After a pretty curt conversation today with Pa_ _ _ in Member Services, I've decided to tackle some burning and often laughable (around the campfire) conversations relating to the members' "relationship" with REI... especially in a season fraught with a pandemic that has upended so many lives.
If someone has managed to accrue $250 in member dividends over the previous year, but due to the immediacy of pandemic unemployment, death of loved ones, and survival, during possibly the most dire economic and social shutdowns of REI's and probably most of its members' lifetime... they don't use it for a purchase(s) or thoughtfully request a check...
Is that a conversation that has been had. I'd love to see the idea and the outcome of such Member thoughtfulness show up in the maelstrom of marketing materials I receive from the consumer's co-operative, founded on a unity in love for the outdoors (which arguably assumes a love for humanity as a part of and in "the outdoors").
A curiosity inspired by an interaction (hopefully on a recorded line) with someone, where I walked away from the conversation wondering "what was my part?," in creating the feeling I now bring to print. It felt so "profit over people" and void of the energy of compassion and camaraderie I get even when vehemently disagreeing with mates, spars, fellows, and friends in and about "the outdoors," even those I've only just met.
I am saddened that sometimes, we wind up just going through the motions. We forget why we're here. We forget why we joined people in common cause who shared our sense of humanity. We forget our common cause. I suggest that there is NOTHING the world could use now more than to remember... we are not alone, we're in this together, and much like our hikes and adventures, it is the journey we're after! So, to Pa_ _ _, I offer hope and a suggestion... "Fake it 'til you make it."
For my part, should there be a tomorrow, I'll make it better than today, through my own remembering, as well.
@n10s first and foremost, we want to genuinely thank you for reaching out with your feedback, concern, frustration and thoughtful words. As we understand it, the dividend you earned from your purchases in 2018 must have just expired at the end of 2020, before you were able to spend the dividend or request a check be mailed to you. This is definitely disappointing.
Although we are not able to help directly here in the community, we have shared your feedback with our Membership Services manager.
You do realize that as a co-op, their policy on dividends is restricted by the bylaws, right? It isn't that they are trying to single you out. There are legal things behind what they do. I had almost two years to use my dividend, and I did. It sounds like you waited too long, it doesn't seem fair to blame someone else. I've found they do try hard to do what they can and they are advocates for the members when they can be.
Where was that "blame" part again?! ROTFLMAO
I don't feel singled-out, at all. I do realize that, as with ALL legally constituted institutions and enterprises, REI is obliged to operate fairly and equitably within the tenants and bylaws they have set forth and to which its members have agreed. Additionally, I am aware that there are tax cycle and a plethora of other implications far above my pay-grade or business acumen, that will come to bear while "having the conversation." And while there is a level of executive discretion and with thoughtful consideration, allowances are capable of being made due to the fluid nature of any business, every situation does not warrant or demand a break from the norm.
I have headed non-profits and for-profit corporations. I have learned that a thorough contemplation of the obstacles prior to a "decide," invariably leads to an unceremonious surrender to the obstacles. For clarity's sake, I do not suggest REI nor you have ANY obligation to in any way entertain my inquiry. However, choosing not to have a conversation about a salient, relevant, and probative question, will never silence the grumbling from which the volcano eventually spews.
I just wondered, was there a conversation or not. If so what was the outcome. If not, now I know. Easy-peasy. For my part, I will continue to, "REMEMBER." It is my greatest gift to myself and the world.
Thanks, for the thoughtful engagement. Have an abundant, awesome, and fun day, 2021, and beyond!