REI made headlines when it announced its stores will close for Black Friday, the biggest day of the year for most retailers. The outdoor gear and clothing company wants people to spend the day after Thanksgiving outside exploring nature instead of shopping. Consumers can post pictures on social media with the hashtag #OptOutside and share their outdoor adventures. Not only are consumers encouraged to go outside, but so are employees. REI employees are getting Black Friday as a paid day off.
Why is REI sacrificing what could potentially be their biggest sales day of the year? REI President and CEO Jerry Stritzke says he defines success a little differently than most. He wants to see how effectively REI can get people to go outside. As a brand, REI has been dedicated to "a life outdoors" for 76 years, and it's not stopping now.
How does the idea behind #OptOutside save energy?
- REI stores will save electricity. With 143 locations across the country, closing for one day means lights and heat won't be running all day.
- Corporate locations will save electricity. REI is also closing its headquarters and distribution centers for the day.
- Consumers and employees will save fuel. Consumers won't be driving to the stores – or waiting in traffic – to shop for Black Friday deals. Employees will also save the gasoline it takes to drive to work. No online orders will be processed on Thanksgiving or Black Friday, and no trucks will be delivering any products to locations.
- #OptOutside will save shopping bags. It takes oil and plastic to make shopping bags. No shopping means no shopping bags.
Save energy when you shop this season
There are a few ways you can save energy this holiday season. First, avoid shopping on Black Friday and take the day to spend time with your family and friends. Most stores offer great deals throughout the year, so you won't really be missing out. You can also skip the traffic and stampedes of people and look for online deals. If you feel like you have to shop, try carpooling with friends to a shopping mall where you can hit several stores at once and save gas. No matter where you shop, don't forget your reusable shopping bags!
How will this impact Black Friday's future?
What if other major retailers took a page out of REI's book and closed for Black Friday? Other Black Friday destinations, such as Wal-Mart, Target and Best Buy will be open before the sun rises. While closing on Black Friday may not become widespread among retailers, it's refreshing that a retailer is thinking about its customers and employees more than the bottom line during the holidays. REI is making steps in the right direction with its #OptOutside campaign, and we hope others follow in the future.