Opt Outside This Black Friday

On our nation’s biggest shopping day, stores eagerly open as early as 1 a.m. or midnight to encourage shoppers to flood in for post-Thanksgiving deals. Black Friday marks the beginning of the holiday shopping season. It’s considered the best time for consumers to make big holiday purchases for big savings, and the peak for companies to reap big profits.

Black Friday is, at its core, commercial madness. But it doesn’t have to be… you could just go outside instead.

Once again, REI is ditching the allure of Black Friday profits for a higher cause—encouraging shoppers to #OptOutside. REI is currently the only big-box store that will keep its doors closed for both Thanksgiving and the massive shopping day, instead encouraging their employees and consumers to spend an extra day bonding with family and friends—and ideally exploring the natural beauty of the Great Outdoors.

And yes, even their website will be closed, as in any web orders will remain unprocessed for the entire day. They are simply shutting their doors, packing up their awesome gear, and heading out to enjoy nature. And they want you to go out with them.

“This year, REI will shut down on both Thanksgiving and Black Friday because fundamentally we believe that being outside makes us our best selves – healthier and happier, physically and mentally. But as a nation we’re still spending over 90 percent of our lives indoors and it’s a trend we need to tackle,” said REI CEO Jerry Stritzke. “I love that there is a community of people in this country who dedicate their lives to that mission, so together, we are asking America ‘Will you go out with us?’”

This is the second consecutive year REI has shut its 148 stores and paid its 12,000+ employees to explore the outdoors with family and friends. The move is risky, similar to Patagonia’s 2011 campaign “Don’t Buy This Jacket.” Encouraging consumers to stop buying or shopping seems counterintuitive to the objective of increasing profits. But the message seems to be resonating with people, and actually boosting the company (according to Geekwire, last year’s OptOutside campaign resulted in a 26 percent hike in online traffic during the shopping weekend). 

It’s not just REI that wants you outside. Some state and national parks are offering free or discounted passes on Black Friday to encourage anyone and everyone to get out and enjoy nature. With a major campaign, California State Parks is encouraging west coasters to celebrate a #GreenFriday. They are providing a free parking pass for day use of any California state park, and are encouraging all Californians to get out, ditch the overcrowding of suburban shopping malls, and appreciate the beauty of the world outside their doorstep.

Additionally, companies and organizations like Subaru of America, PrAna, Outdoor Afro, Google, the National Parks Foundation, Outdoor Research, Meetup and more are working in unique ways to spread REI’s #OptOutside message to facilitate and encourage all of us to spend more time in nature.

Oh, and if you need another reason to go outside, let’s not forget that it is absurdly good for you. It reduces stress levels, improves eyesight, improves attention span, boosts serotonin levels, and increases your physical activity levels. There is no pill in the world that can do all those things for you… especially not one that is fundamentally free!

Join the call to adventure! Make this Black Friday a day to celebrate the outdoors, the environment and our humanity. Hit a trail and take time to meet new faces and try new things; bring people with you that aren’t traditionally “outdoorsy.” We all need more nature. Skip the shopping and join millions of people who plan to #OptOutside.

Take action: Save our outdoors!

In addition to opting outside this Black Friday, we need to ensure our outdoors stay intact. At the last Republican National Convention, the GOP voted to include a plank in their platform to turn federal lands over to state management.  Sign the petition urging your governor to keep national lands and parks protected.

Related:
Fun Outdoor Exercises That Don’t Feel Like Work
Your Shoes Are Strangling Your Feet, According to an Expert
Your Favorite Fleece Is a Pollutant

70 comments

Jerome S
Jerome Sabout a year ago

thanks

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Jim V
Jim Vabout a year ago

thanks for sharing.

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Simon L
Simon Labout a year ago

ty

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Leong S
Leong S1 years ago

thanks

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Jim V
Jim V1 years ago

thanks for sharing.

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Mariana L
Mariana L1 years ago

signed

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Jim Ven
Jim V1 years ago

thanks for sharing.

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Mariana L
Mariana L1 years ago

thanks

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Lara W.
Lara W.1 years ago

I make an effort to get outside in the fall no matter what! It's one of the loveliest times to take walks.

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Peggy B.
Peggy B1 years ago

I did.

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