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March 8th, 2009 at 08:56 pm

Anybody a member of REI, an outdoor sporting goods store?

I signed up as a member because I was buying stuff there once, and the membership discount would offset the cost of signing up for said membership. Soooo, it was like a free membership that entitles me to 10% discounts for all future purchases, so I figured why not....

REI's program has an interesting premise. Rather than giving you a straight-forward "discount", they say you are signing up as more of a "shareholder" of the company! In fact, I just got my year-end literature from them that includes the "dividend check" (discount coupon) along with an additional 20% off coupon for a future purchase.

To finish the effect, the back of the glossy, catalog-like booklet shows the program's financial balance sheet....

It's an interesting concept, but as a cynical pragmatist er I mean "shareholder", I'm only looking at what kind of money and deals I can get out of it, regardless of what they want to market it as.

Fortunately, the deals don't seem too bad.... Again, 10% "dividend" return for all purchases, and they send you additional coupons for further discounts.

Also, being a "shareholder" in this case doesn't subject you to the volatility of the normal stock market, so there's no real downside to signing up, besides the upfront membership fee.

In the end, it's a novel concept that effectively doesn't do much more different than any other membership discount programs out there, but at least the deal isn't too bad either, especially for people who plan to spend a lot of money on sporting goods.

8 Responses to “REI”

  1. Phenomenal Woman Says:

    Heh! The title got my attention since REI is where I first met my husband. I had an REI membership for awhile; I was always buying ski equipments. However, that time I was not quite attentive to my finances and savings compared to now so I do not really remember the membership program.

  2. Broken Arrow Says:

    OH that's wonderful! For that alone, you should consider signing up for REI's shareholder program. You know, sort of like saying, "Thanks REI for having the ski equipment and the hubby ski accessory that I am looking for." Big Grin

  3. baselle Says:

    The neighborhood organic grocery (PCC) operates the same way.

    I walked past REI's corporate headquarters on my jog. Smile

  4. gamecock43 Says:

    I like the creative advertising idea- but don't like the plan. I feel that "Shareholder" means one thing to a lot of people, and this REI idea is messing with peoples perceptions. It might be good for this company, but if other companies start doing it; peoples definitions of being a shareholder might get altered. Then you have new terminology to describe old concepts.

  5. Broken Arrow Says:

    Good point, gamecock.

  6. pretty cheap jewelry Says:

    YES I am a member for 25+ years

    Do you know they take returns of anything -- ummmm ANYTHING. OK, my hubby wore a pair of hiking boots for almost a year and just finally gave up on them as the fit was not good (he tried hard to make them work). REI took them back, full price and not only that, traded them for a pair that he was fitted to very well.

    It took a little guts for my hubby to ask to do it, but you have plenty nerve, right BA?

    So get a book bag, water bottle, outdoor guide, camp stove, and do it.

  7. Petunia Says:

    Yes, we are members. We have two great tents, sleeping bags and pads, and many other items that we use for camping. The quality of the items is good - I've been happy.

  8. Broken Arrow Says:

    Pretty cheap jewelry:
    So long as it's ethical, yes, I have no problems doing something like that. Otherwise, I can't do it regardless of nerves. Big Grin

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