Rating: 3 / 5
I totally agree with the reviewers above. MEC is now the REI of Canada, but greener I think. You can buy all the heavy gear you want and return it for whatever reason, and most of the profit goes to environmental causes.
Unfortunately though, the current business model includes building more stores, which will drive smaller independent retailers into insolvency or bankruptcy. I've heard that MEC has now captured 60% of the Canadian retail market for outdoor gear. I fear that anyone else who can't go big will ultimately have to go home.
Anyway, what bothers me most about MEC is that it started as a buying co-op in order to allows members to purchase goods "at the lowest possible price". Now it seems that sometime recently they have become much more corporate, a la REI. All prices on name-brand gear are as high as possible i.e. full MSRP. The mission statement now declares that members will be provided with goods at a "fair price". Hmmmm....is that something like fairly pricey?
Yes, despite their friendly staff and green ethos, it now seems like a corporate steamroller which has betrayed the founders' vision. And think about this...if MEC is truly "green", why do they keep sending me emails trying to convince me to purchase more and more consumer goods, the production, distribution, and disposal of which will inevitably create more environmental harm?
Customer Service = 5
Lightweight gear selection = 2
Ethos = 2