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Route Loser
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Route Loser
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PostSat Jan 27, 2024 11:50 am 
No complaints about the REI retail experience here. The REI-branded gear is often a great deal. The few big outdoor online retailers are all matching prices in real time now. And REI's sales drive a lot of the price movement at Amazon and Backcountry. In the strictest interpretation of a small co-op, us owners would have paid money back in this year to cover the losses rather than receive a dividend. I won't complain about pocketing the dividend. Generally in co-ops, we expect higher and flatter wages rather than lower prices. REI is mostly only delivering on the flatter part, which is still admirable. Back to the layoffs, they are in a bloat and bust cycle of perpetual transformational change, endless outside consulting and large implementation costs for new management process. When those efforts are not as successful as quickly as planned, and losses begin to mount, out comes the scalpel.

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Route Loser
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PostSat Jan 27, 2024 12:07 pm 
As an aside from someone who is probably not smarter than TJ but is involved in the US co-op scene, autonomy from non co-op financial entities and a step away from just-in-time supply chains are desirable goals for retail consumer co-ops. Both of those require a big war chest. Of course, these are somewhat operational choices, and I am assuming that stability and longevity for employees and members are primary organizational goals.

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Cyclopath
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Cyclopath
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PostSat Jan 27, 2024 2:48 pm 
It sounds like they're cracking down on returns too. Won't let people return shoes with worn out tread even within the year. Which honestly sounds reasonable. Return Every Item

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solohiker
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PostMon Jan 29, 2024 1:55 pm 
All retailers with good return policies end up with a percentage of scammers that continually “use and return” to basically always use new stuff for free. It’s hard to crack down on that without losing your reputation for being good on returns, and the “good on returns” rap does bring in a solid customer base. REI has gotten stricter on returns, but I think they’ve walked the line pretty well. With purchases and returns all digitized, it’s easy to question a genuine scammer while offering friendly service to everyone else. On the layoffs - those matter most when they become personal. I have close family members that have been laid off after 20+ years of service. REI workers were an extended family back in the day. They all skied, hiked, kayaked, and climbed together. Layoffs have taken a toll on the morale of employees that are left. When employees feel less like a family, it shows in their customer service. I get that it’s all part of a bottom line, but have to think someone (or several someones) in the corporate office has messed up badly to make so many layoffs necessary. They have great products, HAD great service, and were way ahead of the curve with online sales, since for a long time they only had a few brick and mortar stores nationwide and still sold coast to coast via mail-order.

I have never been lost, but I'll admit to being confused for several weeks. - Daniel Boone
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BigBrunyon
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PostMon Jan 29, 2024 11:43 pm 
Snowshovel wrote:
Cyclopath wrote:
It's hard to believe REI is struggling when so many Americans are living in tents.
Walmart https://www.walmart.com/browse/sports-outdoors/camping-tents/4125_546956_4128_887708_2294923
Yeah you can get a 2 MAN tent for 9.99 at 'mart. Not a bad way to go - especially when car camping cause you can just leave it there and let the garbage guy deal with it. At under 10 BUCKS a tent, you can go camping 50 times with a new one each time and it's still cheaper then REI!!!!

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Stefan
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PostTue Jan 30, 2024 3:49 pm 
REI took off with the pandemic. Why? people couldn't really do anything else. So they hired people thinking the growth would continue. The growth is there...just not as much as they had anticipated.

Art is an adventure.
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Josh Journey
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Josh Journey
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PostWed Jan 31, 2024 4:34 pm 
I wonder if this is why REI sold Mountain Project.

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sarbar
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sarbar
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PostMon Feb 19, 2024 6:30 pm 
I will stand on that REI hasn't been a real co-op in many decades. It reminds me of gyms, that the real profit is in selling memberships. They don't actually care about YOU, they just want that upfront money. Oh, wait, just like Costco every year. An actual co-op is run so very differently. Go visit a true co-op for farmers, or small food stores. Where every employee has a say, as do the customers who have bought in. Getting a few bucks back and a discount code doesn't make it a co-op. REI has milked it well over the decades as the beloved "green" retailer that is magical. And you all fall for corporate bs so easily in this case. Am I bitter? No. Just open-eyed in this. They have underpaid people in all levels for as long as I can remember. If you wanted to work in their tech department, you'd be making far less than most companies. If you are going to get beaten till morale improves, you might as well make more money doing it over at Amazon. Every time I have been in an REI in the past 5 years, upon entering, an employee makes the "hustle pitch" almost as soon as my feet are in the door. As soon as you say, "I am a member," they disappear. Not asking if you need anything. They pitch the signing up even worse now than a year ago. I only go now to buy fuel canisters overall. Get in, get out. The Alderwood location is so tiny and barely carries any outdoor gear for hiking now. Bellingham is slightly better but I get better service at Fairhaven running for shoes....

https://trailcooking.com/ Eat well on the trail.
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Tom
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PostMon Feb 19, 2024 8:03 pm 
Never had that experience. Membership is very different than say Costco or most other membership clubs where membership is an ongoing annual fee. REI membership is a one time fee, and they pretty much give you your money back these days if you sign up and make a $50 purchase: https://www.rei.com/member-thanks No worse customer service than any other retailer, if anything better, and they go out of their way to make things right. You are complaining about green marketing? Seriously? Could it be run better? I suppose so. Could they pay employees more? Perhaps. There is a cost benefit to everything and people would find something else to complain about. I don't really care if they are a co-op or whatever. Still better than most other options out there.

catsp
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sarbar
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PostMon Feb 19, 2024 8:23 pm 
You miss a huge thing: Underpaying employees reeks. For a company that likes to pat itself on the back constantly about being green, progressive and all for DEI....they won't pay a decent wage. Then, have the gall to say how they are a co-op and so super progressive. An actual co-op wouldn't screw their workers over. I may vote conservatively, but I am passionate about treating people fairly. I was on a board for a non-profit that was ripping off a worker who did all their grunt work. I found out through reading finances that she was being paid by a contracted agreement, not by the hour, and they were paying her half of the state minimum wage. And yes, I protested it: it didn't matter if she had signed that agreement; they were all horrible humans for screwing another human over. And we had the money. I believe everyone who works hard deserves an honest pay. So yes, REI needs to knock off the BS of being a progressive company when, in reality, it is nothing but a corporate shell making in 2022 $3.85 BILLION dollars. They can afford to pay a living wage. And in the PNW, state minimum wage isn't enough. Especially if you cannot get full time hours. And Tom, you are a WHITE MALE. Of course, every experience you have is probably good. You are the right gender and color. Women in the outdoors, no matter their color, have always been treated as second-class citizens. I've worked in the outdoor industry for the last 15+ years, and I can tell you how many times I have been mansplained and worse, where companies want to talk to my husband (and he's not even part of my business). One well known person in the industry told him how awesome he was because "it's great you came up with something to keep your wife occupied". I'd rather buy my gear on Amazon (which I do). They are jerks also, but at least pay their technology side quite well. Stock options sent my butt to Antarctica, Sea of Cortez, and Alaska, so I am not complaining. They at least pay well on the side that makes all the money.

https://trailcooking.com/ Eat well on the trail.
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Tom
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PostMon Feb 19, 2024 9:00 pm 
Wait what? Because I'm a white male I'm treated normally at REI? Seriously? You indicated nothing about being a female, minority, or whatever it is that supposedly makes for a bad experience when you walk into REI and allegedly get hustled to buy a membership. Now it's apparently something else, not the membership pitch? Whatever. I don't deny that as a white male I have better experiences in life but I'm pretty sure shopping at REI is not one of them.

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Malachai Constant
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Malachai Constant
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PostMon Feb 19, 2024 9:51 pm 
I still have the membership I got in 1969 for $5.

"You do not laugh when you look at the mountains, or when you look at the sea." Lafcadio Hearn
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Chief Joseph
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PostMon Feb 19, 2024 9:54 pm 
I will never join a club that would have me as a member.

Go placidly amid the noise and waste, and remember what comfort there may be in owning a piece thereof.
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BigBrunyon
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PostTue Feb 20, 2024 2:29 am 
I ATTEND REI to get the Main Products! That's why I go to REI these days. The Main Products is only offered at REI!!! That's why I go to REI these days.

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treeswarper
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treeswarper
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PostTue Feb 20, 2024 7:42 am 
It depends on the store. I had so much help in the Portland store. That was when it was at Jantzen Beach. I bought a kayak but had to leave early the next morning. I was staying at a motel with no room for the boat and did not want to leave it on my car racks overnight, in Portland. They told me to knock on the back door and somebody would be there to get the boat out of the store. It worked. Couldn't get anybody's attention for help in Eugene. I think service was good in Bend and I found some comfy ski boots. Olympia? OK. Not exceptional. Spokane? OK. However, REI has been excellent when it comes to ordering stuff online and getting it delivered quickly. It's not quite overnight for shoes to get here. I am surprised by that.

What's especially fun about sock puppets is that you can make each one unique and individual, so that they each have special characters. And they don't have to be human––animals and aliens are great possibilities
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