REI takes on a change of pace this “Black Friday”

By Sarah Tyrrell

As I was scrolling through my email tonight, weeding out the important messages from the retailer junk mail, one email caught my eye. REI sent an email to its co-op members with the subject line “REI is Closing Black Friday.”

Naturally, I had to keep reading.

“This Black Friday the co-op is doing something different. We’re closing all 143 of our stores. Instead of reporting to work, we’re paying our employees to do what we love most—be outside.

“We want you, our members, to be the first to hear—not just what we’re doing, but why.

“We’re passionate about bringing you great gear, but we’re even more passionate about the experiences it unlocks for all of us. Perhaps John Muir said it best back in 1901: “thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home.”

“We think Black Friday is the perfect day to remind people of this essential truth.

“And don’t worry, as a member you’ll still enjoy great deals on great gear all holiday season long. But on this one day, we’re going to #OptOutside and we want you to join us.

“While the rest of the world is fighting it out in the aisles, we hope to see you in the great outdoors. Visit optoutside.rei.com and you’ll discover great ways to #OptOutside from coast to coast.”

What a fantastic message. Instead of the sales and promotions, they are promoting their values. Instead of encouraging customers to stand in long lines, they are standing up to consumerism.

Granted, they are a co-op business and are not due for backlash as a publicly traded company would expect to have. Still, Black Friday is one of the biggest days of the year for retailers, and REI is no different.

It just goes to show that REI’s idea of success includes more variables than the bottom line. They will be giving almost all of their employees a paid day off November 27.

To learn more check out their website and maybe consider to #optoutside this coming holiday season.

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