In years past, an avid hiker might take an ice pick to the gut of a fellow outdoorsman to score the best Black Friday deal at REI. But the CEO of the outdoor sports store wants to avoid those kinds of situations altogether this year by going dark the day after Thanksgiving.
The #OptOutside campaign is REI’s way of sticking it to unreasonable consumerism and the evolution of Black Friday away from enjoyable family time.
“REI is closing on Black Friday,” REI President and CEO Jerry Stritzke explained. “You read that correctly. On November 27, we’ll be closing all 143 of our stores and paying our employees to head outside.
“For 76 years, our co-op has been dedicated to one thing and one thing only: a life outdoors,” Stritzke continued. “We believe that being outside makes our lives better. And Black Friday is the perfect time to remind ourselves of this essential truth.”
The company is encouraging not only its employees but also its customers to #OptOutside—to spend a day in the great outdoors instead of “fighting it out in the aisles” like “the rest of the world.”
As part of the #OptOutside campaign, REI is encouraging people to share their Black Friday plans using the hashtag and logo. Employees and customers alike have done that Instagram, sharing some beautiful landscape porn that is sure to make even the most nature-phobic person want to take a stroll outside.
REI’s campaign site also offers ideas for outdoor activities all over the country.
Over the years, Black Friday has evolved from a day of holiday gift deals and steals into a day of fighting, violence, and even death. (There’s even a website dedicated to documenting all the mishaps.) Walmart employees protested last year against the unfair hours and wages that they received on Black Friday, with workers stepping out in droves to demonstrate.
At this point, little good can come of Black Friday, other than a sweet deal on a 60-inch HDTV. There might be mountain lions in the wilderness, but they’re nothing compared to the wrath of bargain hunters.