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#REI's Shut Down On #BlackFriday Causes Awkward #AMA on #Reddit

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Earlier this week company Recreational Equipment Inc announced it would be keeping its doors closed on Balck Friday this year. They want to allow their employees to 'go outside and play instead'. CEO of REI Jerry Strizke decided to use the famous Ask Me Anything feature on Reddit to announce the news as well as open up about the company for a day.

The AMA brought up a lot of unanswered questions from current and ex employees, most questioning the quality of the job. Many asked about how their health insurance was being affected by their number of hours whereas others were straight up questioning the ability of some managers. 

As you can imagine hundreds of comments and questions were published, making it difficult to respond to all. Some users took the silence as Strizke ignoring them but he eventually got back one of the most asked questions, demanding an explanation about the upselling of memberships. One current employee who goes by the username wartsnall1985, explained that he did not understand how the hard work and great customer service he and others give is only recognised when their membership sales have complemented this. He said that he could be doing a brilliant job serving customers, assisting them where they needed it and giving everything he has to this job, but that it all meant nothing if he hadn't sold any memberships. 'Product knowledge, customer service skills, overall work ethic are worth ZERO if you are not selling x number of memberships per shift' Yeah, I think I'd feel the same! Surely great customer service is what it says on the tin and a manager should aknowledge that for what it is. Membership sales is helping the store, and yes the employee too, but if you are only selling memberships and not delivering good customer service, then surely that does not make you employee of the year. The frustration was coming from more than just this user and when Jerry Strizke failed to respond at first, they took it as being a confirmation of this. 

A little while later, a few hours or so, the CEO apologised for his late reply and proceeded to provide an explanation. After another user shared his feelings about how a true AMA must be conducted, involving real life questions being about more than just their 'cool promotional ideas', Strizke did feel concerned, but admitted that he had simply missed the original comment. He went on to reassure wartsnall1985 by telling him that all the skills he listed are important and they are looking into the matter. 'I appreciate you sharing your story' he told him. So what was supposed to be a simple opportunity for people to ask questions about REI turned into a bit more of a battlefield as employees used the opportunity to unload all of the problems they have been facing during their time working for them. And so they should. I strongly believe that this was an important event for CEO Jerry Strizke as he has been faced with queries that he may not have known about otherwise.




One of the newest members of The SMF Group. Although she loves a good city life, she grew up in the beautiful French countryside. Who knew that talking to a bunch of cows and friendly chickens would get her here? Quite used to writing stories in her bedroom, she is now deciding if she's cut out for content writing. We'll see! Follow her @SophieAtSMF
#REI's Shut Down On #BlackFriday Causes Awkward #AMA on #Reddit Reviewed by Sophie Giscard on Saturday, November 14, 2015 Rating: 5

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