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.