Thursday, November 5, 2015

Why I Think I'll Shop At REI. Black Friday Related, But Not What You Think

I'm giving huge cheers to REI a sporting goods and outdoor equipment company with a wide reach.

Here's why. According to The Atlantic and many other media outlets, REI announced that on the infamous shopping day Black Friday it would close all 143 stores, its headquarters and even its website.

As for REI's 12,000 employees? Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, will be a paid holiday. These employees also have their marching orders from REI's CEO for Black Friday: "Go outside and do something."

REI's gambit is good or employees, who won't have to work on Thanksgiving like many of their counterparts in the retail world.

Nordstrom and Costco, for instance won't open on Thanksgiving Day, bucking an obnoxious trend among retailers in recent years.

Maybe we are finally starting to get rid of Black Friday stupidity. According to the Atlantic:

"More generally in the economy, though, Black Friday fatigue has been on the rise. Last year, there was a wave of petitions and social media campaigns calling for both retailers and consumers to boycott Black Friday.

While it's still one of the biggest shopping days of the year in the U.S., a report from the National Retail Federation found that only 55 percent of holiday shoppers spent money on Thanksgiving weekend last year, and that 42 percent of their spending was online.

REI's announcement reflects more than just how tired its customers are of Black Friday; it reflects how tired many Americans are as well."

As I've whined about before, I've always hated the Black Friday spectacle of people waiting in long lines in bitterly cold predawn mall parking lots so they can bust the doors in of the local StupidMart to buy their Door Buster TV.

There's even a web site dedicated to the carnage called Black Friday Death Count, which tracks the seven deaths and 98 injuries associated with Black Friday chaos since 2006.

So hats off to REI. I think I'll do the same thing their CEO suggests: Go outside and do something on Black Friday. Then maybe, I'll check out their web site the  next week and see if I can reward them for their efforts with a little holiday shopping.

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