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Is REI evil?
buzzed, B&W
So, a while ago Tony was feeling guilty for shopping at REI. I was reminded of this fact by the recent AP article about REI's success (a good online version is on the Austin Statesman). As the article states, REI is slightly unusual in that they're a co-op - you pay a one time $15 fee to join, and then you get a 10% annual dividend based on your purchases. Last year, REI cleared a billion in revenue, and paid out more than fifty million in dividends. Again, comparing to Google, which stated in it's last financial report that it has no plans to pay dividends - in other words they're hoarding their money, probably to invest in more people and technology.

REI only has 3% of it's member's voting - I wonder how that compares to Google's shareholders . . . not that it matter's when majority control of the company is still controlled by Brin and Page (as far as I know) . . .

On the charitable giving side, REI gave $4 million - compare that to Google's philanthropic arm that gave $33 million in advertising, but that's an in-kind donation for Google. I'm not sure how much they've give out through their other branches.

I've only shopped at REI once, and I'm not a member as the closest store is in Missoula.

While I don't think Google is evil, I think it's difficult to argue that REI is evil . . .
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Voting is a non-issue with Google stock. The stock that Sergey, Larry and Eric have get 10x voting power per share.

Also, I don't think there's anything wrong with REI. It's just that people who shop there are yuppies and I don't want to be a yuppie.

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