REI
3.7 of 5 405 reviews
www.rei.com Kent, WA 5000+ Employees

REI Reviews

Updated Apr 20, 2014
All Employees Current Employees Only

3.7 405 reviews

                             

78% Approve of the CEO

REI President and CEO Jerry Stritzke

Jerry Stritzke

(37 ratings)

78% of employees recommend this company to a friend
405 Employee Reviews
Relevance Date Rating
in

Review Highlights

Pros:
  • "Work life balance is really good and def helpful if you have a family"
    in 45 reviews
  • "If you are looking for part-time work to subsidize your income this is a great job"
    in 39 reviews
Cons:
  • "Selling memberships is their number one goal"
    in 33 reviews
  • "I regret ever getting involved with REI as a full-time gig"
    in 27 reviews
  • Show more review highlights

Reviews

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  • No Opinion of CEO

1 person found this helpful  

Great culture & great benefits

Customer Service Representative (Former Employee)
Madison, WI

I worked at REI as a contractor for less than a year

ProsWork hard, play hard culture encourages workers to use the equipment that is sold. Employees that hike/bike/camp/paddle outside of work are rewarded by management. Employees also enjoy deep discounts on all equipment

ConsREI often offers only LTE. Business can be very weather dependent.

Advice to Senior ManagementVisibility was sometimes an issue, however management always kept employees motivated no matter where they were working for the day.

Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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1 person found this helpful  

Authentic company with great values.

Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)

I have been working at REI full-time for more than 8 years

ProsWorking with great people, great benefits, super discounts, and most of the customers are like-minded individuals that are not too difficult to work with.

ConsIt's retail and it's a Coop so you can't expect a large paycheck between the low wages and inconsistent scheduling. In fact, unless you're in management it will be difficult to make a living here. There seems to be a bit of a disconnect between senior leadership and the stores.

Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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Friendly coworkers for part-time retail

Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)

I have been working at REI part-time

ProsI like working at REI because my coworkers are (for the most part) nice, helpful, friendly people. It's rewarding to help people. You get excellent prodeals and a good discount.

ConsYou are required to work on weekends and holidays, because it is retail. There are no guaranteed hours, and few people have health insurance.

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2 people found this helpful  

A wonderful culture with great and caring people.

Director (Current Employee)
Kent, WA

I have been working at REI full-time for more than 5 years

ProsGreat opportunity to work for a mission driven retailer. New leadership and strategy will set us up for success in the years to come. Change can be hard but exciting.

ConsLots to do but we need to take a holistic view and focus on the game changers. We are industry leaders but sometimes have been slow to move on some things. Glad we are moving forward.

Advice to Senior ManagementDuring times of change remember to do the right thing. This is the heart and soul of our business and probably the reason you joined and others wish they could join.

Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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11 people found this helpful  

A Great Place to Work Until It's Not

Store Manager (Former Employee)

I worked at REI full-time for more than 10 years

ProsThere is a good synergy that can be experienced at REI depending on the store location and the leadership at a given store. The people that work there are usually fun, active and enjoy camaraderie while on the job or pursuing their outdoor interests. You can share good company, good times and create strong friendships. At work there is often a strong sense of teamwork and people genuinely care about each other. It can be really satisfying helping customers gain knowledge about the outdoor pursuits they are interested in and helping them select gear that can make the experience all the more enjoyable. There is usually a strong emphasis on ensuring positive experiences for the customer and contributing to that goal feels good. You will be recognized outside of work and customers will show genuine appreciation for the great advice, gear and service you provided them. I have seen peoples' lives positively and significantly impacted by the experiences and adventures that were facilitated by a trip to REI. That is always very cool.

ConsThe direction REI takes tends to be determined by whatever prevailing economic wind might be blowing. One season might be all about ensuring a positive experience for the customer, followed by the next season scrambling to increase profit margins by drastically cutting expenses (payroll/ schedule hours). Don't tell me that a 30% decrease in payroll doesn't impact the experience that customers have...it's pretty noticeable from their perspective. From the employee perspective it means one month you might have as many hours as you can work, followed the next month by next to nothing. REI talks a lot about Work Life Balance as a company value, but it's hard for employees to find any life balance when their hours and take-home pay can fluctuate so wildly.
REI's leadership tends to be very inconsistent. There are some great managers who really care about the company, the customer and employees, and work hard to encourage, develop and advocate for their success. And there are managers that are manipulative, lack integrity, show a ridiculous amount of favoritism, and generally are looking out only for themselves and to curry favor for future endorsements. Upper leadership tends not to be able to identify who is who. I've seen the former type of manager somehow run afoul of their superiors and soon forced out in nasty fashion even after years of dedicated service, while the later type of manager is allowed to contentedly continue on, creating division and rancor while somehow receiving praise from those higher up. It's head scratchingly laughable and frustrating at the same time. Your experience at REI will likely depend entirely on which type of manager you happen to be associated with. At some point in your career you will probably realize it is simply time to move on.

Advice to Senior ManagementIt doesn't matter what the economy is doing. The fundamentals of REI's success continue to be the same. Value your employees. Invest in them. Pay them what they are worth (a lot). Advocate for and ensure their success.
Your employees will deliver the future if you allow them to. They will deliver the customer. Yeah, they are expensive. So what? It's the cost of your continued success. Your employees are your ultimate differentiator. Get out of their way.

Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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3 people found this helpful  

REI has a great reputation, but fails to live up to the hype

Retail Associate (Former Employee)
Sacramento, CA

I worked at REI full-time

Prosbest perks of any job i have ever had, good coworkers, lots of people around that want to do the fun outdoor things that you want to do - so there is never a dull day off.

Consbad management, extremely low pay, little concern over employee well-being, turn-and-burn mentality on new-hires, lying right to my face on important issues, management is never on the floor - always sitting in back checking their Facebook or retirement accounts.

Advice to Senior ManagementTreat your employees with respect. Give them the benefit of the doubt, they might surprise you.

Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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4 people found this helpful  

Fun place to work but not a career

Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)

I worked at REI

ProsIf you're just working part-time, it's a great place. Flexible work hours, great deals on gear.

ConsImpossible to work at a retail store and support yourself. Even as a top performer, you still can't get 40 hours a week. Management hasn't actually been well-trained and are typically not the most intelligent people - just the people who have been there the longest.

Advice to Senior ManagementValue your good employees and offer opportunities outside of just the typical store management track.

Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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2 people found this helpful  

Nice people. No pay.

Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)

I worked at REI

ProsGreat deals on gear. Very nice coworker.

ConsPoor pay. Not enough room for advancement.

Advice to Senior ManagementPay Better

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5 people found this helpful  

I believed the feel-good hype, until I started working here

Sales Specialist (Current Employee)
Los Angeles, CA

I have been working at REI full-time for more than 3 years

ProsProdeals, mostly good coworkers, getting to try out new gear.

ConsSelling memberships is their number one goal. Not customer service, not community service, not educating their employees to be experts in camping or footwear or action sports. The REI "expert in a green vest" is an expert at selling memberships, not at hiking, biking, skiing, or backpacking. Outreach classes have been almost non-existent over the last 6 months, informational 'morning huddles' deal exclusively with membership sales and not with product information, knowledgeable employees have been forced out due to "scheduling conflicts" while employees with no product knowledge and limited outdoor experience who have become close friends with management get almost 40 hours a week. Store management has become insular, hiding in their offices for hours on end, never coming out to the sales floor, ignoring employees whose views do not align perfectly with their own, promoting only those one or two employees who only tell them how wonderful they are, the store manager allows the sales managers to rule through fear and ignorance while he sits in his office and waits to retire.

Advice to Senior ManagementGet back to basics on product training, informed and educated staff do more to sell memberships than slimy used car salesman tactics. Give the stores the payroll budget to train all employees in all departments; a well-trained staff will sell more, act as a team, increase customer enjoyment of the shopping experience, and increase employee retention.

No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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3 people found this helpful  

The Best Part-Time Retail Job You Will Ever Have

Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)

I have been working at REI full-time for more than 3 years

ProsYour coworkers are (for the most part) interesting, intelligent, amazing people. Flexible hours, which is awesome if you are a student, have another job, or can afford to take long periods of time off without pay. Benefits are great, if you work more than 22 hours per week on average. Prodeals are fantastic --- just make sure you have a second job so you can afford them. At least you're surrounded by amazing gear all day long.

ConsI regret ever getting involved with REI as a full-time gig. The pay is terrible. If this is your sole source of income, you will have a hard time affording prodeals, food, and rent. You will never have weekends off -- or even two days off in a row -- unless you request them weeks in advance. If you do make those requests, be prepared to have your weekly hours cut. You will also frequently be scheduled 6-9 days in a row, always over a weekend so you never work more than 38 hours in any given pay period. Hours are never consistent and management is constantly under pressure to cut payroll, so be prepared to feel understaffed on the floor. Corporate cannot seem to figure out what direction the company should be moving in. Policies are consistently nebulous, unexplained, or outright ignored. New software seems to be developed by people who have never actually worked in a retail location, and on top of that, the company has been incredibly slow at embracing technology. Advancement within the company involves a process that is almost never discussed and never fully explained. When questioned, management staff will give you a print out, claim it is "a very personal and self-reflective process" and never discuss it with you again. Moving up generally involves having to relocate as new stores open. Management seems like a pretty sweet deal: you set up a few displays and hang out in the back office talking with your fellow managers and occasionally answer pages and write the schedule. All that being said, if you are looking for a part-time gig and aren't relying on the income, it'd definitely be a fun part-time job.

Advice to Senior ManagementI understand the company is moving ever-faster towards a big-box version of retail, but maybe could take the time to develop and encourage talent from within? Corporate needs to have a clear idea of where the company is headed and be able to communicate that message to retail locations. I'm sure they will continue to make money hand over fist selling TNF jackets and REI-brand clothing items, but I doubt the company will be able to maintain its reputation as a true outdoor retailer.

No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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REI – Why Work for Us?

We Think It's Important to Feel Good About Where You Work People love working at REI because it's a place where you can be yourself, be heard and be respected while enjoying a work-life balance. Another reason is that… Full Overview

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