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Old 01-31-11, 03:11 PM   #1
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Barely Cycling Related: My Scores At The REI Members-Only Attic/Scratch N' Dent Sale

If you have an REI near you and you've never been to one of their Attic/Scratch N' Dent sales, you should definitely go; it is totally worth it. This is how they get rid of all of the items that have been returned via their (extremely generous) return policy. If you want to score the best deals, you'll have to show up early, like 6 or 7am, or even camp out overnight (there are always some hardcore folks who do this) and be ready to wait outside until the doors open at 10am, but you'll be rewarded by unbelievable deals.

I went to the store near me in NoVA - the Bailey's Crossroads location - at 7am and froze my toes off waiting until open. I was about 20th in line and when my toes really started to go numb at about 8:30 I went back to the car for a sleeping bag. They never completely warmed up the rest of the morning. It is pretty cool talking to the people in line; you hear some cool stories about hiking, biking and adventure travel. It definitely gives you ideas about where you want to go and what you want to see. It's one of the reasons that going to this sale isn't just about saving some money, it's a lot of fun too.

I always have a bunch of gear that I need in mind, but on this trip my particular wishlist included:
  1. Asolo hiking boots
  2. Cold-weather cycling boots, preferrably Sidi Diablos
  3. Baby-carrier backpack for hiking this spring with my daughter

For these sales they always have the gear cordoned off in the back storeroom. When they let you in at 10am, it' a little like going downstairs on Christmas morning, everyone's eyes are wide and then people just start grabbing stuff and putting it in their baskets. They had almost zero cycling stuff at this sale which was dissappointing. The only things I remember were some wire basket-panniers, some womens' shoes and two Ortlieb waterproof backpacks. Oh, there was also Yakima Holdup hitch-mount bike rack (I used to have one) but I have a Thule which I like better.

Negative on the cold-weather cycling boots. Negative on the baby-carrier; there was one at the sale but someone else snagged it. However, I did score the Asolo boots. Not only that, but they were the exact ones I had in mind. Asolo TPS 520 GV boots. I didn't know the model but I could picture the ones I had seen and liked. Turns out they're almost the top of the Asolo line. Retail for $275; I got 'em for $50, absolutely nothing at all wrong with them. The "damages" description only said "Worn once, no laces." Before I snagged the Asolos I had grabbed some like-new Zamberlan boots from Italy and kept those as well. Also $50. Those were only described as "Worn several times, customer did not like". On both boots, from the look of the soles you'd think they'd never been worn outside the store.

I got two Marmot jackets, one Gore-tex with an insulated liner, and one of which is a windproof shell that should do really well as a cycling jacket (hence the "barely cycling-related" post). They were $60 each. Couple of other gadgets, petzl headlamp, etc.

All in all, it was a good trip. Anyone else have deals they got from one of these gear sales?
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Old 01-31-11, 05:04 PM   #2
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OMG. Half my gear has an X marked on it from these sales. I live walking distance to an REI store.

My commuter bike sitting over there on the other side of the office is an older Novara Randonee frame that I got for $15 NOS from an REI garage sale.

The next garage sale at my local REI is supposed to be in March sometime. I'm saving my REI gift cards for it.
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Old 01-31-11, 05:17 PM   #3
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My two best deals at REI were items in their normal 'bargain' bins in the store rather than the special sale. One was a pair of speakers for an MP3 player that fit inside a Bell/Giro helmet. Originally $30 they had it marked down to $0.03. The other was a pair of Goretex-lined hiking boots that had been returned. The tag said the original buyer took them home and stood in the bathtub with them on for over 30 minutes and noticed a slight seepage. Not planning to do any extended bathtub hiking that seemed ok to me and they were marked down from $175 to $0.88.
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Old 01-31-11, 05:21 PM   #4
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another good REI score is the REI-outlet on line, they sell overstock, and it is kind of like bidding. Sometimes the price drops maybe twice and sometimes the item just disappears. Missed a really nice waterproof trunk rack two weeks ago because I waited too long.
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Old 02-01-11, 12:17 AM   #5
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I went to the local REI blowout. Big disappointment. No real bargains to be had, a lot of plain broken junk for sale, and all the clothes were sized for a fat Danny Devito.
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