Today was the day of the scratch and dent sale, at the REI store nearest my home. I've been to one before, on a bitterly cold November morning. That time, I arrived in time to smell the breakfast-cooking of the overnight sale-campers, and watch enviously as they carted away the best of the goods. My local REI had the decency to schedule their sale while the snow is melting rather than falling, and it turned out to be a decent night; 43 degrees for the ride there.
Since I would be arriving by bicycle rather than car, I did not leave until after dark. I wasn't sure how many overnight folks would show up for a smaller sale at a smaller store, or how early they'd set up camp. It's a silly concern, I admit, but I didn't want to arrive too early, a spectacle with a loaded bike, and have to wait hours in the cold until etiquette dictates that now is the proper time to pitch a tent on the sidewalk and try to sleep. Note to myself: Next time, don't bother.
The above picture was taken 10 minutes after I arrived. It was 11:30pm and twenty-six people where in line ahead of me. I didn't find out that exact number until the tickets where handed out. There where twelve tents, and one young man huddled in a sleeping bag. Among those arriving before 4am, I was second to last. The first in line told me he'd been there since 7pm. Justifiably, I felt like a complete fool.
All the same, it was a fruitful day. After a long and chilly night, I got in with the second group and found some great deals. The sale room was smaller, but with only 24 people let in at a time there was less of a solid wall of people around the interesting stuff. I had to ignore the clothing the shoes - 10 minutes just wasn't long enough to sift through items of great quantity. Fortunately, a few hours later when I was able to come back for seconds, it wasn't picked bare. The best deal of the day was probably the discontinued REI Radiant Down Bag. The REI Halo bag has mostly replaced it, but the original Radiant bags are wider, and I can curl up inside it without moving the whole bag. A bit below is a complete list.
- REI Alpine Lakes Rain Pant
Sale Price: $31.93/Orig. Price: $99.50/Condition: New, missing snap.
- Dakine Sequoia Gore-Tex Gloves
Sale Price: $20.93/Orig. Price: $65.99/Condition: Used, good.
- REI Radiant +10 Down Womens Sleeping Bag
- Sale Price: $43.93/Orig. Price: $219.99/Condition: New.
- Princeton Tech Headlamp
Sale Price: $7.93/Orig. Price: $19.95/Condition: Used, malfunction.
- Gray Smartwool T-Shirt
Sale Price: $11.93/Orig. Price: $50.00/Condition: Used, minor damage.
- Crazy Creek Hexalite Camp Chair
Sale Price: $21.93/Orig. Price: $39.99/Condition: Used, minor cosmetic damage.
- Average savings: 72%