In 2015, REI set a new precedent by shutting its doors on Black Friday. No doorbuster sales. No 16 hour work days. The company paid its retail workers for the day and encouraged them to spend it doing what they love: getting outside to enjoy the great outdoors.
This year REI launched the #OptOutside campaign to encourage everyone to get outside on Black Friday. They want people to spend the day exploring nature, not battling each other in shopping malls. They have partnered with hundreds of national and state parks to make sure everyone can get outside. Many states have waived entrance fees for their parks and organized activities for families and outdoor enthusiasts alike. Environmental organizations and nonprofits are using the campaign to promote environmental conservation by showcasing local gems in their community. It’s the ultimate antithesis to the consumerist hysteria to which we’ve grown accustomed.
Hit the Trails, Not the Malls
Instead of waiting hours in line for the latest toy or gadget, why not get up early and watch the sunrise? Round up the family, pack up those Thanksgiving leftovers, and explore some local trails. Burn off that second slice of pumpkin pie by bicycling through your neighborhood. Even just taking a walk around the block will do just fine.
If you need recommendations for trails in your area, REI’s free Hiking Project app has thousands of recommendations for trails, parks, and nature preserves. This is our favorite hiking app because it includes all kinds of trails: urban, mountain, historical – you name it. Some other great hiking apps are AllTrails, ViewRanger, and Chimani.
Make Black Friday Meaningful
We support this campaign because it promotes everything we love about the holidays. It’s an excuse to share our love of nature with our family. We can take time to slow down during such a busy season. Getting into nature allows us to appreciate the little things. We can share that joy with others and start new holiday traditions that are rejuvenating and meaningful.
Will you pledge to Opt Outside on Black Friday? How do you plan to spend the day with family? We hope you and your loved ones have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
~ Ms. RW