I think it was Monday night that I got the email from REI that they were closing on black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving. REI is a coop company where once you join the coop, any purchases get chronicled, and you get money back each year on your purchases. I have gotten camping & hiking stuff at REI in the past. Black Friday has become a day of American consumerism like nothing else. The time for stores to open has pushed all the way to basically after dinner on Thanksgiving Thursday. The first year I headed up to NH to be with my fiancé’s family after Thanksgiving lunch with my family, there was traffic. I was shocked, how could there be traffic going through his town? It was because of the Walmart. I was driving to get to dessert with those I love, and got stuck in traffic with people going to get the best deal on a new flatscreen.
REI’s campaign asks us to go outside on Friday after Thanksgiving- get out of the stores, get off our computers, and do something outside. They created the hashtag “opt outside” for all of us to showcase our non consumer driven activities. Its fine with me because we were already planning to hike in NH. I still have to do the Tripyramids, Hancocks, and Cabot this fall/winter.
Will REI reach a new group of people to be customers? I don’t know, its a pretty specific audience that goes to REI. Maybe the campaign will inspire people to go buy new outdoorsy items for their #optoutside adventures. Maybe REI will even toss us some sales beforehand to help us get outfitted for the day. Will other companies join REI in closing on Black Friday? I don’t know. Think about everyone being able to spend all of Thursday & all of Friday with their families. REI’s 143 stores will be closed on that Friday and every employee will get paid to go do something outside! Can someone start paying me to play outside?! Here are the little YouTube videos they have created for the #optoutside campaign:
Opting outside will cost me gas money, and maybe a parking fee depending on which mountain we go to. Sooooo much cheaper than whatever I would ever buy on black Friday. Go outside more, spend less.