The sale started at 9am on Jan 1st. This is a sale from all
the merchandise that has been returned or exchanged and is for sale
“as is” at a very reduced price from it original price. I thought
being the day after Newyears most people would still be recovering
from their celebration the night before. Hoping to find a smaller
groups of people, because I don’t enjoy large crazy crowds. I thought I may try
and see if I could find a good deal. I wasn’t looking for something spicific, but something that was such a good deal that I didn’t want to pass up.
When we 1st showed up the line was the whole length of the strip mail this was way more than I had anticipated. And most every body in the line was wearing their outdoor gear. It look kind of like and ad for REI, which was funny to see all the different brands names people we sporting from clothing to water bottles to all the camp chairs, all of which REI sold inside. Being that it was cold and raining out side for most people I not sure if it was like wearing your favorite band’s tee shirt to their concert to fit in or show just how dedicated a fan you are or just that outdoor clothing was the best choice to wear that day, given the weather and how long most people were wiling to wait outside in it for the 1st shot at their beloved gear inside.
When I arrived with my buddy around 8:20 and realized the length of the line and the rain outside I said lets wait in the car until 8:50 then head over to the line when the doors open. My though was why stand in the line in the rain for a bad place in line, instead stay dry and still get a bad place in line. But my hiking buddy wanted the experience of the “standing in line thing for something”, so I agreed, being that it was his second time to REI and to him this store is better than Disney Land to a 8 year old.
Starbucks was in the same parking lot so it was the main drink of choice for all those in line who had been braving the water from before pre-dawn light. It was like watching a line of ants that have found the sugar bowl that is in your kitchen as they make longs line across your counter tops to some hole or crack in the wall as they steal your sugar back to their colony. It was a stead steam of people going back and forth across the parking lot to the Starbucks and back to their place in line where on of their buddies were holding their spot, wait for the return of the elixir of life in the form of Java.
When the door opened the line quickly but smoothly and orderly move to into the store. As I passed the two REI empolyee that were at the front doors welcoming people in, I heard on say to the other hushed and on the down low, “Ive never seen this many people before for a scratch and dent sale”. This sounded like a bad omen to me.
At the point we crossed the threshold of the door it was like crossing the starting line of a race. Some how this orderly, friendly, and well mannered crowd morphed into a survival race of some sorts. The scratch and dent bins look more like feeding trough for crazed staving cattle. Nice and friendly people out side had turn in elbows and shoving.
Some people had grabed as many items as they could stuff into a bag and run to a corner of the store and then start inspecting or trying on as they decided on what items to no longer keep in the hoarded bag of used gear.
One person had grab a pile of shoes and had taken them to a back corner of the store. While they were trying on shoes other people were coming by and if they saw a set of shoes they liked they would grab a set out of the pile while this person was not looking. Until this person notice that the set of shoes that they had worn into the store was now gone. They quickly abounded their stash of shoes and was no longer trying on shoes but going around asking people to please return their shoes because they were not for sell.
It was strange to see perfectly normal people change so quickly and lose their humanity with out reason, during an event that wasn’t even a life and death situation.