I enjoy shopping at L.L. Bean. Most times, I’ll just window-shop through the Colonie Center store, I’ll eyeball all the clothing and fishing and hiking accessories, and then maybe I’ll purchase a flannel shirt or two. Nothing major, but I do shop at L.L. Bean on occasion.
And I had a plan for 2017. After my foot surgery and recovery, I was going to visit the Colonie Center L.L. Bean store and splurge on a pair of good, solid hiking boots. Actually, I’m looking at THIS pair of good, solid hiking boots, size 10 1/2. Then I would traipse back to the Boreas Ponds in the Adirondacks, get a fantastic set of photos, and feel good for the rest of the year and beyond.
Then … unfortunately … THIS happened.
Apparently Linda Bean, a family member who sits on the board of L.L. Bean, donated money to a SuperPAC that supported Donald Trump’s Presidential campaign. And now the President-Elect is using his most trusted form of communication with the American people – his Twitter account – to essentially endorse L.L. Bean with regard to that political contribution by one of its board members.
So now here’s the quandary.
Does buying these hiking boots essentially mean that I’m endorsing Donald Trump as President, just as he endorsed L.L. Bean products?
That’s the quandary that consumers now face. Currently there’s a hashtag movement, #GrabYourWallet, that encourages customers to boycott products that either have ties to Donald Trump or the Trump Organization.
And there’s an easy-to-reference website, grabyourwallet.org, that contains an online spreadsheet of companies and their connections to Donald Trump.
Trust me, there’s a lot of companies out there on that list.
Personally, I wouldn’t equate Donald Trump with L.L. Bean products. I always associated L.L. Bean products with the docksider shoes and duckboots worn by my Hamilton College classmates. I associated L.L. Bean with hunting and fishing and hiking and camping and the outdoors lifestyle. For me, purchasing L.L. Bean products doesn’t automatically make me a Donald Trump supporter any more than purchasing a pair of Doc Martens boots automatically makes me a safety-pin-through-the-nose-wearing punk rock groupie.
And when it comes to footwear, my personal choices for purchasing – or not purchasing – are more directly related to the company itself. For the longest time, I would never buy Nike sneakers or shoes because of their manufacture outside of the United States, where the shoes are made in sweatshops in Vietnam or Bangladesh. In fact, during that stretch of time i would specifically wear Converse sneakers – Chuck Taylor canvas models – which I knew were manufactured in a factory in North Carolina.
Of course, then Nike bought Converse and shipped the manufacture of the Chuck Taylor sneakers off to Vietnam, so there’s that.
So personally, I have time to decide whether to buy those hiking boots from L.L. Bean or not. Or I could purchase them from Eddie Bauer or EMS Mountain Sports or any other footwear specialty store. Heck, I’d purchase them from Thom McAn if there were still Thom McAn stores out there.
And the connection to L.L. Bean isn’t that the company made the donation to the Trump campaign. One descendant of the company’s founder donated money on her own.
Besides, I still have foot surgery in a couple of weeks, and then recovery and physical therapy. So even considering purchasing any sort of hiking footwear isn’t as much of an immediate concern.
And if Donald Trump really wants to support L.L. Bean products … it would then explain what footwear he’s sporting when he sticks his foot in his mouth during his Presidential campaign.