Outdoor and sporting goods store REI is giving its employees a paid day off on the busiest shopping day of the entire year, Black Friday. REI will be closing every single one of their 143 stores, and instead encouraging both their customers and their employees to spend a day outside with friends and family instead of fighting off the zombies in the malls. The company won’t even be processing any online orders until the day after Black Friday.
REI, which is run much like a co-op, is using the hashtag #OptOutside to promote the beginning of a new Black Friday tradition, that involves more hiking and less shopping.
“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,” REI President and CEO Jerry Stritzke said in a recent statement.
“Any retailer that hears this will be startled by the idea. As a co-op … we define success a little differently. It’s much broader than just money. How effectively do we get people outside? The thing that is powerful to me is this clearly is not a financially self-serving act, It’s an act where we’re really making a very clear statement about a set of values,” he added.
Brian Harrower, store manager at the REI in Bloomington, Minnesota seemed pleased with the new policy saying that “Somebody has to be the one to kind of put their flag in the sand and say enough is enough. That’s what #OptOutside is for us, is saying we’re going to be the first, we think this doesn’t make sense anymore, it’s not healthy. And an outdoor life is a healthy life.”
REI is currently an employer of over 12,000 people.
John Vibes writes for True Activist and is an author, researcher and investigative journalist who takes a special interest in the counter culture and the drug war.
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