Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Mountain Equipment Co-op Sucks, Overpriced + Poor Selection

If you've ever been inside MEC (Mountain Equipment Co-op) you know they have no shortage of overpriced clothing and backpacks...

But when it comes to camping, cycling or mountain climbing equipment what you quickly realize is that they only sell the bare necessities... at overpriced rates. Crappy selection (especially for cycling equipment), worse prices.

I know (FOR A FACT) that I can buy the same or better equipment at other stores for less.

And on top of that you can't buy anything at MEC unless you pay for a membership. Even if you're just buying something small, they won't sell it to you unless you buy a membership. (Waste of freaking time in my opinion.)

Thus for all you non-membership people you make the trek to MEC only to discover you can't find what you are looking for or feel like you would be getting ripped off by buying a membership there is an alternative...

Across the street and further to the west there is a smaller store called Europe Bound which is crammed full of cycling gear, camping equipment, climbing equipment, etc. The guy behind the counter is helpful and you can even special order items.

ie. I was looking for a grappling hook, but apparently you need a license to get one because its considered a restricted item. (The lady in the MEC store didn't even have a clue and had no power to special order items.)

Europe Bound has two locations in downtown Toronto:

47 Front St E, Toronto - (416) 601-1990

383 King Street West, Toronto - (416) 205-9992



  1. I love it!
    I just returned from my local MEC here in Winnipeg, what a huge embarrassing failure this place is on every level. Before they arrived here years ago I used to order out of a mail order catalogue from B.C. which always seemed to go pretty smooth.
    Anyway not only is the selection limited, but if they can, which is rare, they'll transfer from another store that which they don't have and tack on the shipping cost to your invoice! Golden.
    I'm being penalized because they don't have what I'm trying to purchase in stock.
    So I'm standing in the shoe department upstairs, for what seemed like an eternity holding the exorbitantly priced Keen in my hand waiting for one of these screwballs to take notice. Then I decided that I'll see if I can't get someone on the phone from the Urban Trail down the road to sell me the shoes. Not five minutes later, my shoes were being held for me there instead. I replaced the shoe on the wall and walked out. This place is a toilet and they can take their membership and stick it...I won't be back.

  2. MEC will never shop here ever. I did an online search for a product at the suggestion of one of our suppliers and sure enough they had the product. Now here is where it becomes a complete waste of my time. After several phone calls waiting for a quote, it comes in a simple letter form. No official letter head, nothing. There are also instructions on calling some centre to make payment. Now this process has taken 1-1/2 hrs out of my time and no one ever told me that MEC is strictly a member only store. They do not sell to the general public. WTF is that? I've shopped in Co-Ops all across Alberta and Saskatchewan and have always been able to walk into a store, buy what I need, and not have a membership. So for a one time only purchase I need a membership? Get stuffed. If this were the policy of all Co-Op hardware stores, they wouldn't have sufficient business to keep them going. Thank god there isn't anything that MEC can provide that can't be sourced from other suppliers with less draconian requirements for purchasing products. Good luck MEC and next time, tell on line customers up front that they have to not only pay your inflated price but also have to pay for a membership for the priviledge of shopping there.

    1. Agreed. My parents regularly went to a farm supply co-op north of Kitchener (Ontario) and they never had to pay fees or anything. The co-op was selling to anyone who wanted to buy - because the co-op makes more money by not turning away customers.


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