Lucked Out–2 REI garages sales!

So, I lucked out this Feb/March with two REI garage sales. Since my normal store was moving to a new location, they had their garage sale a month earlier than the national sale day. I went to that garage sale and I posted on that experience on an earlier blog. Then, I got to attend this one, at a different location in Phoenix on the actual day of the national sales day for the other REIs. Here is the complete low down with hour by hour reporting from March 18th Nation Wide Sale!

Note: This is the “usual” procedure for REI’s that do have a community room that houses the sale. My other post is what occurred when an REI does not have a community room to house the sale!

3:37 am: In line at REI! I thought I was 12th in line–however it seems there was some line place holders. (I ended up being 22nd in line). Half of everyone is asleep, others on computers. No SB nearby, will have to go to Dutch bros next door as soon as they open! 64 degrees outside, less light outside this REI but still can only see 10 stars total in sky with moon. Everyone not in line with me is missing out!!


4:14 am update: now not last person in line. I did grab my sleeping bag out of the car and am sitting in it in my chair…much better 👍  I won’t mention that it got colder and is 58 degrees out (us cold blooded Phoenicians)  This 20 degree REI bag does the job!


4:25 am: there are several snorers in line…


5:22 am: birds chirping still dark. Dutch bros open but I’m going to talk line neighbor into watching my stuff to drive over to SB. More people in line behind me. My calendar app letting me know the drive time home to take my synthroid…so helpful. Thank god I remembered it on my own! Done!


5:59 am: sun coming up, Starbucks in hand! My new line buddies saved my place (as did my chair) as I drove over to get it. Had nice chat with SB baristas about the REI garage sale. Line getting longer here. I heard that this store typically does not get the typical overnight sleeping in line crowd, and that people usually start to line up at 6 am . That would not be today. People arriving now are in complete surprise at the length of the line and are not happy campers. Maybe it is the night owl not the early bird who gets the worm? I was wary about not coming in the middle of the night, better to be safe then sorry when it comes to line placement for these!

6:12 am: forgot we got out REI Dividends this week to use! Note: you do not get dividends on things you purchased in a garage sale. And again, you must be a member of REI. One time fee, completely worth it!

6:13 am: general observation. I’m usually only individual women in line for these things early on anyways. A few couples in line together, mostly men with other male friends or men with their sons. No daughters. I’ve been to Sephora, ANN Taylor, WHBM, and Nordstrom’s this week (spring work wardrobe done!). Women and girls particularly, need to see that you can like the outdoors and go to Sephora. It’s all possible! And you don’t need to be crazy like me at 3 am in line… We need to work on the gender make up of this line!


7:35 am: line now down around and behind store and wrapping back up. Per REI Sales people larger than usual crowd. People awake, talking about stories. Again, trading stories of attempts to get permits to Havasu falls or their actual trip down showing off pictures! Several people in back of line not happy at length and asking me when I showed up to wait as they counted their place in line.

8:15: receives ticket and group number to go in. In 2nd group to go in 9:20 am. Each group gets 15 min and then employees get 5 min to restock. Different than Tempe process since they have community room to set up garage sale. Had I shown up before 1:30 am, I would have been in first group of 20 to get in. Spoiler alert: first group of people all grabbed the Yeti coolers. Such is life…

8:55 am: people just now showing up to get in line are not happy their posted time to enter Garage sale area is 11:40 am!

9:00 am; headed in to store to wait

9:20: our turn to shop! We get 15 min with 20 other people to look and grab stuff!

10:10 am: Biggest score was getting this Big Agnes fly creek high volume UL 2 mtn GLO tent!!! Ultra light hiking tent, 2 person, nothing wrong with it, weights slightly more than 2 lbs! Was $439, bought for $155!! I wanted an ultra light tent so glad I know my stuff and was able to spot this among all the other stuff that was stuffed in the cubicles along the wall!

There are some vultures in the store. Once you grab stuff and your time is done, you head back down stairs to look those items over more. There are carts out where you can put stuff you don’t want into, and then REI sales people take it back up to the garage sale room. People who are waiting their turn/time slot to go into the garage sale room are hanging out next to the carts watching and grabbing stuff we put back.  Can’t say I don’t blame them.

I did go back to REI this afternoon after ticket and time fiasco was done and when the crowd died down to freely look at remaining stuff. I scored even more!! Total spent today: $349 for what would have been $915 reg price!

What did I find?? More amazing stuff!! I bought never used (garage sale and clearance):
Lowa Remegade GTX mid Ws for $115 (reg $230) backpacking boots (returned as someone said there was a bump inside on the right…never worn as noted be tread and I can’t feel the bump). Two pairs Chacos for one son– one current size and next size. Reg $38 per pair only $8 each! Chacos for me! Reg $105 for $41! And my other son got paid of Merrill’s reg price $65 for $22!

Here is the awesome tent up!  Perfect condition! The reason noted on the return tag stated it was returned because it was “too small” but this is an ultra light two person tent, so not sure what they expected. It would fit two average sized people okay with packs.

I can’t wait till the next garage sale!!

Categories: Educational Resources, Equipment, REI

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