REI Wants You (And Their Employees) to Take a Hike This Black Friday


You could go shopping on Black Friday, or you could spend some quality time with your friends and family. (Stocksy)

REI will be celebrating Black Friday in a different way this year — by giving its employees a paid day off.

The outdoor sports retailer announced Tuesday that it will be closed on Black Friday (Nov. 27), and the co-op company, is encouraging others to close shop and get outdoors as well.

“Instead of reporting to work, the co-op is paying its 12,000 employees so they can do what they love most – be outside,” the company said in a press release. “Starting today, the co-op is inviting the nation to join in by choosing to #OptOutside to reconnect with family and friends this Thanksgiving holiday.”

It’s a bold move for the company financially (but brilliant from a marketing standpoint) on what is known as one of the most lucrative days of the year for retailers. Some like K-Mart have started opening on Thanksgiving day to meet the growing demand, while others like Costco and Nordstrom have refused to open its doors on Thanksgiving itself.

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The online support for REI has been overwhelming:

The support for REI’s move points out the mixed feelings we have about Black Friday — many people “celebrate” the unofficial holiday, but also don’t feel great about doing so.

“Many people resent the start of the buying season coming at a cost of precious family Thanksgiving time,” licensed clinical psychologist Alicia H. Clark, PsyD, tells Yahoo Health. “These holidays are about family after all, and the incessant pressure to consume (food, goods, products) can be frustrating.”

While we may feel resentment at being tempted to shop on a holiday or right after it, many people do it any way…but still like it when retailers acknowledge that things have gotten a little out of hand.

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“The idea that a huge business is actually putting their employees before their profit margin tugs at people’s heartstrings,” Erika Martinez, PsyD, a licensed clinical psychologist practicing in Miami, tells Yahoo Health.


The outdoors equipment retailer won’t take your money on Black Friday. (Alamy)

Even for people who love Black Friday, REI’s very public move makes us feel that they’re on our side on some level. And we root for them (and may even be more likely to shop there) as a result. “We love the maverick, the loner who stands up against all the odds,” clinical psychologist John Mayer, PhD, tells Yahoo Health. “We are cheering REI because they are standing up to the social pressure.”

REI will be taking online orders on Black Friday, but won’t fill them until the next day.