A co-op feel… a good mix of the box store and small businesses

Mountain Equipment Co-opIt’s becoming rare to find a bit of common sense when dealing with businesses, these days. For some reason, it seems as though doing things by-the-book trumps keeping customers happy and feeling respected.

I’m not sure if it’s the industry (or area of interest), but it’s refreshing to have a store that’s manned by people with knowledge and common sense. I get this feeling from most outdoor outfitting stores. Although they’re often very busy during peak times, the help and friendliness that I’ve received from the staff at Mountain Equipment Coop has surprised me time and again.

MEC has the price ranges of a big box store and a niche market to make some of its products quite expensive, but they make up for the occasional premium pricing by standing by the quality of everything they sell.

One of the the things that keeps me coming back is their returns policy. I treat my gear well, and I adopt a fair amount. I also sometimes find some equipment not up to my standards, or just not applicable to my situation. In those cases, I can walk up to the returns desk, explain my situation, and get an exchange. I don’t need my receipt, since I’m a member and they can look up my (lengthy) list of past purchases.

This week, I exchanged two paddles that I found to be a touch too long. No questions asked, and I didn’t get the feeling like I was a scam artist that needed to justify my return. It simply didn’t work out, and they took my word for it.