Indeed, I am incredibly glad to have had the chance to work at the Downtown Calgary MEC. During that time, I met some of my best friends, whom I have kept to this day, and with whom I still get outside with as often as possible.
There are many perks to working at MEC. There are staff gear auctions that allow staff to buy back gear at cents on the dollar.
Likewise, the unpaid (but subsidized) field courses were fantastic, and set me on a trajectory to move to BC for a year and become a kayak guide.
The people you work with, for the most part, are fantastic. The exception is that some of management can be quite cliquey... they choose their favorites in the first week and ignore you otherwise.
I recommend that prospective staffers do their contract term, but stay realistic about their odds of getting a permanent offer or contract renewal. If you leave prior to the end of contract, you are not eligible for rehire for a number of years.
Also, any 'lates' go onto your permanent file, (even if its by a minute) and will be considered against you if ever you apply at other locations. ;)
Staff Gear Auctions, Field Courses, Friendships
Extreme minimum wage, fickle managment