Warning...nostalgia attack ahead:
Boy do I wish I lived back in Seattle and could go to REI sales again. As a poor graduate student in the 1970's and 1980's I went to all the REI sales, and back then there was only one REI store and one annual sale (where they sold all their used rental equipment and returns).
The line for the sale could be many blocks long. The record for someone waiting on line was seven days...he camped out in the small below-grade parking lot at the old store on Capital Hill. This was in the late 1970's. I recall they let him in by himself for a few minutes, he had the entire sale section to himself (for people like me this was the closest one could get to heaven on Earth)!
My best placement in line was number 4, but this was after they started a signup sheet so people didn't have to camp out in their parking lot. I almost completely outfitted myself at those sales.
I don't think I got quite as good deals as I see in this thread, mostly what I got was about 50-70% off regular price: new Lowe Latok pack, REI Crestline tent with bottom on backwards (coating facing outside), REI minus 20F down bags about $70, and much more.
You younger folks will get like this when you are my age, so no complaints... ;-)