This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on December 27, 2002 4:13 PM. The previous post in this blog was Clonaid Said to Claim Creation of First Human Clone-- News story. The next post in this blog is Bottom of the barrel. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Friday, December 27, 2002

Counting to ten -- or is it a thousand?

When Jack Nicholson got out of his car and smashed another driver's windshield with a golf club, it wasn't some movie. It was his real life. Old Jack eventually apologized and made amends after a brief court action.

There are too many days when I know exactly where he was coming from.

Take today's little ski outing. The wife and I drive 90 minutes up to the Mount Hood National Forest, with our shiny new cross-country ski packages in the back. We find our trailhead, get the car all parked, the backpacks all packed, and we're ready to go. So now it's time to step into those beautiful new skis and get shooshing in the winter wonderland.


The folks at the REI Jantzen Beach store have sent us off with a wrong pair of skis, and my wife's new boots won't fit into the bindings.

Ski outing over.

Now there are some people out there who can actually laugh off an incident like this, and do so right away. Some would have the presence of mind to stop and at least enjoy the change of scenery before revving up the car and heading back to the city. There are actually even some folks who could carry on a civil conversation on the way home from such an experience, and then be polite and rational when dealing with the customer service people at the store that made the mistake.

Try as I might, I am not one of those people.

I've been a "member" of REI for more than 20 years, and I can never remember it being as chaotic and unhelpful as it is today. There are lots of people with name tags walking around, but none of them seem to know much. It's amazing to me that an outfit that sells gear on which people rely for their lives on mountain tops and in the wilderness can be so disorganized. I remember when being a "member" of this nice, tight, well run regional co-op felt special. Now it's just gotten way too big. It feels almost like a G.I. Joe's store, only with fancy lighting and a weird, unfathomable agenda. Everything you want seems to be back-ordered, and you wonder why you don't just get on line and order it from home.

The manager guy gave me a $20 gift card for my trouble, but I can't see myself going to REI again for anything for a long time, even if they are giving it away.

They say they're closing that particular store soon and moving it to the toney Pearl District. That seems about right. REI has become as woodsy, populist, and authentically Pacific Northwest as the Pearl.

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