Personally, I would take the refund and go elsewhere but that's because I already own most of my gear. When I buy new gear these days, I'm looking at the new ultralight stuff from companies like Gossamer Gear and Mountain Laural Designs. However, there are a few good things to be found from REI, if you have store credit and know of nothing to do with it.
REI stocks some good brands, like Patagonia, Marmot and Icebreaker, although their selection leaves something to be desired. On the website it's OK, but in the store, the selection is just abysmal. Some great pieces of clothing that REI stocked as recently as last winter are the Patagonia R1 hoodie, Arc-teryx Gamma LT pants, and Icebreaker Rock Zip. I don't know if they're going to stock those this winter, or if they're on their website at the moment, but those are a few examples. Also, they stock the MSR tents. I don't know if you need a new tent or not, but the Hubba HP tents, while extremely expensive to buy at retail, are bomber tents. They also stock Exped Downmats and Thermarest Prolite inflatable pads. If you like Mountain House freeze dried meals, and have a hike coming up, buy a bunch of them. Smartwool socks are expensive wherever you buy them, but if you've got store credit, might as well pick up a few pairs.
I've had friends and relatives give me REI gift certificates at Xmas before, so I've had to find stuff to buy from there when at first glance, absolutely nothing in the store appealed to me.