I’ve always laughed at the idea of standing in line before a store opened waiting on a big sale like on Black Friday. Yet there I was the other day, waiting outside my local REI for the start of the member’s only Garage Sale. It was a little before 9am and the store hadn’t opened yet as a group of about 20 people gathered.
If you don’t know what the Garage Sale is let me explain. All the used or broken items the REI takes back during the year and can’t restock for one reason or another is put on sale for members only. (You are a member, right?) Discounts usually run from 40% to 70% off depending on how used or broken an item is. You can usually find everything from packs & tents to clothes & shoes. They even had 4 or 5 boats up for grabs.
The reason for being there early is things go QUICK! As soon as they open the doors it is a mad rush to the different departments. I talked to one employee who said it is “kind of scary” to see. All the items for sale are piled on tables around the store or big items are laid out on the driveway in back. People head to the tables and start grabbing anything they might be interested in. Then they run off to a corner to see if they want to buy the stuff. It reminded me of a dog with a bone, you walk towards a person and they hunker down and kind of growl at you as they protect their finds.
I went looking for new sandals and a sleeping pad. I ended up with a new pair of Tevas for 40% off that looked brand new. Also came away with a nice day pack for less than $20 that my wife or sons can use.
PS: Another reason to love REI: I paid with a gift card when I bought my stuff. I had the sales person throw everything into the day pack including the receipt and what I thought was my gift card (turned out to be my membership card). The gift card with $40 still on it never made it in the bag. I went back a WEEK later, explained what happened and showed them the balance on the receipt. They gave me a new card! Unbelievable!!