In an industry that thrives on Black Friday sales, leading outdoor retailer REI has decided to opt out of opening it's doors the day after Thanksgiving. Yes you read that right, REI has given the middle finger to Black Friday and wants its customers (& employees) to enjoy the outdoors instead. While it is not the first company to fight against the consumerism that seemingly rules the US. Their campaign is simple; skip the lines, sales, and frantic soccer moms that wait outside Wal-Mart to buy their son the newest Xbox and spend it outside enjoying nature!
President and CEO Jerry Stritzke discussed their motives behind the drastic decision, "Any retailer that hears this will be startled by the idea. As a co-op ... we define success a little differently. It's much broader than just money. How effectively do we get people outside?"
Is skipping out on what is arguably the most important day for retailers, a death sentence? Patagonia would beg to differ. In 2011, the 2nd largest outdoor gear retailer, decided to stick to their ongoing fight to lessen environmental impact by urging customers to not buy their clothes.
"Because Patagonia wants to be in business for a good long time – and leave a world inhabitable for our kids – we want to do the opposite of every other business today. We ask you to buy less and to reflect before you spend a dime on this jacket or anything else."
This move resulted in a lower bottom line, that is, until holiday season rolled around and they actually saw higher sales than usual due to the favorable attention they received. Will REI see a similar occurrence happen to them? Based off the press and initial reaction I would have to say yes, they will most likely see similar results come holiday season.
While motives for each company's anti-Black Friday campaign were different, they still portray a similar message that the outdoors are an important aspect to our daily lives and that we shouldn't get so caught up with material goods.
"I'm sure this will give other retailers and brands the confidence to say more true to their "values" (or the values they claim to hold), and start scaling back their Black Friday deals," Fuccboytroy Haas said on whether or not this will encourage other outdoor retailers to follow suit in the coming years.
Are you going to be partaking in the ridiculousness that is Black Friday or will you #OptOutside?
Source: USA Today