By shopping Emmet

I have a mental illness. It is called LLB Syndrome.
I walked through L. L. Bean last night and it struck me. Polartec, from Bean’s. Shorts, from Bean’s. Polo shirt, from Beans. The only reason I didn’t have Bean’s underwear is that they don’t sell them…I don’t think.
Let me look at the LLB catalogue which seems to arrive every six days.
I noted in my morning paper (which still arrives on the lawn each day) that LLB just recorded its best spring and summer season in five years. Sales were up three percent from last year. The performance was so good that, bucking the Tea Party Trend, they issued bonuses to their employees.
Where’s mine?
How would you like to be CEO of L. L. Bean? I am thinking that Chris McCormick digs it. He said this week. “”While our most important selling season is still in front of us – moving into these critical fall weeks with a small cushion of profitability positions us well for the second half of the year. “The company’s board approved a $1 million bonus that’ll amount to $185 apiece for employees hired before February, spokeswoman Carolyn Beem said.
Last night I drove to L. L. Bean to return a faulty Eton digital, wind-up radio and an old flashlight that was both guaranteed by Bean and Mag-Lite. Naturally, they refunded the cost of the two items without question, which is a major reason I shop at Bean. They gave me a gift card and I wandered the Freeport store, delirious with shopper’s greed. I could get anything I wanted…under the price of $89. Talk about rich.
While Blue Eyes wandered the women’s clothing section, I headed to, naturally, the camping section. I actually don’t camp (much) I just collect all the gear because I like it. I have enough flashlights to start an independent lighthouse service for small boats. I have bought (and shoplifted) jackknives and hunting knives since I made a fist. It is better to have one and not need it than need it and not have one. I have enough water bottles to supply a regiment. One glows in the dark.
Confession: I sleep with a knife under my pillow and have since I was a young man listening to all those creaking noises at 129 Perham Street. Go ahead and laugh. If you knew people like David Grima, you would keep a hunting knife nearby as well. I bought another this summer which could be used for a M.A.S.H. chest operation in a pinch. I will probably use it to cut barbeque chicken at Big Windy Island. Surprisingly, this did not come from Beans. (I blush)
My love of flashlights is well known and feared. On a recent trip to Buffalo, I counted seven flashlights and lanterns inside my car and luggage. Some may say I am afraid of the dark. If you have ever left the tent at Turner Bogan on the St. John River for a 2 a.m. call with Mother Nature, you would be afraid of the dark…and carry a hunting knife, too.
I wandered through the coat section. I must have five Polartecs, two windbreakers and a heavy, heavy winter coast. Guess where each one came from. I looked at the winter boots. Nope. Bought a pair last year.
I looked at the sleeping bag display. Nope. The old one is still superb. I love Bean comforters, but I have three Bean comforters and three beds. Not much sense in buying a spare.
Sporting goods? Nope I have a canoe (Old Town) and a kayak. Only the kayak, paddles, vest, hat and dry bags came from Bean. Nothing there.
Would I go home with gift card unused? Blue Eyes had finished her shopping and bought nothing. It was time to go! I looked at jams and Jellies. I looked at trail mix. I could use some (ridiculously expensive) maple syrup. Blue Eyes just stared with those blue eyes. She had a job. She had to go to work in the morning. It was time. I actually paused at a flashlight display. (They are everywhere)
“Keep moving, “she said.
She dragged toward out the door. I left with the gift card and the replacement radio. Maybe one more knife. Maybe one more flashlight, the solar propelled one.
I left without buying anything, a rare, unproductive Bean visit. That gift card will burn a hole in my L.L.Bean shorts as I read all of the 36 catalogues I have at Cobb Manor.
But I still want my $185, Mr. McCormick.
Maybe a new tent.