Bucking the modus operandi of many of its competitors, outdoor retailer REI has announced that it will close on Black Friday and Thanksgiving—and will be paying all of its employees for both. Instead of arming its staff to the teeth to deal with over-caffeinated consumerist zombies, REI is encouraging its employees to “Opt Outside”—to enjoy their friends, family and environment during the Thanksgiving holiday.
I’ve never shied away from my disdain for Black Friday. There’s just something about 5:00am shopping mall stampedes and parking lot donnybrooks over Brookstone foot spas that doesn’t sit well with me. And as Black Friday has snowballed into Black November over the past few years, it seems that all the savings has sucked the life out of what should be one of the best months of the year.
REI has said “No more!”
Along with giving their 12,000+ employees a couple of paid days off and sparing them for the mental anguish and physical perils of hordes of wild-eyed shoppers, they are essentially saying to the public, “This has gone too far.”
The line in the sand has been drawn, and REI is challenging other likeminded retailers to join them in their Black Friday conscientious objection. As the tide has begun to turn regarding peoples’ opinion of Black Friday, we may begin to see more companies shut their doors as well.
But if you were really looking forward to purchasing a pair of discount snow shoes at REI on Black Friday, never fear—the retailer will still have deals on their website.