Anyone work at REI?


Original Post
grog m aka Greg McKee · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2012 · Points: 0

What's it like? Would you recommend it? Mostly experienced workers, or newbies? Part time vs full time?

beensandbagged · · R.I. · Joined Oct 2013 · Points: 0

what seemed like wide spread employee dissatisfaction made the news recently that may make interesting reading.

Jake Jones · · Richmond, VA · Joined Jul 2011 · Points: 748
beensandbagged wrote:what seemed like wide spread employee dissatisfaction made the news recently that may make interesting reading.


Link?
Ice4life · · US · Joined Nov 2010 · Points: 5

REI owns this site, they'll delete anything against them! just kidding, on the second part.

Ian Machen · · Reno, NV · Joined Sep 2016 · Points: 20

Current REI Retail and Outdoor School employee here. It depends on the store. I work in Reno, and I've never had a better time. First job out after being in the military for 15 years. Good management, good benefits, and enjoyable place to work. Pay is getting better, and they are investing in all stores, bringing up wages up. It's still not exactly a living wage, and you'll never get rich doing it, but is still decent for retail.

We, at my store, haven't done a hiring in almost 2 years due to the number of high quality employees that we have sticking around. Most people climb, almost everyone hikes, and we have a fair number of cyclists and paddlers as well.

I am full time in the store, and part time at the Outdoor School.

Lee Durbetaki · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2016 · Points: 0

I worked there for about a year. I found it quite nice as retail jobs go. I was fortunate to have excellent managers and dedicated co-workers (with some exceptions, but most of them didn't last.

I have been to other locations where I was less impressed with the staff.

Two of the three most experienced climbers worked in the warehouse, so we got called out when customers had more complicated questions. I sold a lot of climbing equipment for purposes other than rock climbing.

The most successful sales staff were the ones who realized that customer service skills were more important than geeking out about gear.

Tony T. · · Denver, CO · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 10

I worked at two stores (one a flagship store) for 7 years during undergrad and grad school, but I left in 2014. REI being a good place to work really depends on your definition(s). Do you wish to live off of your income and have some modicum of reliability to your scheduling? If yes, then I'd say look elsewhere. If that doesn't apply to you, then it's a great place to work!

There are articles aplenty about the less than stellar work environment across the company over the recent years, and how it has fallen from it's glory days of being a company that really values it's employees.

http://www.thestranger.com/slog/2016/07/11/24328725/rei-workers-call-for-better-pay-and-working-conditions-consider-unionization

https://www.facebook.com/REIemployees/

https://www.socialistalternative.org/2016/09/16/seattle-rei-workers-win-raises-hours-struggle/

Read Glassdoor reviews too.

It's a kool-aid kind of company, so you're going to get a lot of glowing reviews from people who drink it, and a lot of "meh" reviews from people who have moved on with their lives.

Ben Dueweke · · Denver, CO · Joined Jan 2014 · Points: 25

I worked at REI for about a year. Basically you work with good people and the job can be enjoyable but the pay is garbage.

Because of the prodeals, it is worth it as a side gig. I do not recommend working there full time though.

Chet Butterworth · · Chattanooga · Joined Jan 2013 · Points: 285

I turned in my two weeks after my first shift.

I got hired taking kids backpacking in the Rockies after my first day. Sweet discounts and pro-deals made my three weeks there very pleasant.

But I did have to get used to being yelled at by upper-class middle-aged moms who couldn't figure out their Chaco straps.

Monty · · Golden, CO · Joined Mar 2006 · Points: 2,689

I agree that it is a great place to work part-time only. In order to be listed as "full-time," you must have a completely open schedule, which can be really hard on relationships.

I worked for the company off and on from 2004-2016 and enjoyed most of my time there. However, the recent years have been incredibly hard on many of my friends who still work full-time for the company. At least at the store I worked at, they expect a lot of their full-time employees and offer very little in return.

On a positive note: The prodeals and benefits are fantastic, the people are generally awesome, and REI is a major donor for the Access Fund. They are an integral part of the success of the Access Fund Conservation Team. As a whole I think the company is moving in a positive direction, but they would benefit greatly from increasing the payroll stores have to work with.

Eric G. · · Saratoga Springs, NY · Joined Apr 2012 · Points: 25

Glassdoor shows pay between $11 - $14/hour.

Is that accurate? Is that low for small-scale retail?

Strikes me as a job for high school/college students at those rates.

Tony T. · · Denver, CO · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 10
Eric G. wrote:Glassdoor shows pay between $11 - $14/hour. Is that accurate? Is that low for small-scale retail? Strikes me as a job for high school/college students at those rates.
It depends on the market. Also, what do you mean "small-scale retail? This is a gigantic multi-billion dollar corporation that tries to sell itself as a "co-op". I regularly engaged in multi-thousand dollar transactions when I worked there, so it's definitely not small-scale transactions either.

In terms of the pay rate, I'll put it this way. I actually qualified for food stamps while I was considered a "full-time" employee there. I also qualified for unemployment benefits since I was being "under-employed" as a "full-time" employee. It's incredibly difficult to live off of that wage(but it can be done) in any of the "cool cities" markets like Denver.

The other trouble with your statement is that it's hardly just high-school and college students. The full-timers usually can't be enrolled in classes since they need to leave their availability wide open for hours to maintain their rolling average for their benefits package. I somehow managed it, but it wasn't pleasant, and I lost out on hours because of it. Most of the full-timers I worked with were in their late 20s and up, and were definitely not just student employees.

Also, if your rolling average for hours slipped down below a certain threshold because you had the nerve to have a life outside of REI, then you lost your health care, your higher vacation accrual rates, etc. Managers have also been known to "schedule death" employees they didn't want to keep around.

This isn't coming from some jamoke either. I regularly "exceeded expectations" in my reviews, had a stellar membership conversion rate, and was very well liked by my peers. However, the retail side of the outdoor industry is a bit of a joke anyway, and I left that behind for a nice career in IT.

The happiest employees I knew there were the ones that had another source of income and treated it as their "fun" job. They mainly worked for the discount and because they were social butterflies who liked people.
grog m aka Greg McKee · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2012 · Points: 0

How would it work to stack it on my 8-5 job as a part time job? Would I have no spare time left?

Redyns · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2011 · Points: 0

after reading one of those links about REI employees, i have a feeling that a majority of the "homeless" employees;
1) actively decided to live in their car/van & 2) couldn't wait to tell their friends and co-workers about living in their van.

i feel like the REI employees are confusing Homelessness with Dirtbagging.

Lee Durbetaki · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2016 · Points: 0
grog m aka Greg McKee wrote:How would it work to stack it on my 8-5 job as a part time job? Would I have no spare time left?
If you're PT you can restrict your availability pretty much down to the minimum.
Ian Machen · · Reno, NV · Joined Sep 2016 · Points: 20
Monty wrote:I agree that it is a great place to work part-time only. In order to be listed as "full-time," you must have a completely open schedule, which can be really hard on relationships.


Tony T. wrote:The other trouble with your statement is that it's hardly just high-school and college students. The full-timers usually can't be enrolled in classes since they need to leave their availability wide open for hours to maintain their rolling average for their benefits package. I somehow managed it, but it wasn't pleasant, and I lost out on hours because of it. Most of the full-timers I worked with were in their late 20s and up, and were definitely not just student employees.
At least in my store, you don't have to have completely open availability in order to be full time. I go to school with a full schedule, and have been for the past to years, and have still been full time. Not only that, but I essentially have a second job at the Outdoor School, which limits my availability on the weekends. Depends on the store.

Tony is right in that your rolling average in order to be eligible for health care has to be up, and that threshold is 20 hours/week. That's on a yearly average. The way it works is that you have to work there for a year (unless you are hired on full time, in which case you're eligible for healthcare immediately) before you can get company healthcare, and in that year probation time, your average has to be over 20 hours/week. If it's not, you don't get healthcare. The healthcare isn't bad. I'm paying for my wife and I on the REI plan, middle of the road, nothing outrageous, and it's $300 a month. Pretty good, I think.

Be realistic with your goals. It's a retail store. The Co-Op is doing good things as far is raising the wages for EVERYONE that is currently working there (ex. recently with the adoption of new pay guidelines driven by previous employee complaints about pay, my ODS pay went up $1/hour, and my store pay will be going up about the same), so don't feel too bad about what the current pay rates are. You're not going to see more than $12/hour to start unless you're in one of the really ridiculous markets
Ben Glanton · · Atlanta,GA · Joined Nov 2010 · Points: 0

I don't quite understand the people complaining about a livable wage. This is retail. If you want a "livable wage" get a job that actually requires some sort of experience/education/skills. $10-$14 an hour for retail is pretty good.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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