Once my morning coffee coursed its way through my veins, I spied an email from REI.
Not a big deal.
I get lots of spam, er informational, email in an old account I keep just for these reasons.
Then I read the email more closely.
A Garage Sale announcement…or what we used to call a scratch and dent sale where I grew up.
A chance to, as the email put it, to come in for amazing deals on “as is” merchandise that has been used and returned..
Then I noticed the hours.
As with many working stiffs with a 9-5 job, I have limited free time.
And most of that free time is on precious weekends.
I go to the dentist, get the oil changed, do grocery shopping, pick up dry cleaning and the other myriad chores that keeps two adults and two pets functioning. Often before 9PM and after 5PM because, well, I am working.
Weekends are for camping, hiking, skiing , backpacking and using the gear for these activities.
Not spending hours in line, fighting crowds and hoping for a deal while buying gear instead.
Why not have the sales on weekdays as well? With stores hours going until 9PM at night, plenty of time for a working stiff such as myself to buy crap that I want to use with my precious time off.
Those who don’t have the night time flexibility can still go on a weekend morning if they are not crowd phobic like myself.
The answer of course is that REI sells a lifestyle as much as gear. They have excellent service, good prices and solid house brand gear. I take advantage of their online sales myself for certain items when it makes sense.
But having “events” and flashy marketing campaigns to go with said events make these sales not just a place to buy gear. But a part of the lifestyle. Go to REI, spend a Saturday and forget about going outside. Opt to be inside instead. And buy stuff. Make the sale on a weekend only? It is an EVENT and not merely a sale. The plethora of websites on this event seems to only bear this fact out.
Imagine lining up at at your local grocery store, hours early, for a sales event on oranges or hams? Probably not.. ( I do know someone who did something similar to that, but she also grew up in Eastern Europe in the 1980s. I call her my someone. )
I’d rather not have that experience of standing in line for a pair of socks or rain gear either.
I should also say I am not picking on REI. Many outdoor companies do this tactic. Makes a lot of marketing sense.
To be honest, though, you can just as many good deals online at EBay, Backcountry.com, Sierra Trading Post (My two pairs of $30 Mountain Hardware pants come to mind. Score! ) and others. Heck, REI-Outlet itself often has some good deals.
I realize that there will always be killer deals on a down coat that *may* make standing two hours in line worth it.
For those of us who are working stiffs and really, really, really need to be outside and not inside during our time off, maybe consider a weekday sales event too? 🙂
Finally, a video I always come back to it… Partially because I enjoy the skit. Partially because it always seems all too appropriate.
Appropriately enough, this article was written after I worked all day and then went grocery shopping, went to the cleaners, bought some pet supplies and picked up some books at the library. Why? Because if I can, weekdays are for errands and shopping for me. Weekends are for the outdoors. Not standing in line to buy crap for the outdoors if I can avoid it. I’ll be backpacking tomorrow. And not going to a gear event.