written by runnergirl training
When people think of garage sales images such as a vase from the 60's, a broken clock radio & ratty clothes spring Timmons. But when attending an REI garage sale such images vanish to the reality of deeply discounted slightly dinged & returned gear.
REI is an amazing store to find outdoorsy gear, shoes & clothing. They carry medium to higher end brands that can be quite costly. If you are budget conscious or just don't like to pay full retail then their regular markdowns are good for scoring products. If you are looking for an even deeper discount then the garage sale is where it's at!
The REI garage sale can happen on multiple dates a year. The website suggests to contact your local store or their specific website to see the dates and times. It is available to RE Co-Op members only. Membership is $20 and good for a lifetime. The garage sale itself is not online, only in stores.Depending on the store location people may camp out a day or many hours before the garage sale begins. If you are really adamant about being first in line I recommend talking to the REI staff and searching online for what time people show up.
I arrived 2 hours before the Dallas store opened and people had camped overnight & were a few hundred in line.
About an hour before the store opened an REI employee handed out a ticket with a specific time to return to enter the garage sale. Those lucky individuals at the front of the line were given 10am and it increased in time frame going down the line. They encouraged people to leave & return at their time. A new line formed for those who returned. The original line dispersed. Each group had 25 minutes to shop the garage sale.
Once you enter the garage sale section it is a bit of a mad-dash-free-for-all. Merchandise is arranged with like items. Hiking shoes and boots on tables, clothes hanging from racks, boxes with smaller items to rummage through & backpacks and rolled up sleeping bags along the side or on tables.
I suggest to split up from your friends or family so more ground can be quickly covered. Since there is a time crunch people tend to grab items and then decide in the store if they want them. Customers pay for their items at the regular store registers.
All in all, the REI garage sale was a fun experience! I was looking for a backpack but ended up finding running socks & shoes inserts. I realized that the level of quality of products available can vary a lot based on where you stand in line. If you want the top pick make sure to be early to your local REI store!