Prepare to feel that holiday spirit: This year, outdoorsy brand REI is eschewing the Black Friday tradition of making people work crazy hours while shoppers hunt for bargains, and instead giving their employees the day off—with pay. This decision, supported by the hashtag #OptOutside, is not just in protest of the absolutely out-of-control mania that surrounds Black Friday, but is also pushing for shoppers to step away from their shopping carts and go outside. What’s the point of being thankful on Thanksgiving if we just go and buy more, more, more the very next day?
As a result, all 143 national REI stores will be closed this Black Friday. As CEO Jerry Stritzke explained to CNN, Black Friday has “gotten out of hand.” While customers can still access REI online, they’ll have to click through a homepage which will urge them to go outdoors and celebrate life rather than shop.
While some might argue that closing doors on Black Friday is going to lose REI a lot of money, they see it differently. “[W]e can do something like close our doors on Black Friday,” Stritzke explains. “And we’ll have the membership that’ll think that’s cool.”
He has a point. Everyone is talking about REI now, much more than they ever would no matter how high the deals got. Keeping employees up all night, and catering to the madness of Black Friday just isn’t REI’s philosophy—and a move like this appeals to potential customers who have the same values.
Plus, isn’t there just a little bit of a weight off your shoulders to know that after you stuff yourself with turkey you don’t have to get up super early the next morning? Sleep off your Thanksgiving coma, and then maybe go for a hike. All the stores will still be there the next day.