Disclaimer: I used to stand outside the first REI store in Seattle in the 1970s with my now incredibly old REI card and number and wait in line for the amazing products that I was sure I needed to camp/hike.
I get REI. I get it in downtown Seattle. What I didn’t see for so long was not everything I yearned for I actually needed. I finally got it.
I want this store to continue as long as I do and I am more than willing to see all manners of changes in order that it does.
A friend checked all the greater Seattle area REI stores and only downtown had the item in stock. So it was that just yesterday I wandered diagonally across the store and down the stairs to find where house elves lived and stocked items. Everyone at REI was unfailingly polite and customer focused, easy peasy pickup.
I had to go up and down a large number of stairs, including the near circular stairs in the center of the building which do a wonderful job of displaying all the people and products in the store. I enjoy stairs and looking at the merchandise is always fun. If I truly had a Christmas List, everything at REI would be on it. OK, maybe not downhill skis …
On every single stair I went up and down there were a line of people, like on the Chilkoot Pass trudging up and down. That is when it hit me, these people were not setting Strava on fire. One must always be aware of able-ism, not everyone has the same physical capabilities and yet…that couldn’t have been the case for all of them…there were too many ages and too many differences. Or were there. Is it possible that some folks merely shop to look like they exercise and optoutside? Or is trudging the new norm, facilitated by looking at cell phones when walking and even without cell phones everyone moves slowly through the world.
What about the person I picked up the headlamp for? Out the next morning in the dark running with it…