REI Black Friday doesn’t exist. All REI stores are closed. All 153 Stores. Including all ONLINE sales. AGAIN. For the fourth year in a row.
If you love outdoor adventures, camping or hiking, then you know REI. This store is amazing and has everything you need to get outside to enjoy the great outdoors! You would think that Black Friday is the time that they cash in on the upcoming Christmas season.
The outdoor-gear retailer first completely closed it’s doors in 2015 on Black Friday, and launched what is now known as the the #OptOutside campaign. And for the past four years, REI has closed on Black Friday and Thanksgiving every year. But wait, there’s more. They also give 12,000 employees a paid day off so they can spend time with friends and family. They even REFUSE to process even any online sales, as part of a movement to encourage people to spend the day outdoors. Hastag Hiking, people.
Slow Clap, right?
The company’s CEO and president, Jerry Stritzke, says that the decision to stay closed on Black Friday has not only NOT hurt their business, but actually HELPED it. “You don’t win in the long-term by pushing … what I call rampant consumerism,” Stritzke told Business Insider.
Only about half of Americans spend any kind of significant time outside. REI is hoping to take the opportunity to have their customers get outside instead of sitting inside their houses online, or in retail stores.
But here’s the part that strikes a nerve.
“We’re asking people this year to reevaluate that picture of themselves. To see technology as the starting point to a journey outside, not the destination. And to go explore the world with someone they love – on Black Friday and every day,” he said.
We couldn’t have said it better ourselves. As a business using (obviously) technology as a platform, we are doing the same thing at Van Adieu. We want to take technology and make it the STARTING POINT, not the destination.
Strizke goes on to say, “About this time every year, everyone in retail starts talking about door buster sales and foot traffic on Black Friday. We would like to announce our Black Friday numbers for the last three years since we started #OptOutside — 2015: $0. 2016: $0 2017: $0. Since launching #OptOutside, we’ve watched more than 200 retailers go out of business. It has been a period of enormous change in retail. We’ve stayed healthy partly because we’ve stuck with our core values — like giving our employees time to do what they love with the people they love during the holidays. It’s enabled us to add millions of new members and, most importantly, connect millions of people with the outdoors. We’ll once again be closed on Thanksgiving and Black Friday, and we’ll share more about our #OptOutside plans in the next few weeks.”
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This year is a bit different for REI though, in the coolest way possible. They have now committed $1 million toward a center at the University of Washington to “study the link between human health and time spent outdoors.” I think we all know the awesome results they are going to find already.
Technology is here to stay. But, it can be part of our lives, instead of the focus of our lives.
Over the past 3 years, REI has said that they have tracked that nearly 15 million people and more than 700 organizations participated in #OptOutside.
Let’s increase that number of people enjoying an outdoor Black Friday again this year.
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I’ve created three gift guides to make your life easy. You can get your gifts now, relax with some yummy hot chocolate, and then figure out where you will #OptOutside this year.
So, tell me, I mean REALLY tell me – how will you #OptOutside this year?
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Adieu for now!