REI is a genius retailer in so many ways. But my all-time favorite is their semi-annual Garage Sale. You have to be a member to get in.
They stack up all the returned stuff that is broken, slightly used, missing a piece, or is otherwise unsellable. They add little notes like, “you could get a new pole for this tent at xyz.com.”
And the REI members, a pretty self-sufficient, handy bunch of outdoorspeople, just LOVE it.
They line up before dawn, they flood the store when it opens, and they clean it out within an hour or two.
REI turns an economic loss in write-off merchandise into an exclusive benefit for their best customers. How can you do this?