Got mine up in Anchorage, a little while after getting my med tech degree from the University of Alaska, my job with the Alaska Native Medical Center laboratory, and recovering from the financial hit. We needed something better than the old Walmart pup tent we'd been using since we got married. Along with the card, we got one of the old REI Domes, which served us for 20 some-odd years before it started to disintegrate. Gave it a Viking funeral.
It was 1964 and I had started with the National Park Service about six months earlier and I was making real money - $$4,000 a year!! Living was pretty cheap at Wupatki National Monument where I was initially stationed. I knew of REI from a friend who was a 4-digit member and I remember an instance where we were outfitting for climbs of the Mexican volcanoes (Orizaba, Popo) and we needed some last minute gear for his girl friend. He called REI, explained the situation, put a check in the mail (pre-credit card era), they put the gear on a plane, and we had the stuff in time. I have this mental image of the twoplanes crossing paths midway....
I thought OK, I'll risk two bucks for this lifetime membership. Definitely one of my better decisions.....
Just joined a month ago or so. Found a couple of items I needed online and went ahead and accepted the offer to join to include a $20 credit.
Already taken advantage of free help from a backpacking specialist and loving my decision to join.
@valuplus - Thanks for asking this question and sharing when you got your membership! It's always great to hear people's histories with the Co-op.
We posted a similar thread asking people to share their member stories with us at the beginning of last year and there are lots of great stories in the replies. You might enjoy reading some of them.
Thanks for being a part of this community and for being a Co-op member!
I've only been a member since 2018, I joined online. I've acquired a fair amount of my current gear from REI, and if I buy it somewhere else I use my REI credit card so that I get points LOL. I recently purchased a thermarest neoair xlite, got to try it out this weekend, and I think it's gonna be great, plus shave 7 oz off my summer pad and 10 off my winter pad.
It was 2012 and I needed a new pair of hiking boots to backpack into the Grand Canyon (not rim-to-rim) just down the south rim and back out. I bought a pair of Lowa Zephyr. Great boots and the dividend I received back from that one purchase was more than the cost of membership! I have spend a lot of money at REI since then.
1980 or 81. I was living in the Buffalo area and mail-ordered the first good tent I ever had, an REI Trail Wedge (I think that's what it was called). It didn't leak or let mosquitoes in. It was not well ventilated either.) I still have it and it's in good condition, though I haven't used it in decades.