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REI

Recreational Equiptment Inc., Outdoor gear store

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REI: The real white house

  • Apr 16, 2009
  • by
Rating:
+4

As a Denver native, I've integrated myself into the culture of this city, knowing that on any given day I will see: someone in fleece; four forest green ski/bike racked Subaru station wagons; and that guy/gal who dresses in shorts, sandals and a parka with a hood.

Even so, as a black woman from Park Hill, I was taken aback when I accidentally unearthed the single largest gathering of white people I've ever seen -- which, by Colorado standards, is no small feat.

I was working on a freelance assignment and had agreed to meet an interview subject the following day at REI -- the huge monstrosity in downtown Denver that, I'm pretty sure, is divided into two zip codes and drinks from the Platte River. But I decided to take a dry run down there before heading off to have Bloody Marys with the girls. My life has been known to revolve around meetings and vodka.

I was amazed. In addition to three levels of parking, there were two -- count them -- two overflow parking lots stuffed with cars. Which is odd because white people bike everywhere in every season. And although I'd been near the store dozens of times, I'd never actually made the trek inside because, well, I don't need a canoe.

I discovered that REI is a jam-packed collection of caps, cargo shorts, fleece, flip-flops and white people, many wheeling their offspring in rugged strollers made by Jeep. Not to mention all the sporting equipment one could imagine and an in-store Starbucks. Although it seems to me that providing double lattes to sporty types already giddy from the smell of new canoes could be as dangerous as dealing Mountain Dew to a four-year-old.

As I passed the 45-foot indoor climbing wall, I was blinded by a light from above. When I looked up, I realized it wasn't florescent bulbs but the reflection off the pale yet toned thighs of a couple of guys ascending the wall. I turned away, however, not wanting to look up those khaki-colored cargo shorts.

And speaking of strange sights, I was a cause for viewing as well -- and not just because of the melanin in my skin. I was decked out in a snazzy sundress, heels and a clutch purse amid those wearing pants that zip into shorts. I probably looked lost, eyes wide, mouth agape bumping into mountain bikes, camping hats and no less than 7,792 backpacks.

Hey, I'm no racist: As the saying goes, "Some of my best friends are white." But if a race war is afoot, REI is the conclave. And given the supply of darts and access to bow and arrows, there may be cause for concern.

To show that I was not an enemy, I asked the guy, in fleece, where I could get a GPS.
A Lighter Shade of Pale REI Denver

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April 29, 2009
@ Scotman: I'm sure there's one in SFO! Just go in peace.
 
April 25, 2009
well as far as pickup trucks go, you have to appreciate a beatup green Dodge (the kind the forestry service uses) but those huge shiny Dodge rams give me nightmares!!!

p.s. I still miss my overly winter-feature stocked Subaru :P boo hoo!
 
April 23, 2009
I like to do things bass-ackwards so I'm starting with your first review and reading up. I'm starting to suspect a career in journalism here. Youremind me a lot of Dave Barry--except for the whole black and female thing.
 
April 22, 2009
@ Reynaldo: Almostas bad as seeing folks with big ol'dually pickup trucks that live Downtown Denver. Heehee! Thanks for the comment!
 
April 21, 2009
this is the funniest review I've read on this site--thank you so much! It also made me sad since I had a Subaru Outback that was totalled last year. But who really needs AWD, high clearance and defrosting mirrors? Especially me, who lives in LA? :)
 
April 21, 2009
LOL you are fricking great- I love reading your stuff-truly do your wit and take on life just cracks me up!! I happen to love REI by the way- when I was in Atlanta I got my Teva's and chocos from there:)
 
April 17, 2009
I wish I knew the deal w/Subarus. As far as I can guess; if you're a transplant you get one free when you get a Colorado Drivers License and pledge to bleed Orange and Blue in honor of the Broncos.
 
April 16, 2009
Hilarious review. Your REI sounds bigger than the one in my town. I lived in Colorado for a winter and was blown away at the number of Subaru wagons...what is the deal?
 
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About the reviewer
E. Brown ()
Ranked #274
Member Since: Feb 10, 2009
Last Login: Sep 8, 2010 09:57 PM UTC
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Wiki

REI (Recreational Equipment Inc.) is an American consumers' cooperative that sells outdoor recreation gear and sporting goods via the Internet, catalogs, and over 90 stores in 27 states. It opens six to eight new stores each year. REI's sales exceeded US$1.18 billion in 2006.[1] Its major competitors in the U.S. include many other sporting goods retailers.
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Sporting Goods, Denver, Store, White People, Sports Equiptment

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