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733 Something to be
Thankful for ...
REI's Customer Service

Albuquerque's REI

We lifted the image from the REI site ...

As Thanksgiving is approaching, we realize that we have many things to give thanks for. However, this past summer - we had a good reason to be thankful for REI - the outdoors store. Okay, a store is actually mighty low on the thankful list but wait...

Yes, REI is a mega store. Yes, REI takes sales away from local stores. Yes, few of their employees are grizzlied veterans who would know what a Sierra Designs 60/40 jacket was and why it was at one time sold as a rain jacket, or had ever slept in a canvas pup tent, or drank unfiltered water. But ... REI has one thing that must local stores are lacking and definitely missing from most online stores - customer service.

When we were in Albuquerque, NM last summer, our year old Garmin GPS quit working. We had just started a hike when the unit quit. We had never dropped or abused the GPS - we just pushed the 'on' button but the unit did not start. We immediately thought that the problem was the batteries, so we replaced them. Nope it was still not working. So, we then took the batteries from the other GPS unit (yes we were carrying two) but the unit still would not power up. Drats. It was a Sunday morning, but we knew that an REI store was located relatively close to where we were hiking. We would swing by the store after the hike.

The store was a bit hard to find. We followed the directions on the iPhone, making several irrational turns, but finally arrived at the store. The parking area was filled as we circled the lot before finding a spot. Inside, the store was also busy.

We waited in line for a short while, then Jennifer, the customer service worker, assisted us. We had detailed information on why the GPS was not working and all the different tests we had made. Jennifer didn't care. The GPS was broken and her simple answer was, 'why don't you see if we have a replacement.'

After finding a new GPS unit we returned to the counter and the smiling worker started completing the exchange. She told us the amount we paid for our old GPS and that because the new unit was not currently on sale, we would have to pay the difference (even though it was an exact replacement.) Then after thinking a moment, she agreed that it was just a swap. She smiled. We smiled. And then we spent the next thirty minutes on a mini-shopping spree!

REI's customer service is what makes the store special. Ours was a no fuss, simple experience. Maybe REI uses customer service to an unfair advantage over other stores, regardless, we were indeed thankful for the commitment to the customer.

Yes, we are a REI Affiliate, but we are also REI co-op members who shop online and at the stores.

Happy Thankful for Great Customer Service trails



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