Short and I walk into REI to “have a quick look,” which translates into him suddenly wanting to take up kayaking and me wanting to find a cute skirt on sale. I have not been in REI in a long time (okay, maybe ever) so I am soaking in the vibe of all things REI. This place looks like a cross between LLBean and Dick’s Sporting Goods. I am magnetically drawn to a rack marked “Clearance.”“Wow, look at this cute fleece jacket!” I say to myself, but Short thinks I am talking to him.
“You should get it, Mommy,” he nods enthusiastically.I glance at the price tag. Regular price: $220. Sale price: $181. For a fleece jacket?!? That looks like it is from Target and should cost $30? I look around for a salesgirl, as the tag must be mismarked.
“Excuse me, miss?” I wave hopefully at the REI girl walking past. “Is this price right?”“Yep. That’s right! Can you believe it? That is almost $40 off! What an unbelievable sale!”
It’s unbelievable all right.Undaunted, I soldier on. I find a darling long-sleeved t-shirt to wear around the house. There is a fun design of little skiers on the front.
“How much does it cost?” inquires Short, as he notices me holding the t-shirt up to the mirror. I take a deep breath and look at the tag. Original price: $165. New price: $109. For a t-shirt?! That will fall apart in three months?I am flabbergasted. Socks cost $40. Skirts are $120. I check the labels: cotton and Lycra. Nope, no gold.
I don’t mind paying Macy’s or Nordstrom $100 for a cashmere sweater that looks like it cost $100. What I really love is getting it on sale for $65 and having it still look like it cost $100. What I have a huge problem with is buying something that actually looks cheaper than it is.It’s like REI is an upside Target, with expensive prices on cheap stuff instead of cheap prices on expensive stuff.
My brain flashes back to a few Christmases ago when The Husband and I gave my sister Oakley a $75 gift card. She seemed very happy at the time, but now I realize she could not afford to buy a t-shirt with that, even on clearance.She could perhaps buy a sleeve.