, it is all ignored. The leads certainly listen, but nothing professional is done about any of it.

    - Lack of Rationale
    A) For whatever reason, Freeport continues to keep us over 100% capacity in Footwear. That is great because of the amount of products we sell during the holiday season. But it is not great when nobody will listen to us about it. Every time we sell enough shoes to get back to normal stock level, 100%, we are sent pallets and pallets of shoes. 100% stock capacity means that every shelf, every bay, every aisle, is filled with shoes; i.e. THERE IS PHYSICALLY NO MORE ROOM. So when we are sent more things, we have nowhere to put it.
    I have no issue with that. The issue arises when the leads yell at those of us in Footwear (FW) for not having put away the shipment that HAS NO PLACE WHERE IT CAN GO. We tidy it up, neaten the new products as well as we can, and we are chastised for not having put it away. Many-a-time have I physically shown the amount of stock we have to different leads, displaying to them that there simply, rationally, and clearly, is NO ROOM. And they don't listen. And they don't care. They want it put away and they want it done now. It feels like the Twilight Zone or Punk'd, where I am expecting someone to come out with a camera and tell me its all a joke; that's how nonsensical it is.

    B) More lack of Rationale: The Folding Game. In FW, if we have no customers (a rare moment) a lead from another department will give us clothing to fold while watching the department. Normally this isn't a big deal, despite the fact that there are Women's and Men's reps who are paid to do that work whereas we are paid to sell shoes. We never mind giving them a hand, though, if it truly is needed. Digressing, a lead will give us items to fold. A rep might get one-thirds or halfway through the pile when a customer enters FW and that rep must help said customer. This is a FW rep: hired and paid to work FW, meaning that will take priority over busy-work of folding shirts. The customer(s) will leave the department however many minutes or hours after entering, and the rep will go back to folding shirts. Soon enough, the manager who gave the rep the folding task shows up. The lead will criticize the rep for not having all the shirts folded yet. Clearly there is some detachment of understanding between the FW rep and the lead.

    - Employees are an Asset, not a Liability
    If you take care of your people, they will take care of you. This is practically tattooed on the foreheads of great business leaders because it is a message that has weight. Train your employees right and trust them to do their jobs. Do not micromanage them. Let them relax, have fun, and get their work done. This is not my experience at Bean.
    A) My experience at Bean is Orwellian-esque observation of employees by managers. I truly feel as though I am in 1984 with the amount of breathing-down-my-neck that I experience daily. Not once has my work ever yielded poor results. Not once has anyone said they didn't want to work with me. Not once have I ever been the subject of a poor legitimately-based review by a customer. My record is spotless. And yet...
    Footwear can be busy for hours at a time. There can be 3 of us employees and 30 customers to help. I have fun on those types of days. We hardly need extra help in the department, meaning that we never bother anyone. Every customer gets help and leaves, more often satisfied than not. This can be anywhere from 30 minutes to 6 hours of intense, sweaty, fast-paced work. Suddenly, the department seems to empty. The 3-4 reps look at each other after hours of dealing with every type of customer. They laugh and let out a heavy breath, enjoying the mountain they just climbed. Out of nowhere comes one of the leads. She marches straight up to these sweating FW salesmen and quietly yells at them in disbelief that they have the audacity to stand around and do nothing. She orders each salesman find something to do, such as helping other departments, fixing kid's coats, and organizing socks. Then she marches off in a huff. Each man looks at one another, tired but now very much awake. The look on each salesman's face is one of misunderstanding and disbelief. They had just helped customers for hours and were enjoying the first moment of peace since the store opened that morning. Then they separate and go about their busy-work. From the time the department cleared to when the lead chastised the salesmen was no longer than 25 seconds.

    B) The aforementioned story is completely true and happens every single weekend. It has gotten to the point that we actually time how long it takes for us to get yelled at by one of our 6 bosses who aren't actually our bosses.
    The most comical instance was when I was coming on for my shift and ran into the other 3 FW fellows in the stock bays. One was looking for a shoelace, one for a pair of shoes, and one was saying hello to me. At that exact moment, one of the leads came back and yelled at the four of us for being together and not working. The time measured between the 4 of us running into each other and the lead yelling at us: 9 seconds. Literally 9 seconds. Because, by happenstance, four FW employees, all performing different tasks, were in the same vicinity of one another, we were yelled at.
    I will highlight this issue again in a later point.

    - Disrespected, Undervalued
    I may have only been at Bean for a year, but it has been a very intense year. I know almost everything about every single pair of shoes we carry in the store. I learned 90% of it on my own time, wanting to become more well-versed in the products and to become better at my job. 10% was taught to me by the gentlemen who no longer work at Bean. I am extremely good at my job.
    On top of running FW, I work floorsets, set mannequins, work Back of House occasionally, closings, openings, work perpetually-unsteady hours, work holidays, and hardly ever deny anyone when they want my assistance. I have personal relationships with the majority of my coworkers and get along with just about everyone, save for the brand-new seasonals whom I do not know. I have worked to make myself an asset to the store.
    I follow the rules and do everything within the guidelines set by corporate. This includes the recent specifications of the Return Policy and Guarantee. As per the altered policy, we no longer accept certain returns such as items damaged by fire, pets, water (unless we say it's waterproof), and deny returns based upon things other than quality. I operate within those guidelines.
    It isn't as though I deny every return and argue with every customer. There are some cases when a return is so far out of the realm of acceptable, that I deny it. Let me be clear: every single time I have asked the managers how to have this conversation, they push the mantra: "We want you to be empowered to make the decision." You want me to decide? I shall.
    Many times after denying a return based upon completely justified grounds, the customer goes and complains to the cashiers. The poor cashier then calls a manager for help on the return. I radio to cashwrap and the managers that such-and-such a person was denied a return for such-and-such a reason. Almost every single time, the managers play hero and decide to give the customer the new product, stating that they are "doing them a favor," or that it'll be "just this one time."
    Yes, [me], we want you to feel empowered within the jurisdiction of the return policy to make decisions about the legitimacy of returns. However, we won't back you at all and no matter how rational you are, we will side with the customer.
    This feels like being spat on.
    There is no unity, no cohesiveness, no backbone, no support of the employee. You TOLD me I could say no. You TOLD me I had justification and jurisdiction. And NOW you tell me that it's all smoke and mirrors, that I actually have no power and you respect nothing that I say? What kind of teamwork is that? What kind of example is that? Everyone sees it. Everyone sees a lead/manager not backing one of the most experienced employees in the store even though that employee is within all reason to do what he has done. It feels as though they do it on purpose to get good customer reviews in order to fatten their salaries; 6 salaries that truly need not exist, since it could be more like 2-3 and the store would operate exactly the same.
    Why would I want to stay at a company that tells me I have authority and immediately throws me under the bus the moment a customer becomes upset (which we know was going to be the result)?
    The return flip-flop isn't everything when it comes to being undervalued.
    Day after day, I verbalize my distaste for the treatment of FW employees by managers we don't answer to. We are yelled at, criticized, bullied, all because there isn't a FW Lead separating every other boss from the FW employees. They have infinite control and abuse it, because if a FW fellow refuses to fold shirts (BECAUSE IT ISN'T HIS DEPARTMENT AND HE HAS CUSTOMERS TO DEAL WITH) the manager yells at him for being insubordinate.

    -Unprofessional "Leadership"
    This bullet can be summed up in one story.
    I was late to work twice in the same week. Once was because I was coming from a college class that ran late, the second was because I got a flat tire on the way. Lateness is not a common occurrence from me. Although I do my best to never be late, I figure that I help so much in the store that the bosses would be a little lenient on me.
    That second time I was late during that week, I arrived at work and was confronted by the GM of the store. She was completely justified in criticizing me for being late. I get it. It was my fault. I said it wouldn't happen again, that I'd be more careful, and that I accept responsibility for what had happened. It was my upbringing and professional experience with the military and working-world that this is how you handle being chastised for things you didn't do correctly. Then I got a curve ball.
    She said to me "It's like you're not even sorry. You keep saying 'yes ma'am' but you don't even apologize."
    Are you kidding me?
    I have taken responsibility for my actions. I have stated it will not happen again. I was respectful. I was attentive. I showed professional humility. No, I did not apologize. In business, you don't apologize; you accept responsibility and correct it the next time. Individuals with real business leadership experience don't want to hear "I'm sorry," they want to hear "It won't happen again" or "I'll fix it."
    This type of immaturity, of cattiness, of childishness, is almost comical. Not once have I seen someone say "I have no idea what professional businesses to" in this manner before. And yet, I experienced it.
    I figure no other story is necessary in order to display the unprofessional attitude the managers/leads carry.

    -Totalitarianism
    Earlier, I stated I would elaborate on the treatment of employees by managers. This is specifically referring to the strangely protestant work ethic of "Idle time is the Devil's Workshop."
    A) Any type of autonomy is squashed. Before the departure of the FW Lead, we were almost completely autonomous. We managed our own breaks, own training, own shipment, own organization, the handling of new products, and everything else that pertained to the department. Anybody who knows about politics or business, knows that the dissemination of power is integral to a successful unit. You give the power to each department and together they make a stronger business. Power has to be bottom-up, not top-down. That leads to totalitarianism.
    With the FW Lead gone, managers/leads regularly come into our stock bays and order us to reorganize our (still functioning) backstock. They reorganize our display wall, shifting shoes around and even taking empty shelves off the wall, leaving the FW salesmen dumbfounded when a shoe has disappeared without a trace. I have been yelled at numerous times for sending FW employees on breaks when the managers weren't paying any attention to us. In FW, due to the ebb and flow of customer waves, we manage our breaks ourselves in order to have reps on break during "low tide." The managers don't understand nor care to listen, they simply yelling at me for sending my guys on break because they were already 30 minutes overdue. This is a symptom of the larger disease that is abuse of power. They need not be concerned with us at all. We can handle ourselves and do it well, never encountering any issues in the past. Yet they insist upon involving themselves in our department, one they know nothing about.

    B) This is easily the most important point in this entire review and is the reason I straddle the line of quitting my job at L.L. Bean.
    The leads/managers seem to hate espirit-de-corps. They seem to hate comradarie. This goes hand-in-hand with the hate of autonomy and how they don't allow us to be independently-functioning. Every time they see any two employees talking, one can be sure that those two will be yelled at. Heaven forbid 3 employees are seen together. Such an event would resulting in an explosion resembling the eruption of Mount Vesuvius.
    When there is a rare moment of peace, I talk to my colleagues. When we are putting away shipment together, I talk to my colleagues. We talk about our families, our aspirations, our pasts, our interests, our coworkers. We make plans to get drinks, swap book suggestions, and interact the way friends do. 10 out of 10 times if we are seen, we are yelled at by a lead or manager. Every time.
    We never ignore customers or disrespect anyone. We do our jobs and try to have fun at the same time. Not once have we ignored our duties in order to fraternize; our conversations come second to our work. The only reason I remained working at Bean after the holiday season ended last January was the friendships I had made there. The relationships are what make work fun.
    Last year, I faced a lot of crazy customers. I have seen just about every type of customer, from literally insane to verbally (almost physically) abusive. The only way I stayed was because my coworkers all supported each other and said "customers are nuts, but we are a team." This season, it is so much worse. The customers are the expected-amount of crazy, but now the sales personnel are being beset on both sides: customers and management.
    We used to ride out the waves of customers and laugh it off. Now, when laughing, we are yelled at by management. When we share stories of wild customers, we are yelled at. When training new people and giving the appearance of "standing around," we are yelled at. It is actually psychologically damaging; as in, legitimately harmful. Sales personnel experience some very horrible things when dealing with terrible customers. When one cannot "fight back," the feelings from such treatment fester. Our outlet used to be each other: everyone talked about their bad customers and laughed it off. This was a healthy release of stress. Now, upon attempting to release stress, the management yell at you. This not only destroys one's ability to release stress healthily, but adds more due to maltreatment. It is beginning to really get to me, so much so that I don't even want to go to work because I know only crazy customers and dictatorial managers await my arrival. It's troublesome to say the least.
    None of this is an attempt to give excuse to workers not doing their jobs. We do our jobs. We always do our jobs and to say the contrary is an insult to us. But after our jobs are done, after the wave of customers has subsided, I might want to tell a story or learn something new about my coworkers. That shouldn't be punished.
    That is my largest issue with my treatment at L.L. Bean. I feel as though I am a slave being whipped whenever the driver sees me standing around or talking to a coworker. Everyone feels it. Talk to anyone in the store and they will agree, with varying zeal, that something has to change. The only reason I can come to work is because I love the people I work with.

    In the words of one of my Footwear reps: "You know, this could be a fun place to work."

    Advice to Management

    Just listen to us.

    We don't think you care about what we have to say. When big-wigs come for inspection, they interrogate us to ensure we know the monthly topics, but they don't ask us if we like our jobs.

    We don't think you care about us. We think you treat us as disposable and as liabilities, instead of assets that can be trusted. We think you just care about the big numbers, since I have never seen anyone commended for their sales ability.

    Ask us what we think of the strategies. Ask us what we think of products, of policy, of anything. Ask us anything. To disregard our opinions and observations because of our status as "mere" sales reps will have me quitting this company and openly protesting it at the drop of a hat. We are your ground forces. We are the soldiers seeing actions. You're the politicians in Washington sending us to war with your plans. How about you ask for feedback? We want you to just look like you care.

    Treat your employees well and they will treat you well.


  7. "CSR"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Former Employee - Customer Service Representative in Portland, ME
    Former Employee - Customer Service Representative in Portland, ME

    I worked at L.L. Bean part-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Great Atmosphere to work plus discounts

    Cons

    really busy during the holidays very little time betweenn calls

  8. "Customer Service Representative"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Csr1 in Lewiston, ME
    Current Employee - Csr1 in Lewiston, ME
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at L.L. Bean part-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Wonderful training, great leaders, easy to use product software, appreciative customers

    Cons

    Low work often, inconsistent hours, seasonal.

    Advice to Management

    The only thing I can think of is to advise new CSR1s that the hours selected are not guaranteed - and they can be scheduled for even just one day per week during slow times and/or excused early for lack of work often before Peak Season.


  9. "From Part-Time/Seasonal to Summit Program -Department Manager in Training"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Department Manager In Training
    Former Employee - Department Manager In Training
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at L.L. Bean full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Absolutely loved working part-time with LLBean. It was a great store, great people. I worked part-time in 2 different locations and loved both.

    Summit:
    Good opportunity to recent college graduates.
    Good starting salary and benefits.
    They paid for our room and board.
    Lots of opportunities for networking.

    Cons

    I worked with LLBean part time before being accepted into the Summit Program. Loved working part time but the full-time retail management aspect was not for me.

    If you are naturally shy, this program is not for you.
    If you tend to take more time learning things , this program is not for you.

    I can be a shy person around peers and management (not customers) and even in college, I took a bit more time to pick up on things or required a bit more help. Help was not available, when I needed it because it was thought that I "didn't ask for help soon enough" so when I did, I recieved little to no help.

    All in all, this could be a good match for some, definitely not for me or anyone else who may not have a love/passion for retail management.


  10. "Sales Associate"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Sales Associate in Bangor, ME
    Current Employee - Sales Associate in Bangor, ME
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at L.L. Bean part-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Great staff. Everyone was so friendly from the management team to my fellow sales associates. First job that everyone I worked with genuinely got along!

    Cons

    The job was great, but unfortunately I had to move on to a job that paid better.

    Advice to Management

    None- management was phenomenal.


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