On Black Friday this year, REI is closing its 143 stores and paying its employees to be outside — and it wants you to do the same.
The company, which operates as a co-op, emailed its members last night about its plan, quoting national parks advocate John Muir in 1901: "Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home." The email continued: "We think Black Friday is the perfect day to remind people of this essential truth."
"While the rest of the world is fighting it out in the aisles, we hope to see you in the great outdoors," REI wrote. It's sharing the plan under the hashtag #OptOutside and created a website with ideas on where people can go on Black Friday to spend time outdoors.
REI joins a handful of other retailers in rejecting the shopping wars of Black Friday, which have increasingly crept into Thanksgiving in recent years, though its plans take the idea to a new level.
Patagonia has asked customers "to celebrate the stuff you already own," offering in-store repairs on old Patagonia products on the shopping holiday, and spreading its plan through hashtags like #AntiBlackFriday and #BetterThanNew. Everlane has closed shop on Black Friday in the past; last year, it opened but donated proceeds to beautifying one of its factories in China.
Few retailers have shared their plans for Black Friday this year, though more are opting to close on Thanksgiving, especially as data has shown it tends to just disperse a static amount of sales during the weekend.
"We're passionate about bringing you great gear, but we're even more passionate about the experiences it unlocks for all of us," REI said in its email.