BLACK FRIDAY IS THE WORST DAY of the year. It’s the day when massive retailers that are paying their employees terrible wages demand that they wake up super early — often even cutting into the employee’s Thanksgiving the night before — come into work, and deal with American materialism in its ugliest, most violent form.
But this year, REI, a large outdoor gear and sporting goods company, is bucking the trend of being terrible on Black Friday. They are closing down every single one of their 143 stores on Black Friday and are giving their employees a paid day off, telling them to get into the great outdoors. The movement, which they are calling #OptOutside, is actually going to hurt the company’s business: their biggest day of the year is Black Friday. Only 20% of their earnings come from online sales, and even then, they aren’t offering any Black Friday deals on their website, and are saying they won’t process any orders until the next day.
It’s an incredible, counterintuitive marketing move: yeah, it might hurt them for a day, but I, for one, will support any company that refuses to open on Black Friday. And take a minute to really think about it: where would you rather be after one of the best family days of the year? Screaming at a stranger in a store aisle? Or out in the great outdoors?