In an industry that too-often encourages customers to behave in one way and forces employees to do otherwise, REI is a refreshing change of pace to start off the holiday season in 2015. Although Black Friday has long been known as one of the biggest shopping days of the year, that is not the case with REI this year.
Instead, REI employees will all have the day off, with pay. No orders will be processed and instead, both staff and customers are encouraged to take a step outside and find activities that don’t involve shopping. It is so important to the company that they also want people to use social media differently on Black Friday.
In a letter to employees, President and CEO Jerry Stritzke said Black Friday is the perfect time to get outside.
“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.”
He added, “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 has set up #OptOutside, where you can post a photo, share on your social media to “opt out” of the consumer craziness of Black Friday.
According to ABC News, the National Retail Federation said fewer people shopped over Thanksgiving weekend last year due to early discounts, more online shopping and a mixed economy.
So far 230,279 people have signed up to REI’s #optoutside campaign