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Retailer forfeits Black Friday profits

While retail stores continue the tradition of pursuing higher profits during Black Friday, employees of Recreational Equipment Incorporated (REI) will be getting paid to have Friday off.

This year REI has launched an Opt Outside Campaign. REI will close on Black Friday and is
encouraging people to skip the shopping and enjoy the outdoors instead.

“While the rest of the world is fighting it out in the aisles, we’ll be spending our day a little differently,” states REI’s website.

“We believe that being outside makes our lives better. And Black Friday is the perfect time to remind ourselves of this essential truth,” said CEO and president of REI, Jerry Stritzke, on the store
website.

REI is “a national outdoor retail co-op” that offers gear and apparel for “camping, climbing,
cycling, fitness, hiking, paddling, snow sports and travel,” according to their website.

As of Tuesday, 890,837 people have posted on Instagram with #OptOutside.

Although most stores are not willing to sacrifice opening on Black Friday, there are a few that will be closed all day on Thanksgiving. Some major retailers that will close include Costco, T.J. Maxx, Marshalls, Home Depot and Lowe’s.

Micah Kimler, junior graphic design major, said he has participated in Black Friday only once. Two years ago, his curiosity led him to venture into Walmart. He witnessed the crowds pushing through the aisles and a woman who accidentally dropped some DVDs from a pile she was clutching and yelled, “That’s mine!”

Witnessing the gradual trend of shortening the hours between Thanksgiving and Black Friday over the years, Kimler emphasized the irony.

“One day is a day of thankfulness and the other is just a day of greediness. Greediness is always trying to consume the other,” Kimler said.

On the other hand, Nathan Young, junior art and illustration major, said his experience with Black Friday is positive. He went Black Friday shopping with his family for the first time six years ago.  He said they were pleasantly surprised to find the rumors of brutal shoppers were false: the crowds were tight but organized.

In fact, Young referred to the shopping experience as the perfect way for him and his brothers to compete, since they are “competitors by nature.”

“Black Friday shopping is fun, and it is an exhilarating time for me to bond with my family,” Young said.

In conjunction with Opt Outside, REI is investing $8 million “to create access to  inspirational outdoor places,” according to their website.

President Stritzke, stated on the website that it is the company’s goal to invest in the outdoors.

“Success for us means giving back to the outdoor community and helping people live life
outside.”

The website includes a photo gallery of people instagramming their outdoor pictures with the #OptOutside, as well as a map of places to go with types of outdoor activities to participate in.

While REI is cutting out Black Friday, stores such as Walmart have extended their Black Friday sales to online discounts starting on Thanksgiving Day.

Walmart’s chief merchandising officer, Steve Bratspies, said in an interview with USA Today, “It’s about deals, it’s about availability and it’s about simplicity.”