“Let’s go to REI.” [Recreational Equipment, Inc… a store that sells, primarily, camping gear and outdoor gear.]
It was the Tuesday morning after Christmas and we had out-doorsey wife-and-husband guests staying with us for a few days during their two week visit to New England. They’d arrived the night before and the four of us were sitting together for breakfast, discussing potential activities for the day and for the week.
“Let’s go to REI,” said one of our guests.
“Yeah,” said the other. “This week, we’ve been to two of the five stores in New England. We could hit two more while we’re here in Boston.”
“That sounds like knocking off mountains on a list of 4,000 foot peaks. What’s the attraction?”
“REI’s returns policy – you can return almost anything you buy in the store for a refund, no questions asked. REI puts a lot of the returns out for sale in a members-only section at substantially reduced prices. We buy a lot of our gear that way.”
“What are you looking for now?”
“We have a list of stuff… Snow gators, some gloves, and we both need new running shoes.”
“And you can find all of that, there?”
“Sometimes… anytime we pass an REI store, we go in to look. If we’re in the area, we might go back to a particular store a couple of times in a week or even in a day – they put additional stuff out all day, depending on what’s returned to that store. Sometimes we find nothing. Other times, we find items we want.”
“Sounds like a big investment of time.”
“Yes and… We enjoy the hunt, we buy a lot of gear, and we like paying 1/3 to ½ price for stuff that’s lightly used or, essentially, new…particularly the really expensive stuff…. Every store is different; every day is different. So, you just have to stay close.”
Nick Miller trains bankers to attract and expand relationships with businesses. More profitable relationships, faster. He is President of Clarity Advantage based in Concord, MA. Additional articles on Clarity’s web site.
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