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By Kenan
Jun 5, 2013
Shelf Rd

I'm just curious... if REI is so terrible to its employees, how did it make Fortune's "Top 100 Companies To Work For" for the past 16 consecutive years?

I'm sure someone will try to claim that Fortune is engaging in some elaborate corporate conspiracy to pick the top 100, so to preeminently thwart that argument, here's the methodology:
money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/best-companies/2013/faq/

It's based largely on employee feedback.


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By BobGray
From Salt Lake City, Utah
Jun 5, 2013
My Hero

J Red wrote:
Backcountry.com has a better return policy.


Insider info says this is in the works to change for Backcountry.com as well....at least for certain types of gear


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By Tony T.
From Denver, CO
Jun 5, 2013
Getting up the Great Dihedral on Hallet Peak, RMNP.

Kenan wrote:
I'm just curious... if REI is so terrible to its employees, how did it make Fortune's "Top 100 Companies To Work For" for the past 16 consecutive years? I'm sure someone will try to claim that Fortune is engaging in some elaborate corporate conspiracy to pick the top 100, so to preeminently thwart that argument, here's the methodology: money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/best-companies/2013/faq/ It's based largely on employee feedback.


So my "friend" tells me the process is as follows:
Well, first the Fortune list starts as a self-nomination process. Then Fortune gives the corporate office "anonymous" survey packets. These packets are given to employees that are selected by management. These employees are generally considered the cheerleader types, who believe their company can do no wrong. That backfired for this year's list, as many employees who got the survey, thought to be REI cheerleaders by management, actually gave very honest reviews which resulted in poor marks. I will bet management will not allow this mistake to happen again.

Now, do you notice how it's been steadily falling down that list? It's #17 now, after previously being #8. It's no small wonder that it was the past few years that have been getting progressively worse there with stagnant and low pay, unpredictable and low hours, and an increasingly inept leadership team.

Apparently REI does it's own internal survey among employees, and I hear those numbers are far more telling of the real REI.


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By Kenan
Jun 5, 2013
Shelf Rd

Tony T. wrote:
So my "friend" tells me the process is as follows: Well, first the Fortune list starts as a self-nomination process. Then Fortune gives the corporate office "anonymous" survey packets. These packets are given to employees that are selected by management. These employees are generally considered the cheerleader types, who believe their company can do no wrong. That backfired for this year's list, as many employees who got the survey, thought to be REI cheerleaders by management, actually gave very honest reviews which resulted in poor marks. I will bet management will not allow this mistake to happen again. Now, do you notice how it's been steadily falling down that list? It's #17 now, after previously being #8. It's no small wonder that it was the past few years that have been getting progressively worse there with stagnant and low pay, unpredictable and low hours, and an increasingly inept leadership team. Apparently REI does it's own internal survey among employees, and I hear those numbers are far more telling of the real REI.


Hmm... I'm sure there's some brainwashing and cherrypicking involved, but I'm doubtful that the process could be so highly engineered as to falsify the general employee consensus. Also, they haven't been getting 'progressively worse' in the past few years. 2 out of the 3 highest ratings were in the past 3 years:
1998: 37
1999: 38
2000: 69
2001: 65
2002: 62
2003: 73
2004: 24
2005: 45
2006: 9
2007: 27
2008: 34
2009: 12
2010: 14
2011: 9
2012: 8
2013: 17

(taken from www.greatplacetowork.net/best-companies/north-america/united>>> )

Just to be clear, I have no personal stake in this argument whatsoever. I just find the facts and the commentary to be interesting...


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By 20 kN
From Hawaii
Jun 6, 2013

TheBirdman wrote:
Even without the return policy, the dividend is still a pretty good deal you won't get at other gear shops.

No, they are not a good deal. You get 10% off at the end of the year that you have to use to buy more gear. Moose Jaw will give you 15% off on any item in their store immediately (Google Moose Jaw coupon codes). Again, it is a sale of 15%, not a dividend that you have to spend at the store later. If you shop around you can find over 20% off on some climbing items and as much as 70-80% off on discontinued clothing items.


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By Jason N.
From Grand Junction
Jun 6, 2013
Indy pass

20 kN wrote:
No, they are not a good deal. You get 10% off at the end of the year that you have to use to buy more gear. Moose Jaw will give you 15% off on any item in their store immediately (Google Moose Jaw coupon codes). Again, it is a sale of 15%, not a dividend that you have to spend at the store later. If you shop around you can find over 20% off on some climbing items and as much as 70-80% off on discontinued clothing items.


One correction, you don't have to spend your dividend at REI.


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By Eric G.
Jun 6, 2013

Ian Stewart wrote:
When I was shopping for a backpack in REI, the sales rep explicitly told me to "try out packs and return them until you have the right one". So this is exactly what I did.


Not that I have a horse in this race because there isn't even an REI anywhere near me, but there is absolutely nothing immoral about what Ian did IF THE EMPLOYEES OF THE STORE TOLD HIM TO DO IT.

How paternalistic some of you are! Although the store explicitly invites him to use its policy as such, he is supposed to decline because he should know what's best for the store? What if heavy-handed use of the policy is the store's business plan? What if he was offered "Buy one, get one free?" Should he consider if that is a good policy for the store before he accepts the invitation?


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By David Sahalie
From on the road again
Jun 6, 2013

Everyone has to make their own version of 'ethics' when it comes to REI. REI is like Gawd and there are many different denominations. Gawd, like REI, is a mystery, so we invent our own ideas of morality to decide how righteous we are, then preach about it on MP.


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By okiedokie
From Rocky Mountain High
Jun 6, 2013

Jason N. wrote:
One correction, you don't have to spend your dividend at REI.


Correct
You can cash out dividends starting usually July 1st
However, like returns if you push the subject the managers will get a check issued to you.


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By Dave Bn
From Fort Collins, CO
Jun 6, 2013
Dreamweaver

David Sahalie wrote:
Everyone has to make their own version of 'ethics' when it comes to REI. REI is like Gawd and there are many different denominations. Gawd, like REI, is a mystery, so we invent our own ideas of morality to decide how righteous we are, then preach about it on MP.


lol

REI is my co-pilot.


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By Sunny-D
From SLC, Utah
Jun 6, 2013
Top of Jah-Man Sister Superior

It blows my mind that so many of you are up in arms against REI. If you don't like its prices or policies...wait for it... Don't shop there. There is not one item that REI sells that is needed, it is after all a great big toy store. I shop there, I shop at small shops, I even look online but prefer to touch and feel before I buy so my money usually goes to a Brick and Mortar establishment.


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By Max Cole
From Seattle, WA
Jun 6, 2013
Grand Teton, 2011

The return policy made up for the following:

-Stuff is never on sale.
-Terribly limited brand selection.
-REI getting away with selling gear they clearly copy from other brands.

Well guess I'm no longer shopping at REI.


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By Eric G.
Jun 6, 2013

The return policy made up for the following: . . .

-REI getting away with selling gear they clearly copy from other brands. Well guess I'm no longer shopping at REI.

I cannot fathom how that could possibly bother you in any way.

Do you only climb with black diamond/chouinard nuts and wild country cams? Do you drive a Ford Model T?


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By Greg Springer
From Minneapolis
Jun 6, 2013
Friends big puppy

Tony T. wrote:
So my "friend" tells me the process is as follows: Well, first the Fortune list starts as a self-nomination process. Then Fortune gives the corporate office "anonymous" survey packets. These packets are given to employees that are selected by management. These employees are generally considered the cheerleader types, who believe their company can do no wrong. That backfired for this year's list, as many employees who got the survey, thought to be REI cheerleaders by management, actually gave very honest reviews which resulted in poor marks. I will bet management will not allow this mistake to happen again. Now, do you notice how it's been steadily falling down that list? It's #17 now, after previously being #8. It's no small wonder that it was the past few years that have been getting progressively worse there with stagnant and low pay, unpredictable and low hours, and an increasingly inept leadership team. Apparently REI does it's own internal survey among employees, and I hear those numbers are far more telling of the real REI.


If the scenario is exactly as you have laid out then that bias should be seen in every company since there's no reason to believe REI is the only company to "game" this system.


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By Peteoria
Jun 6, 2013

REI can't be in the top 100 companies to work for because they aren't incorporated.

REI is a co-op. That means they are legally obligated to serve their members. Guess what! WE ARE THE MEMBERS. REI is not a company, it is not obligated to pursue profits, it is obligated to serve its members.

We should be asking why a majority of REI board members have finance backgrounds when they should be experienced in outdoor education? Oh yeah, cuz Sally Jewell sold out & is now just another revolving door joining the likes of Monsanto, the FHA, and the wallstreet 'regulators.'

Each year REI lets their members vote for the board of directors. Most recently, only one of the members on the ballot had any outdoor experience. All the rest were financial people.

The Board is legally obligated to serve the interests of its members. If we mutually decide to pursue quality affordable equipment over massive profits that don't flow to REI members, then the board must act accordingly or risk being sued.


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By John M Ross
From Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Jun 6, 2013

Peteoria wrote:
Since it's actually illegal for them to place any priorities above us, the members, we can technically sue the board if the members collectively decide the new return policy is contrary to members' interests.


i will hop on that ban wagon, i will be the first to sign any petition against it, not because i abuse the system but because for a company that is here to serve its members, it so seems that there is only financial interest from the people that run the company, the idea of REI sounds awesome, but the reality of REI sucks ass


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By Jake Jones
From Richmond, VA
Jun 6, 2013
Me and the offspring walking back to the car after a day of cragging.

Kenan wrote:
I'm just curious... if REI is so terrible to its employees, how did it make Fortune's "Top 100 Companies To Work For" for the past 16 consecutive years?


Because filthy rich assholes are full of shit? Just spitballing here.


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By NC Rock Climber
From The Oven, AKA Phoenix
Jun 6, 2013
tanuki

Peteoria wrote:
REI can't be in the top 100 companies to work for because they aren't incorporated. Guess Forbes' billionaire son was too busy with strippers to put that one together! REI is a co-op. That means they are legally obligated to serve their members. Guess what! WE ARE THE MEMBERS. REI is not a company, it is not obligated to pursue profits, it is obligated to serve its members. So maybe we should ask, how come a majority ob REI board members have finance backgrounds when they should be experienced in outdoor education? Oh yeah, cuz Sally Jewell sold out & is now just another revolving door joining the likes of Monsanto, the FHA, and the wallstreet 'regulators.' Did you check who you voted for when you got that little post card each year? Most recently, only one of the members up for election had any outdoor experience. All the rest were financial people. So when you ask why they changed the policy, look at the dudes with the really really large pockets. I guess if voting did anything, it wouldn't be allowed. Since it's actually illegal for them to place any priorities above us, the members, we can technically sue the board if the members collectively decide the new return policy is contrary to members' interests.


+100. I have been a member since i was in Jr HS, buying from their catalog before there was even a store in AZ. It used to be that the REI band represented quality and durability at a fair price. They used to have a well rounded product offering to support both the hardcore climber and the occasional day hiker. The folks working there actually knew about the equipment they were selling. It wasn't all about profit... Things have changed. REI's management team TOTALLY sold out, and REI is a co-op in name only. IMHO the company is making decisions and moving in a direction that goes 100% agains its roots. REI co-op is dead. Long live REI Incorporated - low quality, mediocre service at average prices... but they are everywhere!


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By John Wilder
From Las Vegas, NV
Jun 6, 2013

Peteoria wrote:
REI can't be in the top 100 companies to work for because they aren't incorporated. Guess Forbes' billionaire son was too busy with strippers to put that one together! REI is a co-op.


Recreational Equipment, Inc is incorporated. Thus the 'Inc' part of its name.

While it is a co-op, it still functions as a corporation, the co-op part just means it has different tax and financial structures than an LLC, S-Corp, etc.


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By Paul-B
Jun 6, 2013
Flakes of Wrath

Brennen T wrote:
but the reality of REI sucks ass


Seriously!? It sucks ass? Hyperbole much? Seriously, quit bitching about REI so much. What store is it that is the shining light that makes REI look so bad? THEN SHOP THERE!


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By APBT1976
Jun 6, 2013
Black Dike 12/25/11

Rei is a crap store anyway, no big loss, mom and pop garbage.

Whatever advantage they get for being a so called co-op should be revoked. They are not a co-op they are a corporate giant!


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By 20 kN
From Hawaii
Jun 6, 2013

If you think REI sucks, and I am not saying it doesent, you should check out MEC in Canada. MEC actually charges you for parking to shop in their store. They want you to pay them to shop at their overpriced store. Yea, sure. I guess there is one benefit to climbing in a country you are not a citizen of. It is kind of hard for a Canada-based company to fine the driver of a US-based vehicle.


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By okiedokie
From Rocky Mountain High
Jun 7, 2013

20 kN wrote:
If you think REI sucks, and I am not saying it doesent, you should check out MEC in Canada. MEC actually charges you for parking to shop in their store. They want you to pay them to shop at their overpriced store. Yea, sure. I guess that is one benefit to climbing in a country you are not a citizen of. It is kind of hard for a Canada-based company to fine the driver of a US-based vehicle.


The MEC is a direct copy of REI because REI help set them up


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By Ian Stewart
Jun 7, 2013

Peteoria wrote:
So maybe we should ask, how come a majority ob REI board members have finance backgrounds when they should be experienced in outdoor education?


REI board members aren't teaching backpacking classes, they're running a multi-million dollar company. I don't give a shit if the CEO knows how to tie a Prusik, that's not her job.


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By Greg Kimble
From Colorado
Jun 7, 2013

+1 for that. Hippies are dumb.


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