November is here, which means the holidays are quickly approaching and it’s time to start thinking about gifts for your loved ones. If you’re like 37% of American adults (Consumer Electronics Association), you’ll be heading out into the chilly temps to battle the crowds on Black Friday.
Black Friday is notorious for maddening herds of shoppers, fighting their way through the doors to nab that desirable discount. It seems that each and every year the sale hours grow longer, with some stores even opening up on Thanksgiving night. With these crowds of feverous shoppers, there are inevitable injuries and reports of people being trampled and even killed.
Example, in 2008 a group of eager shoppers broke down the doors of a Valley Steam, NY Walmart trampling and killing a temporary employee and two fellow discount seekers.
According to an advocated website called “Black Friday Death Count“, there are seven deaths and 98 injuries recorded to date related to Black Friday shopping.
With all this madness, one would assume more stores would back away and avoid the added liabilities. Especially with the rising popularity of Cyber Monday, where shoppers can find amazing deals from the comfort of their living rooms.
Finally, one store decided to start this trend and close its doors on Black Friday. REI, a sporting goods retailer, is not only shutting down its 143 stores for the post-Thanksgiving sale day, it also launched a campaign urging the community to enjoy the outdoors.
Outdoor enthusiasts are urged to #OptOutside and share their experiences with fellow fans on the store’s webpage.
— REI (@REI) October 27, 2015
REI’s co-op status is one of the reasons it can financially withstand to close its doors on the popular shopping day. The sporting goods membership base is compiled of its dedicated customers. “A lot of people know we are a co-op, but don’t know what that means,” said
Ben Steele, the chief creative officer of REI, in an interview with The Washington Post. “We really wanted, in this moment in time, to have something that emphasizes how this organization is different.”
REI’s decision inspired fellow sporting goods retailer Outdoor Research to close down on Black Friday.
“Our company is founded on and stands for getting people outdoors,” said Ken Meidell, Outdoor Research president.
“For us it was a natural fit to join in with REI.” The company is encouraging shoppers to take part in a campaign similar to REI.
For every supporter that tweets a picture of themselves enjoying the outdoors on Black Friday, Outdoor Research will donate $10 to Paradox Sports, an organization that assists those with physical disabilities take part in outdoor activities.
Due to the skyrocketing popularity of Black Friday, many stores have started opening its doors on Thanksgiving Day.
This year, more stores are turning their back on this trend and staying closed on the holiday to allow their employees and shoppers a chance to spend time with their families.
For more information, please visit http://optoutside.rei.com.