The outdoor equipment cooperative Recreational Equipment, Inc. (REI) recently launched the hashtag campaign “Opt Outside” to promote outdoor activity on Black Friday as opposed to patrons partaking in the mass shopping trend.
According to its website, REI will close all 143 nationwide stores on the Friday after Thanksgiving and pay their employees to opt outside during this holiday season.
“For 76 years, our co-op has been dedicated to one thing and one thing only: a life outdoors,” President and CEO of REI Jerry Stritzke said on the “Opt Outside” website. “We believe that being outside makes our lives better. And Black Friday is the perfect time to remind ourselves of this essential truth.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.”
REI is asking participants of the “Opt Outside” campaign to take photos and hashtag “Opt Outside” to bring awareness to the movement.
Senior and general manager of the local outdoor equipment store Beyond Boundaries, Parker Burgess, said that he has already been using the hashtag in his social media posts in support of the campaign.
“I’m a huge fan of (the campaign),” Burgess said. “I really like the idea. I think some large companies like (REI) needed to get people back into the real reason of Thanksgiving, which is to not go out and buy all these gifts.”
According to Burgess, Beyond Boundaries will be open for Black Friday shopping but will be closed the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and Thanksgiving day. Other local stores plan on opening their doors for Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday shopping such as Hibbett Sport and Hays clothing store.
Senior Dana Grassi, who is an employee at Hibbett Sport, said she is in support of stores being closed on Thanksgiving Day, but not for Black Friday.
“I personally love REI, and I shop there a lot,” Grassi said. “But not sure how I feel about Black Friday being taken away… That is a huge sales day for the company… Now, Thanksgiving — that is a problem. I can’t stand that stores are open on Thanksgiving Day. It blows my mind that people would rather push and shove for materialistic things during the same time that was set aside for us to be giving thanks for what we have already.”
Freshman Delaney Bowles, who works at Hays, said she has shopped during Black Friday sales before and will miss the opportunity to shop this year. In regards to the “Opt Outside” campaign, she said she feels that everyone has the right to enjoy their free time how they choose.
“Personally, I love the outdoors; I don’t go Black Friday shopping just to buy material things, though,” Bowles said. “My favorite memories from Black Friday have come from just being able to spend time with my mom and sister.”