(Editor's note: why is this not titled "REI-cap"? )
REI Sale Review
Garage Sale and Returned Goods
For those that may be unfamiliar with REI, it is a co-op membership store offering a great selection of both brand name and house labeled outdoor equipment. As I said in last weeks post, my local store was having their sale April 5-6, and I went to check it out.
When I arrived at 7:30 Saturday morning, there were already 30 people at the door waiting to get tickets to see the Returned /Damaged items. At 8:00 sharp, employees started to hand out tickets to all of us in line with access times written on the back. Tickets were passed out on the hour until the last tickets were given right at 10:00, when the store opened. This was to insure orderly entrance to what turned out to be a very small storage room FILLED with damaged, returned and lightly used or worn items. Defects were clearly listed on attached tags, with excuses ranging from 'didn't fit right', 'customer didn't want' after it had clearly been used more than a day, to 'stitching unraveled', 'zipper pull broken' or 'seam sewn crooked'. This was were where your luck just might hit and let you find the item(s) to fit your needs. Unfortunately, I was not close enough to the front of the line to get first pick, and when my group was admitted the best items were gone and I didn't find what was on my Want or Need list there. No Power Ball for me.
Scattered throughout the rest of the store were the Rental items being sold from this location. Items were stocked several times throughout the day to allow regular customers who did not know about, or were not interested in, the damaged goods sale to find bargains as well. When I came into the store I looked for packs first, and already the selection was thin. The quality and brands I saw were middle of the road, and the ones left behind looked like rentals.
If you need good quality and are willing to settle for less than brand new, I think REI might do for you. You will need to take at least 1 other person with you, have very clear notes on what you are looking for and with what you are willing to settle, AND BE AT THE FRONT OF THE LINE FOR THE FIRST TICKETS FOR ACCESS TO THE ROOM! Bargains were to be had, as I saw 4 people checking tents in the store to verify damage listed on the tags, and there were 2 people with 2 sleeping bags each in the checkout line when I came in.
Check them out - membership is easy and cheap, PLUS rebate/dividend checks are in the mail this month AND members have until the 13th to use a 20% off coupon on 1 regular price item in the store. See the store for details and limitations.
- 2 40oz. jars of Chunky Peanut Butter from Sam's Club, $9.80.
- 24 count box of Clif Bars, Sam's again for $17.77. These go in my stock and are moved out regularly.
As always, if you have comments, suggestions or corrections, please post them so we all can learn. And remember, Some Is Always Better Than None!