This year, REI shocked the retail world by announcing that it will close all of its stores on Black Friday (gasp!), and will instead encourage its employees and costumers to #OptOutside.
REI’s CEO Jerry Stritzke explained this bold choice writing, “We’re a different kind of company– and while the rest of the world is fighting it out in the aisles, we’ll be spending our day a little differently. We’re choosing to opt outside, and want you to come with us.” The #OptOutside campaign urges the REI community to spend their holiday time communing with nature, because, as Stritzke puts it, REI is “dedicated to one thing and one thing only: a life outdoors.”
Stritzke is telling the truth when he says REI is unique from conventional vendors. It’s a cooperative, where its 5.5 million members buy outdoor recreational gear and receive a dividend at year’s end to put towards future purchases. Members also organize outdoor excursions and education initiatives within their communities. At REI, you don’t have to be a board member to be a stakeholder in the company and its future.
REI is sticking up for its values rather than just valuing high sales by backing out of Black Friday. Black Friday, known for out-of-control crowds and seemingly never-ending shifts, is notoriously difficult for retail workers. REI maintains its community ethos by giving everyone in the cooperative the chance to enjoy the outdoors with their families this holiday.
We at Goodshop pledge our full support for the #OptOutside campaign, and stand in solidarity with REI in seeking to end the exploitative practices of Black Friday through our own glorious Goodshop Sunday. To get the most out of your Thanksgiving vacation, we suggest throwing on one of REI’s Double reversible knit pullovers and wrapping up in an REI Smartwool Pine Lake Chevron Scarf and exploring the great outdoors with your friends and family. And then, make sure to be within WIFI access when Goodshop Sunday comes along ( ;