Technical Support Specialist | Remote | Apr 28, 2022
Shiny exterior, with some horrible flaws
To start, depending on y our department, the company could be AMAZING. I really enjoyed the first few years of my time at REI. It had its faults, like any other job, but then things changed dramatically. In our org, end user support, several leaders moved on to different roles in the company or left altogether. Then the nepotism began. They started filling leadership roles with people from Alaska Airlines and people who have worked together and were friends before. People with zero qualifications were being promoted to positions of leadership. People with so little technical experience, that they need to call the help desk to help plug in their mice and keyboards are in charge of the entire technical support department. These people have no experience in running the various departments (service desk, tier 2 support, IT Inventory/asset management, procurement) and they ignore the experts they put in place to cover these areas. For multiple years, they were told they needed to prioritize certain initiatives over others, based on industry standards. They ignored that and chose to pursue failing initiatives instead, losing dedicated employees in the process.
There is no opportunity for advancement unless you're in the "club". People in the "club" are frequently rewarded for seemingly no reason. In meetings, there's time dedicated to talking them up in front of everyone, telling them how amazing they are. If you ever have a problem interacting with any of these untouchables, you
Customer Service Representative | Denver, CO | May 31, 2019
Ok. Here’s what you need to know…
Looking for a job that’s connected to a community of ‘Outdoor’ enthusiasts, buy cool gear at discount and learn about equipment? Look no further than REI. This retailer has a well established ‘outdoor’ culture, great store activities and great workers. REI features a dividend paying ‘co-op membership’ program - sourced by the original founders - that’s unique on the national retail landscape. The Co-op has been great for ‘brand’ identity and customer retention in an increasingly crowded marketplace dominated by competition from online retail juggernauts. Plus, let’s be honest here, it also provides an additional revenue stream for REI and a huge data dump capturing customer information so they can sell the very same folks more stuff. Brilliant business model! Sadly, many customers come into the store, view or try on stuff, then buy it online. So it will come as no surprise that you the employee will be pressed incessantly to sell more $20 co-op memberships and held accountable. Finally expect to be drinking lots of “Co-Op Way” company kool-aid.
Despite all the fawning ‘five star’ reviews here, employment at REI does have limitations. Primarily, the hourly pay rate (no sales commission) is several dollars lower than most other chains and the big box stores. REI tries to sweeten this imbalance by offering the aforementioned employee discounts on store merchandise which is actually routed through the manufacturer. Don’t tell anyone, but you can get the very
Like everywhere else, could be better or much worse
Pay is higher than typical retail sales associate jobs in the area. The culture is predominantly white, so take from that what you will. You get one day of training when hired (following someone on the floor). I would have liked to get training in each department and training on bestselling products. Schedule is somewhat unpredictable which is typical in retail. If you want a weekend day off, you better request it, otherwise you will be scheduled every weekend. Lack of direction as far as daily tasks/duties outside of “talk to every customer” and “get those memberships”. They push getting customers to become a member wayyyyyy too hard on sales floor staff. Typically, that is something cashiers would be primarily doing since they are the last person the customer interacts with and the only staff member that can ACTUALLY put through memberships. Pushing memberships that hard with EVERY customer is tedious and annoying (and that comes from customers mouths as well). Some customers just really don’t want to be bothered and so many others are regulars and already members. How do you think it feels to be a customer walking through two levels of a store where multiple employees are asking you if you are a member or trying to get you to sign up if not? Thankfully, the majority of my coworkers are friendly, patient, knowledgeable, and always willing to answer questions. Management is ok. Not too micromanagement like. Hardly ever seems to be enough staff on in the mornings (especially
ProsSnacks, discount, pay, work with useful product
ConsLack of training, delegation, and diversity/inclusion
Amazing mission with difficult advancement opportunity
Great company culture and mission. Really becoming a force and an outspoken voice in the outdoor industry and for protection of public lands. Relaxed work environment with high expectations to make a difference and provide great customer service. Staff is always engaged with each other and collaboration on all levels of the business is key to accomplishing their vision for the future. They have done an amazing job to add value to employment and do the right thing for their retail staff, but being retail, employees at the brick and mortar level have extremely high expectations for work load that are not always reflected in their paychecks.
Management is difficult to reach from the part time level and once hired the demands of these teams is predictably unpredictable. Predictability came from daily duties which carry all the management standards like scheduling, employee reviews, hiring, merchandising, coaching, documentation, event planning, community outreach, engaging staff, engaging with customer service issues, managing shipping systems, metric analysis, and communicating with HQ to maintain an operationally sound store. Unpredictability often reared its face in the form of last minute sales initiatives or conflicting messaging about processes that unintentionally could double work loads for already distressed teams. Competition for senior management is even more cutthroat and can affect management team morale. The hardest part of the job was feeling so connected wi
ProsGreat health care, relaxed environment, great culture, feel part of something bigger, paid days off, bonus, balance
Consmissed breaks, internal competition, difficult to be promoted, retail hours
Store Management lacks leadership, better places to work
I was excited to work as a seasonal part-time REI employee because I liked the products and believed in their mission. After 4 months I've left REI very disappointed. Prospective employees should know the wage is really low. Management plays favorites and is unresponsive. I signed up to help with inventory at another REI 30 miles away. I got to the store and my manager never submitted my name (I was the only one) and was turned away. I came back from vacation and my vest was missing. After almost 4 months my hours were drastically cut. I asked my manager several times if I had done something wrong and he said no, I was fine, business was down. I called my manager twice over a month to let him know I was availalbe. He said he would email me the schedule, I had to leave my email twice before I finally got the schedule. After 5 weeks of no hours I was scheduled only to be told my seasonal employment was terminated and goodbye. Really? He couldn't have said something over the 5 weeks I had called and left him notes? My last work shift I had sold 3 memberships on my own which is good, I wasn't extended because evidently "I am not a good fit." No further explanation. I was escorted out--very humiliating.
A co-worker (who is efficient) is still working despite the fact he had told me and others he hates REI clothing. I even heard him tell a customer who was returning an item he hates REI clothing. This is who they keep to work.
Fortunately, I have a good day job which p
Prosgood Prodeals, interesting customers
Conslow wage, mgmt not trained to be leaders, employee cliques
Great to work with people that share your interests, but ultimately still a retail job
REI is a great place to work if you: 1) don't mind an inconsistent schedule, you can go from working 40 hours one to 16 the next, 2) have the means and want to buy lots of outdoor gear, 3) like to to talk to people about outdoor activities and gear, 4) don't mind busy work during slow periods and feeling really under pressure when it's busy.
Scheduling is very typical of the retail industry. Low hours during slow periods, lots of hours available during sale periods. Managers at the store try to be as fair as they can, but I'm sure they're limited in what they can do. Expect to do plenty of typical retail work, which means lots of restocking and reorganizing.
Most of your coworkers will be super fun to hang out with and most customers are also really nice. Of course, there's always gonna be a few bad eggs. Culture is very LGBQT+ friendly. Otherwise, diversity of staff is kinda dependent on the location of store. Usually there are always a couple lifers around though.
Company culture was probably my least favorite part of the experience. REI is a big company and it acts like. You won't be pushed to do sales but you will be pushed to sell memberships. This is hearsay because I didn't experience it myself, but I've heard from coworkers that some managers might cut your hours or give you undesirable shifts if your membership metrics are bad. Regardless, some of your coworkers will be very gungho on REI culture, so that's something you will have to be comfortable with.
ProsFun coworkers, supportive managers, lots of cool toys, fair hourly rate and bonuses
Constypical retail scheduling practices, slow and busy periods typical of retail, "corporate" feeling company culture
REI may be the best place to work retail, especially if you love the outdoors. Sharing gear knowledge with customers and working alongside like-minded peers makes for a great work experience. Employees are given independence and empowered to make decisions without management intervention. Benefits include healthcare, 401K, annual bonus, paid holidays, vacation & sick time, employee discount/prodeals, and extremely flexible scheduling. REI will commit a minimum number of weekly hours per fiscal quarter, so you know what to expect. Depending on the store/market, advancement is generally available and managers will help you reach your career goals. Many of my coworkers have become great friends. The general atmosphere is positive and supportive.
The low pay, barely above minimum wage, is the primary downside. A store that requires extensive product knowledge, while selling $800 jackets and $5000 mountain bikes, could probably pay their employees (most of whom hold four year degrees or higher) a living wage. Due to low wages, many employees find they aren't able to afford discounted product, or they struggle to find the work/life balance that is promised because they need a second job to pay the bills. When the budget that corporate creates is not met by the store, hours get cut to your minimum. Scheduling is often disorganized, whether that mean getting scheduled outside your availability or in a department that you are not trained to work. Management
I won't speak to working in the stores. I'm sure that's dependent on the particular store manager, but I doubt it's a good job. Considering what the corporate employees make and the cost-cutting measures going on there, kiddies, seriously, don't look to REI as a place where you will rise up from the store floor. It just ain't gonna happen.
I don't know if this company ever promoted on merits, but it suffered from an old boys network of the original co-op founders for a long time. At least in that context, work/life balance and getting outside to actually use the gear was a consideration. Now, its just lip service.
This company doesnt sell stock because it's a co-op. Well, their burn rate of wasted money is pretty severe, so it's a miracle that what's coming in can even begin to cover it. However, do they look to the inefficiency of bad managers? No, of course, they look to chopping off employees who have any time and vacation accrued.
Corporate REI suffers from a rotting internal culture where the directors aren't interested in creativity, but just beating their corporate employees until good ideas come out, and then they cherry-pick those ideas, repackage them as their own, as well as ones they get from external creative houses, which they overspend on to an insane degree. They overspend on lavish parties and travel with these big-name design and architectural firms while they bleed their own employees dry. Serious ageism is going on, even though many of the corporate
When I first started at REI all seems well and good and then as time goes on the blinders fall off. The pay for what is asked of you is NOT enough. We are considered product experts and are paid as regular customer service reps. I climbed the ladder hoping to make a difference and found other issues. When dealing with other employees (known to be difficult employees) I was told to do my best to document behavior and employee coaching. After dealing with it for some time and doing my best to document and report behavior that was effecting the team and store as a whole, I was essentially told that it was a "known issue" and to "deal with it". I did my best to ask for help when I needed it and passed certain issue up the chain to management and in many cases was told I was not doing enough. I ended up staying too long. I would come home crying almost everyday after trying to do my best to help the store and company succeed. I tried to change the way I lead, tried talking to said employees in a different way, tried to get help from fellow leads, tried talking to management about it as well. All the Leads were essentially told the same as me. While the benefits are fantastic and there are days that you get paid for even when the store is closed, it was not worth my mental health. I don't have the ability to just clock in. I want to do the best that I can and with the way issues were handled, I could not. They did a good job at the start of COVID-19 and did right by at le
ProsSick time, Vaction time, Great perks, Generally a good place to work
Consupper management and the direction of the company recently. People leave management, not jobs.
the best place for retail, if thats what you want to do.
As far as retail goes, REI is pretty good. You get to talk about pretty cool things with good customers. And you get prodeal. Most costumers are nice and chill, some get up in your face about returns or not enough of a deal.
Pay absolutely sucks. The company will pride itself on being a co-op and caring about its employees and customers, yet they will not provide livable wages. I know "every store is different", but this is a pretty prevalent and discussed problem among REI employees. Management tends be too lax with their employees and do not discipline nearly enough. You will absolutely make more money if you commit to being there for 8+ years, regardless of your work performance. This can be frustrating if you feel someone is undeserving of a raise or is a horrible coworker, tenure holds more status.
With all this being said, I met some of my best friends at this job, it is a great place to meet like minded people. If you shift your mindset to not caring too much about details, you'll thrive. As soon as you start caring about your department or pay, you'll realize it kind of sucks. This is a great place if you need a little money on the side, want to meet cool people, and get prodeal.
They are generally good with work life balance, as most of their employees are part time students or dirtbags looking for prodeal. With that being said, it's unlikely you'll get time off during sales, holidays, or weekend days consistently in a row. My store was understaffed and I w
Questions And Answers about REI
How often do you get a raise at REI?
Asked Mar 15, 2021
Yearly and salary surveys mid year someone create a cost of living or market adjustment
Answered Dec 6, 2022
Answered Dec 2, 2022
What is the promotion process like at REI?
Asked May 13, 2022
It can be cumbersome.
Answered Dec 6, 2022
Wait for someone to quit, if you’re willing to push memberships like a drug dealer then you will likely move up.
Answered Nov 22, 2022
What is the best part of working at REI?
Asked Dec 21, 2019
When management stays out of the way and let you do your job.
Answered Aug 22, 2022
Answered May 13, 2022
What questions did they ask during your interview at REI?
Asked Aug 3, 2019
The interview was basic. I don'tnt think that they hire many or any people of color into their manager programs. No matter how experience you are.
Answered Aug 22, 2021
There is a training program prior to working there which is fun and helpful. It helps to be an outdoor person. Experience with camping, hiking, canoe / river rafting, SUP, skiing, bicycling, running, etc. would be helpful but not essential.
Answered Jan 3, 2021
How did you get your first interview at REI?
Asked Jun 19, 2016
Added my resume to the online job took, and got a call from the recruiter.