Recreational Equipment Cooperative.

Once, not too long ago, R.E.I. was a funky place, tucked into a weird old building on the top of Capital Hill, Seattle. Now they are a international monstrosity, with "Flagship stores" complete with climbing pinnacles, indoor/outdoor running/mountain bike test tracks, "storm simulators" etc.

Founded in 1938 by Seattle Mountaineer Lloyd Anderson. With 1.6+ million "members", R.E.I. posesses major buying clout and influence. Mostly they use this for good.

They have three really good things going for them, not to mention they are huge and usually have a fairly good selection (though not of exotic or small manufacturer gear). These are:

  • 10% refund on all purchases. This really adds up.
  • No questions asked return policy. Some people have been known to get gear from garage sales, return it to REI and recieve the same piece of gear, but new.
  • A very good repair shop.
  • Now what they need is a goddamn bar.