I got a confirmation email from REI this afternoon about my membership with the store. Yes, for $20, I became part of their co-op. It just seems like an excuse to get a discount or cash back down the road, so I don't quite get why REI calls it a co-op. It reminds me of the Barnes and Noble membership thing, though with a different discount schedule.
At any rate, I'm glad I joined, since it's just a one-time fee, and REI is a cool store, indeed. It kinda fascinates me, as the store near Southpoint looks pretty unassuming from the outside, but it has all sorts of neat things on the inside. Part of the attraction for me, I think, is that for a number of years now (maybe about 15 or so!) I've thought it would be really cool to hike the Appalachian Trail. Being in REI inspires me a bit more. Meanwhile, I'll enjoy purchasing Gu Gels, SportsBeans, and little gadgets and gizmos I may find there.