I’m not a great fan of consumerism. And, I especially detest so-called “Black Friday” — a vulgar and avaricious corporate-America-sponsored-gluttonous-shopping-frenzy that seems to infest the public psyche the day after U.S. Thanksgiving.
So, I was pleasantly surprised to receive a recent email from the REI (Recreational Equipment Inc.) co-op, of which I’m a member, declaring that all 140+ of their stores will be closed on November 27 — Black Friday — in addition to Thanksgiving Day. Now, the cynic in me detects some level of self-serving marketing spin designed to increase REI’s foot traffic when their doors reopen on November 28, and beyond. But, I must say I’m all for #OptOutside — a day for fresh air, muddy boots, enormous vistas and no shopping. I hope other retailers follow suit and consumers opt to spend their time outside rather than spending cash inside.
CEO, Jerry Stritzke, penned the following on the REI website:
REI is closing on Black Friday.
You read that correctly. On November 27, we’ll be closing all 143 of our stores and paying our employees to head outside.
Here’s why we’re doing it.
For 76 years, our co-op has been dedicated to one thing and one thing only: a life outdoors. We believe that being outside makes our lives better. And Black Friday is the perfect time to remind ourselves of this essential truth.
We’re a different kind of company—and while the rest of the world is fighting it out in the aisles, we’ll be spending our day a little differently. We’re choosing to opt outside, and want you to come with us.
So, I encourage you to do the same wherever you may be; keep your fingers off Amazon and your feet away from Walmart’s aisles, and be part of nature’s great outside.
Image: Flatirons, Boulder. Courtesy of the author.