The infamous co-op membership…

After years of giving them my business, I’ve finally become an REI member.

Considering my fairly active lifestyle and style preferences, I’ve shopped at REI many times over the years of my existence. Despite all of loyalty and business that I’ve given to REI, I’ve never officially been a member so I’ve never been able to cash in on the benefits that come with being a member.

Until now, that is.

After touring around my local REI store, I had picked out an item that I wished to purchase — a yellow and blue Burton hat discounted to a mere $7.

Finding a hat that was as cool as that one at that awesome price was enough to get me into a less-frugal mood, I guess. When I eventually made it to the cash register, I did something I had always considered doing but had never followed through on…

I became a member of the REI cooperative.

The main reason that I never became a member before was primarily due to the fact that it costs a one-time fee of $20 to become a member. As a struggling college student, I’ve never really had an extra $20 to throw at a membership that, to be honest, I wouldn’t be able to take advantage of very often. But, because I had over $100 in gift card credit, I decided that it was finally the time to pay my dues and become a member.

What was I waiting for, anyway?

With the better part of $100 still left on my gift cards, I will still be able to make a decently-sized purchase in the near future. And, since I’ll receive a 10% annual refund of what I’ve purchased, I should be able to cash in on at least one large purchase. Heck, I might actually be able to make some money off this! Probably not, but it’s at least worth a shot.

In addition to a 10% annual refund on all REI items that I buy, as a member, I’ll also gain access to the latest deals, in-store discounts, tool and gear rentals, and discounts on trips classes.

I could see myself purchasing some kayaks in the future…

To me, a mere $20 (that didn’t actually come out of my bank account) to become a member of REI was well-worth it. I’ve always wanted to become a member but I never felt comfortable paying the fee.

Since I was able to pay for it with my store credit, I am quite content now that I’m a member of the largest outdoor retailer in the country.

Now, whenever I make the trip to the REI store to drool over all the awesome equipment and gear that I wish I could have, at least I can feel a little better knowing that I’m a member. As far as the people there are concerned, I’m just a member of a club that’s checking to make sure that everything is operating soundly — and checking out the latest deals.

I’m sure that becoming a member of the REI community will end up being very beneficial for me in the future. Not only should I receive a discount on the jacket that I’ve already planned on buying, but I’ll get part of that cost back at the end of the year.

Sounds pretty solid to me.

If anything, at least I also got a sweet free sticker out of the deal.

The Rating: 86/100

Pro: REI is awesome; I’m a member of REI; that means that I’m awesome? Hopefully transitive properties of equality function here.

Con: I lost $20 and have yet another card to carry around in my wallet.

About me:

My name is Jack Russillo and I’m a college freshman who just moved to the big city (Seattle) from a small town in the middle of nowhere. Every day I rate something on a scale of 1 to 100.

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