Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Retail Therapy

You know the deal.  Contents of my blog are my thoughts only.  They may not reflect the ideas of REI, the AMC, MA DESE, Greater Lowell Technical.  You have been warned.

Yeah, it’s been a bit quiet in here.  I have done some hiking. No new 4Ks since Mansfield, but I did Pierce for February.  Did lots of little stuff.  A winter camping trip too.  Some adventures in Maine.  Trust me, get snow tires.  With school, work, and 2 wonderful bouts of bronchitis, I have been sidelined.  Try getting energy when faced with all that.  Yeah, I could cut expenses and quit REI.  Yeah, I hear you laughing too.  Let’s face it, that keeps me from getting out like the cat having issues.  Actually Willy’s IBD has kept my plans small, but working hasn’t.  I understand.  There are retail jobs, but there are completely different retail jobs.  That is REI.  It is retail, but it has been on the Forbes 100 list of best places to work for 20 years.  That says something.  We are #28, above Marriott.  And Marriott employees treat you like family.  But so do we.  

Springer Mountain register

Imagine this on top of your car.
REI is different. It is a cooperative started by friends who just wanted quality gear. Clicky the linky. Almost 80 years later, we are the largest consumer cooperative. Members drive decisions, not shareholders. Who are REI members? Owners. Our members help us make decisions about gear and how we spend our profits. Whether we help build trails in CA or offer funds to local outdoor organizations, we help others enjoy the outdoors. We are launching Force of Nature, an initiative to encourage women to go outside and be themselves without labels. Yes, there are other benefits. Up to 10% back in dividends on full price purchases. Discount on rental, shop services, rentals, lift ticket, classes, and adventures. And access to our awesome Garage Sales. Think running of the brides with used gear. Someone's dislike of a color can save you lots. And how much for so many benefits...$20, for a lifetime. Yup, a lifetime.

Taking #forceofnature to the kids.  No, they have not figured out where I work yet.
So what is so great about working at REI?  Well, where else can you dress up as Elf on the Shelf on Christmas Eve?  Who gives you 2 days off to play outside?  And who really wants to work on Black Friday?  I don’t. Haven’t since I started working at REI. We have it off so we can go outside and play. And guess what? Other companies are following our lead to enjoy the outdoors instead of all the craziness in the mall.  Yeah, there is an employee discount and ProDeals, but working at REI is so much more.  This is the one place where I feel like I am appreciated.  Where I feel like I have to do my best because people believe that is what I am capable of.  I feel like I make a difference and people are truly thankful.  I can get that in teaching, but this is different.  Kids have to be there.  Customers choose to be at REI.  

#OptOutside 2016  Mt. Hight.
Mt. Mansfield
Somewhere on the Kanc.

Plus I work with awesome people.  I mean really great people.  We work together and help each other.  We take on different roles to help our customers.  What if a customer has a question we can’t answer?  We get on the radio and find an answer.  We have fun, turning stressful situations into something to laugh at.  We dress up on Halloween, wear jerseys on Sundays, and everyone was in green on St. Patrick’s Day.  We have store get togethers, camp outs, and movie nights.  I mean, this is retail. How many people want to hang out with the people they work with? This is more like a family. Did I mention the food?  Makes the holidays bearable.  

Sasquatch says find me.

Pizza and Elf!

Laser tag with style.
Santa's spy.

Are there days where I wish I didn’t go in?  Of course.  Bad day at school.  Lack of sleep.  Being sick.  Too much hiking beforehand.  Just feeling crabby.  There are those days.  But I put on a smile and get to work.  And there are those customers, very few and very far between, but they are there.  It seems like all they want to do is make you feel awful.  Since last October, I have only had that happen once.  But remember, I have awesome coworkers (and customers).  So 5 minutes later, you are laughing.  Do I make mistakes?  YUP.  But we are very good about fixing them and making sure they do not happen again.  And I am learning new things. I started training in clothing and footwear.  I even do a class now.  Women’s backpacking, like you didn’t already know.  And I got Rock Star for my birthday month.  Kinda like employee of the month, just better.

So how long will I work a second job?  I don’t know. I really don’t want to leave.  This is a great place to work.  I like the people I work with and it is a nice break from the usual.  If nothing else, it makes me go out and interact with people.  Plus I get to know about all the new gear that is out.  I have something special.  What started out as a way to make ends meet when I took a new job is a wonderful part of my life. How many people can say they have two jobs that allow them to enjoy their passions?  

Some of my REI family.  

Random meeting with peeps from the Cranston, RI store.  We are a LARGE family.

Yes, he found his way home.
Please buy HydroFlask tumblers.  Pretty Please.  Give one to all your friends.  Cool colors too.

1 comment:

  1. Running of the brides with gear! LOLOLOLOL