Just Don’t Plan on Doing it Black Friday
This week, outdoor retailer REI announced they’re offering a tempting alternative to Black Friday shopping. But they’re not going to help you do it. Directly, anyway. Check out this video:
Yes, you heard that right. This Black Friday, REI will close all 143 of its stores. It’s a unique and surprising move given the busy holiday shopping season. And it’s exactly why I’ll be shopping there this year.
Most people have seen news footage of the shopping mayhem on Black Friday. You may even have been in the frenzy yourself. I’ve heard several people say “I’ll never do that again,” after braving the crowds. None of them talked about how much money they saved, how much they bought, or how happy they were. But the misery of traffic and crowds?
There are stories aplenty.
REI Swims Upstream
REI isn’t just closing its retail locations that day. They won’t even process online orders until that Saturday. Better yet, it’s a paid day off for all their employees. REI encourages them to “opt outside,” and they’re hoping to start a new Black Friday tradition that offers a much different alternative to shopping.
In case you’re worried you won’t find great deals from REI this season, relax. They’ve promised to offer sales all shopping season long, just not Black Friday.
Here’s why I plan to support REI this holiday season – and why you should consider shopping there too.
- They take care of their people. REI may be closing Black Friday, but they’re still paying their employees. This is a company that understands how to keep their people happy and healthy. They’ve been on FORTUNE Magazine’s list of the 100 Best Companies to Work For every year since the rankings began in 1998.
- Their people take care of you. There’s a secret in retail: take care of employees and they’ll take care of customers. Every employee I’ve met at REI has been happy and helpful. Try to say that about those working Black Friday this year.
- They have your vision needs covered. Whether your eyes need photochromic snow goggles or waterproof binoculars, REI delivers. They also sell activity-specific sunglasses. Just remember the best sunwear is fit by a professional, so I don’t suggest buying sunwear online. If you do choose this option at least have it fit in an REI store. Bonus: getting outside is a great way to enhance your visual lifestyle.
- It’s not about the money. Black Friday is consistently one of the top 10 selling days for REI every year. So closing that day shows they’re taking a path that isn’t defined by cash.
- REI has clearly defined values (and they live by them). Instead of making decisions solely on profit, the folks at REI have a core value that “a life outdoors is a life well lived.” They’re not just asking about profit. They’re asking how they can get you and I outdoors. Which means, they’re really asking how they can make our lives better.
If you’re shaking your head at the annual Black Friday spectacle, maybe it’s time to start a new tradition. And when it comes time to do your holiday shopping, consider REI. They’ve just proven they’re a company serious about your outdoor life.