T-1 Hour to REI “Line is already around the building” but “free food and drink for everyone!”

2nd, Delaware and M Street, NE

A reader reports around 7am:

“Three hours before opening, the line is already around the building. Slightly embarrassed to say I am one of them… The good news is there is free food and drink for everyone!

Also, just found out the people next to me in line came all the way from Ohio just for this. They left late last night, arrived at 3 a.m., and slept in the car in a parking garage. Didn’t know it was such a thing, but I guess they have been to numerous openings around the country.”

Peek inside here and check out the planned festivities here.

Update from a reader – A Marching band has arrived:

2nd and L Street, NE

60 Comment

  • maxwell smart

    I fail to understand how people have such little value of their time.

    • people took off work to stand in line for NOTHING exclusive but a gift card and water bottle? to each their own, i guess.

      ps biz markie plays at the fillmore in silver spring/in the city like every other month.

    • I expect all of us have some things we’re happy to spend a bunch of time on that others find ridiculous. You’d never fine me in this line, or in line on Black Friday to get a TV, or in line to get a free Cava meal, or in line overnight (or multiple nights) to see a movie on the night it opens. (People, you will literally be able to see this movie for the rest of your lives. Wait a few weeks!)
      But, I think it’s totally rational to wait in line for 3 hours to get the table I want at Bad Saint, or Little Serow. I’d absolutely wait in line overnight for reasonable tickets for Hamilton (if such a thing existed). I spend about 3 hours this weekend peeling and cooking apples to make vats of applesauce (and with the cost of the apples, I sure didn’t save any money) – I’m sure many others would just tell me to buy it.
      But, different strokes for different folks, as the Prince said. I do wish Triumph the Insult Comic Dog was there, to do a riff like he did when Star Wars came out. And I think we can all (?) agree that the people from Ohio are nuts.

    • It really, really bothers me when people have hobbies different from mine. I’m glad that I’m not the only one.

  • I never understood the adult waiting in line culture for anything but concert tickets. This is a store that will always be open and everything they sell is already widely available. What’s going on here?

  • There was someone camping in a tent last night when I left around 8:45, which was impressive. If it makes people happy and doesn’t hurt anyone, why knock the people waiting? It’s their free time.

    • There were two when I came out of the NoMa metro around 11pm! I guess what better way to show your enthusiasm than spending the night in your REI tent. (though I really hope they had earplugs being right next to the tracks there)

    • I walked by, got some coffee, saw the line and walked away! The first people in line were a family with a toddler, 2-3 years old, and an infant who could not have been more than 4-6 weeks. They had camped in a tent on the sidewalk. With a bassinet. I guess they really earned those water bottles?

      • My husband mentioned this family too. He said the dad reported the baby was two weeks old. I was like, “Ummm…is that ok? Is camping with an newborn in a neighborhood with methadone clinics right off N Cap allowed?” I say that is someone who lives happily five blocks away.

        • The dude with the first tent got there at 730pm last night and is from Seatlle so I think has been to other opening days as a thing, I heard him say something to that effect. But I agree, I live and work in this neighborhood and WOULD NOT sleep outside like that, esp with a young kid. In sad retrospect, not even a block away is the homeless tent city pop up that moved from under the overpass across the street from REI about 2 weeks ago. Knowing the deal with this neighborhood at all hours – NOPE.

          But, I was out there on line as #25 on my way into the office cause why not, and it was fun, and I got a $$ gift card and nice new bottle and free kazoos and free coffee and baked goods and spent time with a girlfriend who I never see, we spent the time catching up. For me, worth it. And my friend is DJing this afternoon and next. I don’t think I would have driven from OH for this??? But to each their own!

          PS elevator inside REI still out of service.

          • maxwell smart

            There is something ironic, in a sad way, about people with financial means camping overnight outside on the streets across the street from the homeless.

          • There’s absolutely nothing ironic about it, Alanis. Sad, unfortunate, tone deaf, insensitive, etc. but not ironic.

  • We fail to understand why you fail to understand that this is AWESOME

  • I hope everyone drove their Subarus this morning. Remember: Metro doesn’t allow sea kayaks on the trains until off-peak hours begin.

  • Whoa had no idea it was going to be such a big deal! I thought we’d be able to just walk into the store on Saturday. Didn’t know there would be lines :-/ Good for REI though.

    • Tsar of Truxton

      Line is for the water bottle with gift card. I suspect once the bottles are gone, you should be able to walk right in.

  • again, people are lining up for a water bottle and $10 gift card? I am thrilled this store is here but I have a job so can’t line up for hours. This is really strange.

    • maxwell smart

      Exactly. It’s the same people who stood in a 3 hour line when Cava opened because they got a free $10 lunch. My time is worth more than that.

    • skj84

      Some of the bottle may have cards for over $10.

    • It’s pretty festive inside with free food, poster screen printing, smores via campstove…kinda like lining up for a concert, no? And plenty of people don’t have to be at work today or this weekend for a variety of reasons.

  • Planning to get there around 10. If no gift card, whatever, I’m not spending my day waiting in line; I just wanna get to the goods INSIDE the store!

  • I would wait in line for their garage sale…. but meh on the opening…

  • skj84

    You know what I don’t get? People’s derision at those who choose to wait in line for openings. I mean if you don’t want to wait, don’t do it, but some people like being first. Some people like getting swag. And there is often camaraderie in line. Stop being judgy killjoys and let people enjoy what makes them happy.

    • Emmaleigh504

      +1 people have different ideas of fun.

    • I’m gonna killjoy consumerist stupidity until the cows come home. Hours and hours in line for a water bottle and $10 gift card is STUPID. Plain and simple.

      • HaileUnlikely

        We all do stupid things. I’ve paid multiple hundreds of dollars for the privilege of running down the street from point A to point B on multiple occasions; a few times I’ve even traveled across the country and stayed in a hotel for the privilege of doing it at a very specific time, despite the fact that anybody can do the same at any time. Talk about stupid.

        • That’s really funny. Well done.

        • You’re really comparing an adventure experience – such as a marathon – to waiting in line for free tchotchkes? I expected a much stronger analogy from you.
          Son, I am disappoint.

          • HaileUnlikely

            I would bet that the vast majority of the people in the line were there because “REI is awesome” (and they’re weird crunchy granola-lovers) and for them the grand opening of REI is itself an experience, more than for the free water bottle.

          • HaileUnlikely

            p.s. All I got was a crappy t-shirt, a medal with a picture of a stupid f*cking unicorn on it, a cup of gatorade, a powerbar, and a banana. Sh!t, the swag was probably better at REI this morning.

          • maxwell smart

            I’m going to wager to say, based on personal experience, that running a marathon is a vastly more emotional and lasting life experience than being one of the first people in line for a retailers, regardless of cachet, grand opening.

          • HaileUnlikely

            The first few were. It gets old after a while, though. Only in hindsight do I realize how dumb the last several were. And a few of them just plain sucked.

      • skj84

        Well it must be nice to live a perfect life! Tell me your secrets professor. Since you obviously have ever done anything that could be considered frivolous things ever. Hows conformity going for you?

  • I once stood in line for 13 hours on Black Friday at Best Buy for a $200 50 inch TV. Pops had just passed away so I wasn’t in the festive mood and decided what the hell. Like others have said, to each their own. I use to judge people like that but at the end of the day we don’t know their lives or what they could be going through, so this is a break from the norm.

  • Good thing there wasn’t a Chick-fil-A opening today, these people would’ve had a really hard time deciding what to do!

  • I wonder how many of these people know that there’s an REI right next to the Twinbrook Metro station.

    • skj84

      Is that REI having a Grand Opening party in with giveaways and free food and drink? And maybe the fact that is the first REI in the District which is a hell of a lot more convenient to get to than Twinbrook just might be a factor here. #really

      • maxwell smart

        “lot more convenient to get to than Twinbrook” depending on where you live in the District. From Shaw? Sure. From Friendship Heights? Not really.

      • I’m just saying if I wanted camping or other gear I just went to that REI rather than waiting a whole year for this one to open up just so I can tell people I want to the new REI.

    • I rode my bike to this REI from Petworth. I wasn’t gonna ride to Twinbrook. Plus, the selection at this one rivals (easily) any other REI in the area hands down. Only got a few things, but I’ll be back again.

      • Wait – you’ll be back? It’s almost like you’re suggesting that this store will be open in the future, with similar merchandise available for purchase. But that can’t be . . .
        I kid, I kid. I don’t really care, just couldn’t resist.

  • i got in line at 9 (1 hour before opening) and was told i was near the last of the people who got the free water bottle & gift card. atmosphere was insane & super fun. had to rush out to get to work a couple blocks away in noma. i’m not one to stand in line for things, but i’m glad i did! store is awesome and loved the free pastries and coffee.

    • what does the water bottle look like

      • Water bottle is a green Camelbak Chute, 750 mL, and it says “United Outside Washington DC.” They sell the plain bottle at REI for like $10, so it’s nothing too exciting. I got there at 9:30 so I missed out on a gift card, but I took great advantage of free baked goods from Firehook and enjoyed chatting with my line-neighbors in the beautiful weather. Got to work at 10:30 and I’m not sure anyone noticed I wasn’t here; the office is over half-empty.

    • how much was on the gift card…do tell!

      • i got a $10 one, but there were others with $50 and $100 inside according to the REI event info

        • Yes, most of the gift cards were $10, I got $10 and so did everyone who was up in front with us that we checked with, but there are some $100 and $150 ones hidden inside each water bottle for the first 500 people.

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