Login with Facebook
 ADVANCED
WSJ article: "REI Ends Era of Many Happy Returns"
View Latest Posts in This Forum or All Forums
   Page 3 of 6.  <<First   <Prev   1  2  3  4  5   Next>   Last>>
Follow replies to this topic? Notify me at the top of web site.
1

Email me.
 
 
By Mark Paulson
Sep 20, 2013

Return abuse drives me crazy. Especially people who rationalize it as being REI's fault by having a forgiving policy. A few points.

-The return policy guarantees that the products meet ones' high standards. Not impossible or unrealistic standards. You use shoes for three years and multiple resoles and yet the shoes haven't met your standards? Are you f-ing kidding me? Expecting a product to last forever is not having high standards- it's being an idiot. But it of course has nothing to do with having high standards, just gaming the system.

-The WSJ comments blame societal failures, Obama, lefty entitlement etc, for REI's policy shift. It's hilarious that people will try to frame any issue to reflect their own beliefs and biases. My girlfriend works at REI. We've spoken at length about this, and she says that the most return abuse comes from well to do, middle aged, white SUV driving soccer moms, often returning items because their kid outgrew them, or for other completely superficial reasons. Plenty of GOP supporters in that demographic. This is what happens when you take what was a specialized retailer catering to a specialized (and for the most part, honorable) clientele, and expand it to cater to the masses. Her REI is in an upscale shopping center, so a great deal of foot traffic is from mall shoppers looking for their North Face puffy.

-The preponderance of REI locations has made it way easier to return stuff. Patagonia, Orvis, and L.L. Bean (all maintaining their return policies, but having very few retail locations) can rest easy in the knowledge that if you actually have to go to the trouble of mailing an item back, the percentage of returns will be way low.


The policy change actually doesn't really bother me at all- just the behavior of the people that abused it while it existed. And seriously, if you can't wear it out in a year, either it's bomber, or you're not trying hard enough.


FLAG
By Ryan Williams
Administrator
From London (sort of)
Sep 20, 2013
El Chorro

I've abused the policy in the past. I bought a 6 person tent for a group camping trip, used it once and took it back a week later. I also bought a MH Synchro for $80. When a mouse ate holes in both pockets to get an ibuprofin and some chewing gum, I returned it. For a measley $80. I actually miss that jacket so I guess the joke is on me.

I was young, stupid, self absorbed, angry at George Bush, and anything Incorporated. I wasn't working, and for some reason felt like I was entitled to live off of someone elses hard work. I remember (arrogantly) feeling like I was getting away with something... Getting back at corporate America for ruining my country (haha, what a joke that was). If you go back and read some of my early posts on RC.com you'll see I was quite a little socialist (less than a decade ago, actually).

But then I grew up. Now that I'm an adult, I understand that business, corporations, capitalism and profits have created an amazingly comfortable life for most Americans and I'm happy to support (and not try to cheat) most of them. Say all you want about regulation, fair play, government intervention, etc... I live in the motherland of government intervention and it air't all it's cracked up to be folks (but parts of it work well).

Who was it that said "If you're not a liberal when you're young, you don't have a heart. If you're not a conservative when you're older, you don't have a brain."

REI is very successful. I don't particularly like supporting companies that cause small, private business to disapear, but that doesn't mean I don't respect their hard work. Abusing a policy is just that - abuse. You can try to justify it all you want but that doesn't make it right. Even by the standard of "well REI put XYZ outdoor shop out of business, they are unethical so I can be too" - by thinking like that you are just becoming part of the problem, not the solution.


FLAG
By Bill Kirby
From Baltimore Maryland
Sep 20, 2013
Me eating a cliff bar walking back from Frankenstein Amphitheater

doligo wrote:
From what I gather from your original post, you blew the shoes (i.e. wore them hard) to beyond repair. It takes a lot of wear to blow through the rands of the shoes, how did you manage that if the shoes didn't fit right?


I just climbed in the shoes I bought. At the end it was Steve Merganthaler, a guide in the Dacks who pointed it out. He showed me that one, the shoes were so blew out that they had to be tossed in the trash. Two, Steve showed me where the shoe would've worn (the inside tip not an inch from it) if the size would've been the right size.

We went to the Mountaineer and got a pair of TC Pros that were a two sizes smaller than the Technos. I learn something new every day.


FLAG
By David Sahalie
From on the road again
Sep 20, 2013

Abusing a policy is just that - abuse. You can try to justify it all you want but that doesn't make it right

The problem is that REI could stop the soccer moms from returning their kids outgrown stuff, but they don't. The burden of stopping this on them.

So, as I said earlier, REI is either:

A) stupid like a drunk sorority girl and the consumers are wantonly taking advantage of them

or B) it is all built into REI's plan and by doing returns you are buying into the REI system... and this is exactly what they want.

Returning an item that they accept back isn't wrong. It isn't stealing, and we know stealing is wrong because if for no other reason than there are laws against it.

Right and wrong doesn't apply here, and to say they do means you are implying your own sense of morality onto others, like the right wing christians telling gays they can't marry where it is legal and stoners in CO that smoking weed is wrong.


FLAG
By Bill Kirby
From Baltimore Maryland
Sep 20, 2013
Me eating a cliff bar walking back from Frankenstein Amphitheater

Keny Glasscock wrote:
You found out 6 freakin' months after the shoes didn't fit?!? Are you brain dead or just stupid. Personally I try not to let people tell me if my shoes fit or not. But that's just me.


Really tough guy? Good for you. Miss the part where I write the words "first pair of climbing shoes"... and I'm stupid.


FLAG
By Jake Jones
From Richmond, VA
Sep 20, 2013
Me and the offspring walking back to the car after a day of cragging.

Ah, the subjectivity of moral rulings. But, perhaps no matter what the policy is, you still must be right or wrong to yourself. After all, if one's morality is purely subjective, that is to say it cannot exist independently of one's own perception, then the ultimate burden, or lack thereof is on the person doing the returning. If you feel like you should be able to use the piss out of something (for whatever reason you justify it) for free for years on end, then go ahead. There's nothing stopping you- least of all the company's policy.

In this case, subjectivity definitely applies. If it actually was objectively wrong, then everyone that adhered to only "fair" returns, like "wore out very quickly", or "wrong size" would be "right" and everyone that used something for years, obviously liked the product, and returns it, well, then they would be wrong. The whole problem with that is that the latter group does not feel as though they've done anything wrong, therefore, in their own minds, they have not. Hence the subjectivity of it all.

So, if you follow this train of thought, then you agree with David. *gasp*

It is largely a moot point now though, because the policy has changed- which means that either it wasn't part of REI's master plan because they didn't expect that much "abuse" (which would be pretty obtuse on their part) or their master plan changed.

I just thought I'd blather a little ethical and philosophical gibberish at you guys first thing in the morning. I think I had too much coffee.


FLAG
By Ian G.
From PDX, OR
Sep 20, 2013
Mens Crisis Center .12a

Three pages?....If you don't like REI/the return policy....don't shop there.

If you've been climbing for any length of time and don't know what shoes/cams/nuts/jackets/tent etc. you like (i.e. what you won't want to return)then you are a kook and should take up golf.

(....also, nothing wrong with golf. Wouldn't mind hitting the links this weekend myself)


FLAG
By Scott McMahon
From Boulder, CO
Sep 20, 2013
Bocan

Jake Jones wrote:
Ah, the subjectivity of moral rulings. But, perhaps no matter what the policy is, you still must be right or wrong to yourself. After all, if one's morality is purely subjective, that is to say it cannot exist independently of one's own perception, then the ultimate burden, or lack thereof is on the person doing the returning. If you feel like you should be able to use the piss out of something (for whatever reason you justify it) for free for years on end, then go ahead. There's nothing stopping you- least of all the company's policy. In this case, subjectivity definitely applies. If it actually was objectively wrong, then everyone that adhered to only "fair" returns, like "wore out very quickly", or "wrong size" would be "right" and everyone that used something for years, obviously liked the product, and returns it, well, then they would be wrong. The whole problem with that is that the latter group does not feel as though they've done anything wrong, therefore, in their own minds, they have not. Hence the subjectivity of it all. So, if you follow this train of thought, then you agree with David. *gasp* It is largely a moot point now though, because the policy has changed- which means that either it wasn't part of REI's master plan because they didn't expect that much "abuse" (which would be pretty obtuse on their part) or their master plan changed.


Well said...I'd still like to believe there are basic human social mores and norms, but again those are subjective as well. I do have to say the typical usury (loosely used term) culture that's prevalent these days is disappointing. It seems like everyone is out to "get theirs" regardless of impact.


FLAG
 
By Jake Jones
From Richmond, VA
Sep 20, 2013
Me and the offspring walking back to the car after a day of cragging.

Scott McMahon wrote:
Well said...I'd still like to believe there are basic human social mores and norms, but again those are subjective as well. I do have to say the typical usury (loosely used term) culture that's prevalent these days is disappointing. It seems like everyone is out to "get theirs" regardless of impact.


Anything can be justified though, depending upon perspective.

"It's wrong to use something for ten years, then return it for a full refund."

"It's wrong to intentionally put other businesses out that have been serving a community well for years."

"It's wrong to support a corporation that puts small establishments out of business just to save a few bucks."

"It's wrong to blame your business plan's shortcomings on the evil empire."

"It's wrong to not try to damage the corporation because they have done so much harm to other businesses, so they're getting what they have coming."

It runs the gammut, and it's all subjective. They can't all be wrong, right? Wrong. It's all subjective. The question is, how many people believe it's wrong but do it anyway, and then justify it? Quite a few is my guess. And that is no doubt a chief contributor to their policy change.


FLAG
By Woodchuck ATC
Sep 20, 2013
Rock Wars, RRG, 2008

Hmm, I've got a 35+ year old Eureka Timberline 4 tent from REI waay back in 70's,that has totally rotted out from mildew, UV damage, and general misuse as a basecamp tent. Wonder if I can try to return it for equal trade current model cuz the bungee tent cords have all broken by now too.


FLAG
By David Sahalie
From on the road again
Sep 20, 2013

From the 70s huh? You will probably need some sort of proof you got it at REI as it won't be in their system.

Jake, glad someone understands the idea of a logical, non-emotional argument.


FLAG
By Mark Pilate
Sep 20, 2013

Now we're crossing into deep schroedinger's cat subjectivity...

Let's let that ride a sec, and concentrate on facts, not morality.

Companies like REI will look out for themselves as many have pointed out. That is not only their fiduciary duty, but any business that wants to continue to be a viable business needs to adapt as the market and bottomline dictates.

However, by having a large chunk of customers taking the most "liberal" interpretations of store policies, it forces those companies to make changes. Some of those include increased pricing and policy changes that will effect us all.

The point is that the company adapts ultimately at OUR expense. Nobody is operating in a vacuum. Therefore, I wind up subsidizing Kirby1013's new shoes for example.

You don't need to worry about REI, but ethically dubious, self-interested actions DO affect other CLIMBERS. You make the call for yourself whether its OK or not.


FLAG
By Weekend Warrior
From Denver, CO
Sep 20, 2013

Couple of observations to an otherwise hilarious thread (Obama, morals, ethics. I couldn't resist adding my two cents).

- Only a fool would overlook the fact that REI's previous exhange policy simply meant that they otherwise charge a higher price somewhere else to cover the abuse by a select few. How do you figure they can manage to sell their products in big, fancy retail stores like Denver Flagship? Changing to the current return policy just means higher profits (not that they weren't making enough money), and no one should be surprised that's why REI is in business.

- People who compain about the evil, corporate empire taking over smaller shops, and then try to abuse the return policy at REI to stick it to the man are totally full of crap. Anyone who would return something just so they can get gas money for a trip, or because they wanted to upgrade to the next best thing, or whatever their rationale is, are generally WAY too cheap to support local gears shops who generally charge more. (Climbers are cheap, which is a generally accepted point of view if you've been climbing more than 5 years.)

- REI is hugely successful because they accomplish what generally no other local gear shop can do - they appeal to more than just a hard core select few people, and that is often people who have money to spend.

- The fact that REI has sold so much outdoor crap over the past 20 or 30 years also means lower prices for everyone. This includes people who shop at other places.

- REI also faces a challenge from online gear stores. Is it lost on everyone that Amazon is putting Barnes and Noble out of business? Local books shops went out of business long before B&N. The same will be true for REI. Don't believe that? How many folks reading this thread have bought stuff from Backcountry.com, or Mgear, or other places advertised under Dirtbag Deals?

- REI's return policy is still generous. I can't think of any other example in retail where you can use and abuse a product to failure, and get it returned no questions asked up to one year. For Patagonia to say they "trust" their customers to know the line, that's marketing bullshit just like they say "Don't buy this jacket", which by the way lead to record sales of "this jacket". Point is, Patagoina, as much as I like their stuff and admire the company, is no better than REI.

Having said all of this, I still prefer to spend my money at Wilderness Exchange, across the street from the Denver REI.


FLAG
By Will S
From Joshua Tree
Sep 20, 2013

Who cares. REI long ago adandoned any pretense that they were still an actual co-op, trying to meet their members' needs. They went full-metal-corporate monster, adopting the walmart model. Fuck em.

By the 00's they'd jumped the shark. Basically has become a low-end bike and chinese clothing shop, playing at being a gear shop to the soccer mom and lard ass desk jockey crowd.


FLAG
By Thomas Beck
From Las Vegas, Nevada
Sep 20, 2013
beck on limestone

Will S wrote:
Who cares. REI long ago adandoned any pretense that they were still an actual co-op, trying to meet their members' needs. They went full-metal-corporate monster, adopting the walmart model. Fuck em. By the 00's they'd jumped the shark. Basically has become a low-end bike and chinese clothing shop, playing at being a gear shop to the soccer mom and lard ass desk jockey crowd.


------------------------------------
I've seen some of my climbing friends abuse the return policy. I let them know I thought they were abusing it.

From the way back machine in late 70's, I had a very low REI member number from the original outlet in Seattle.

Now I seldom buy from REI....maybe chalk sometimes or a guidebook if I can't get it somewhere else. but I am not the usual REI consumer. Far from it.

Shoes and odd bits of gear, I'm buying local to support the local shop; everything else on line.

True...REI has morphed into a corporate monster. Kudo's to MEC (Mountain Equipment Co-op in Canada. They seemed to have evolved as a co op and kept some integrity.

Plus 1 for Will's point.


FLAG
By Ray Pinpillage
From West Egg
Sep 20, 2013
Cleo's Needle

Will S wrote:
Who cares. REI long ago adandoned any pretense that they were still an actual co-op, trying to meet their members' needs. They went full-metal-corporate monster, adopting the walmart model. Fuck em. By the 00's they'd jumped the shark. Basically has become a low-end bike and chinese clothing shop, playing at being a gear shop to the soccer mom and lard ass desk jockey crowd.



Mark hit on why everyone should care. REI places a significant amount of pressure on the retail outdoor industry. When they change or stop their return policy the rest of the market no longer has to compete. In other words, REI is the reason most large climbing retailers have a no questions-asked (or very liberal) return policy. When REI's policy is gone there is no reason for other retailers to continue with their own policy. So, when someone abuses the return policy they impact the entire market (everyone), not just REI customers.

Logically the people who are outspoken about lifetime warranties and unlimited returns should be the ones trying to protect the policies the most. Protecting those policies should mean discouraging what could be viewed as abuse. Unfortunately the opposite is probably happening.


FLAG
 
By Woodchuck ATC
Sep 20, 2013
Rock Wars, RRG, 2008

David Sahalie wrote:
From the 70s huh? You will probably need some sort of proof you got it at REI as it won't be in their system. Jake, glad someone understands the idea of a logical, non-emotional argument.



Yeah, it was when I waited eagerly for the catalog to come in the mail,long before Al Gore invented the internet. I might have cleaned out those receipts in the last couple years, finally.


FLAG
By FrankPS
From Atascadero, CA
Sep 20, 2013

20 kN wrote:
While I agree that capitalism is better than many government structures, and Americans have it pretty well relative to many others in our world, I also believe that America is plagued with a large number of very serious problems that directly stem from capitalism and/ or greed. It annoys me that we live in the richest country in the world, yet an employee who works full time might not even be able to afford basic medical care for his or her family because his capitalist employer doesn’t want to pay a living wedge or provide any worthwhile benefits. That is just silly.


Also, only in America could a thread go from "REI warranty change" to "capitalism has its problems."

What's a "living wedge"?


FLAG
By Will S
From Joshua Tree
Sep 20, 2013

Ray Pinpillage wrote:
Mark hit on why everyone should care. REI places a significant amount of pressure on the retail outdoor industry. When they change or stop their return policy the rest of the market no longer has to compete. In other words, REI is the reason most large climbing retailers have a no questions-asked (or very liberal) return policy.


First, I don't buy the fact that they defacto set policy by being the behemoth everyone has to compete with...that is retail-consultant, MBA school fantastyland BS. There are many ways to compete or points to compete upon..selection, service, atmopshere and on and on. Their return policy NEVER had an influence on me buying something there or elsewhere.

Second, I don't see any of the retailers I frequent who ever followed REI's overly lenient policy in the first place, so no they weren't setting policy by their actions. And third, I don't think any of them should have such a lenient policy, because immature entitled dbags will abuse it. Should be up to the discretion of the retailers, on a case by case basis. So, no, there is absolutely no reason why I should care other than that entitled dbags will finally get their free ride taken away.


FLAG
By Ryan Williams
Administrator
From London (sort of)
Sep 20, 2013
El Chorro

David Sahalie wrote:
Returning an item that they accept back isn't wrong. It isn't stealing, and we know stealing is wrong because if for no other reason than there are laws against it. Right and wrong doesn't apply here, and to say they do means you are implying your own sense of morality onto others, like the right wing christians telling gays they can't marry where it is legal and stoners in CO that smoking weed is wrong.


Most people consider steeling to be wrong because humans have decided collectively that people should be treated fairly. Taking something from someone just because you can is not fair play. We all know that. We don't need a law to tell us.

And like it or not, the Christians are only enacting their right to free speech. The laws they try to pass are passed democratically. Unless they are forcing you to abide by their rules, they aren't doing anything wrong.


FLAG
By coldatom
From Cambridge, MA
Sep 20, 2013
Jurassic Park

And if private landowners don't want climbers littering and being obnoxious on their property, they shouldn't allow access.


Except that sucks for climbers, which is why we judge people who endanger a policy we want continued. It's rational self interest to judge. Culture and social norms exist because of judgement.

Why else do people queue up in lines? (In some countries they don't.) Why don't I tease fat kids I see on the street? (Sometimes I do.) It's not b/c of a rule or a law. Basically, it's peer pressure. And it's a powerful force.

REI thought social forces would keep "abusive" returns in check. Maybe the policy was altruistic, maybe it was a cold business decision. Regardless, we liked the policy. Now it's gone.


FLAG
By Ray Pinpillage
From West Egg
Sep 20, 2013
Cleo's Needle

Will S wrote:
First, I don't buy the fact that they defacto set policy by being the behemoth everyone has to compete with...that is retail-consultant, MBA school fantastyland BS. There are many ways to compete or points to compete upon..selection, service, atmopshere and on and on. Their return policy NEVER had an influence on me buying something there or elsewhere. Second, I don't see any of the retailers I frequent who ever followed REI's overly lenient policy in the first place, so no they weren't setting policy by their actions. And third, I don't think any of them should have such a lenient policy, because immature entitled dbags will abuse it. Should be up to the discretion of the retailers, on a case by case basis. So, no, there is absolutely no reason why I should care other than that entitled dbags will finally get their free ride taken away.


Ignoring that what I said pertains to undergraduate level micro economics, I don't think you actually understood what I wrote. Either way, I'm glad that you support small climbing businesses because I think they are, and always will be, the backbone of climbing.


FLAG
By J Q
Sep 20, 2013
Me again!

Ray Pinpillage wrote:
So then you literally flunked out of business. The market changed and you failed to manage your business properly. That's your fault, not REI's. I'll bet you never had a business plan or a market analysis. .



Wrong wrong wrong and wright. I did have a business plan, did have market analysis by investment professionals, and managed my business properly for over 20 years, quite a long time in fact. Telling someone who owned a retail business for 20 years that they don't understand business only makes yourself more transparent: you don't understand retail so you should probably listen and not talk. I put children through college, funded a retirement, and paid for employee houses, cars, vacations; shit, I helped send five kids to college who don't even know my name. In that aspect it was a complete success. On the other hand, I obviously failed in the long run. I just find it really frustrating that now, after one entity corners the market, the parameters that were used to put me out of business have changed. They had more funding, thus more overhead, and thus could take the loss of the returns that were fundamental to their business plan. I did not have the funding, the overhead, and could not compete with their model. I know why I went out of business, do you??


Oh yea, they cut those practices out as soon as the last family retail store went out of business.


It sounds like the conservatives on this site really don't understand business, just how to worship wealth.


FLAG
By bearbreeder
Sep 20, 2013

hmmmm several pages of moralizing ... and no real information

at least not since OBAMA =P

heres a few actual news article links ...

But REI’s Seattle neighbor, national department-store chain Nordstrom, can relate. Like REI until recently, Nordstrom boasts a no-questions-asked returns policy. According to legend, a customer in the 1970s successfully returned a set of car tires to a Nordstrom’s store in Fairbanks, Alaska. The catch: Nordstrom has never sold tires.

A company spokeswoman says the story is true, explaining that Nordstrom had just taken over the general-store space where the man had originally purchased the tires and felt it was doing the right thing to honor the return.

Like REI once did, Nordstrom, which has 247 department stores in 33 states, will accept any item back from any of its stores for any reason, regardless of when it was purchased.

“If the quality isn’t there, if the garment is falling apart, whatever it is, we’ll take it back,” says spokeswoman Brooke White. “What we’re trying to do is stand behind our merchandise.”


blogs.wsj.com/moneybeat/2013/09/18/rei-nordstrom-and-the-per>>>

nordstorm of course owns OR


The hope among retailers is that the changes scare off bad customers. This bunch obviously includes criminals: At a National Retail Federation roundtable discussion this past summer—which featured panel members from Bloomingdale’s, by the way—industry players talked about the hot new scam involving returning stolen goods without receipts to stores in exchange for gift cards (which can be sold online for cash). But stores may also want so-called “serial returners” to take their business elsewhere too. An Associated Press report published in August revealed that big retailers such as Home Depot, J.C. Penney, Victoria’s Secret, and Best Buy have been using technology that tracks the “return activity” of shoppers. And if a customer’s return profile indicates he returns too much or too often, he may be banned from returning items for a spell, or simply be asked to leave the store for good.


Not all retailers are following the trend of toughening up return policies, however. L.L. Bean, Orvis, and Bloomingdale’s upscale competitor Nordstrom are sticking with their well-known, exceptionally generous policies. This may benefit them in the coming months. While a store’s return policies affect shopping decisions year-round, they’re especially important during the winter holiday shopping period—which is not only the height of gift-giving, but which, not coincidentally, is the peak time for returns as well.



business.time.com/2013/09/19/shoppers-face-end-of-generous-r>>>

someone mentioned MEC straying true to its roots ...

as much as i like MEC, i wouldnt be sure about that

they are
- only allowing previously approved candidates to run for their board
- lowering prices of gear in canada overall
- they changed their logo as shown below ... a lot of "members" screamed



- they have a rock solid for any reason guarantee which no doubt a few will moralize over ... i was there last week and two sales people told some lady to "buy anything from the clearance rack, if you dont like it just return it, well take care of you"
- they are moving hard into yoga pants, kids clothes and bikes
- when they started getting into bikes, members and small businesses screamed about how they would put them out of business

so there are definitely many people who think MEC is being yuppified

im drop by MEC every few weeks and spend quite a bit there personally

i still support small stores in squamish, namely climb on, escape route and valhalla pure in squamish ... but for stuff where things have a decent chance of failing, like headlamps (notice the MPers in the headlamp thread complaining about failure), i buy from MEC for their warranty ...

;)


FLAG
 
By Keny Glasscock
From Salt Lake City
Sep 20, 2013

Kirby1013 wrote:
Really tough guy? Good for you. Miss the part where I write the words "first pair of climbing shoes"... and I'm stupid.


No, I read your post. Beginners blow out shoes, precisely in the location you alluded to. take your lumps and keep at it and you can say you wore out your shoes from use, not bad technique. I've returned stuff that was defective, policy allows that. But if a person is actually using the gear it wouldn't take 6 months to figure out it's defective, unless as you say "it's my first pair". I would never return a pair of shoes I wore a hole in, but that's me.


FLAG


Follow replies to this topic? Notify me at the top of web site.
1

Email me.
Page 3 of 6.  <<First   <Prev   1  2  3  4  5   Next>   Last>>