REI Does Black Friday Right

29 Nov, 2016 Bob Wilson


I’ll be the first to admit, I generally hate shopping, although I have been feverishly working to convince my wife I am a superior shopper. While some people can linger in stores for hours – often without buying anything, I can generally enter a store, make my targeted acquisition, and be out again in mere minutes. 

See? Superior shopper. Of course, if it is a Lowes Home Improvement Store or The Home Depot, I could probably pitch a tent.

My antipathy towards shopping has been amplified in recent years over the ridiculous hysteria surrounding the bacchanalia of shopping events, Black Friday. It has become an annual ritual where people who were thankful the day prior for what they had go out en masse to the stores and trample people to death trying to get new crap to be thankful for next year. It is a ridiculous exercise, considering I can get all the new crap I need ordering online. In under 30 minutes. In my underwear.

But I digress…. 

What has really annoyed me in recent years is the trend of retailers opening on Thanksgiving, giving the trampling public the opportunity to leave their Thanksgiving feast and start the killing season earlier than ever. Even though I am a true capitalist at heart, I think it is ridiculous that employee holidays are disrupted or even prevented just to squeeze a few extra hours of sale time in.

And that brings us to sporting equipment retailer REI, whose Black Friday strategy is unique, to say the least. They simply closed, and told people to go outside.

We remember outside, don't we? It is the big scary open space with no ceiling; what we are forced to run through between the car and the mall.  

I think it is impressive that a retailer that size would not only resist the trend to opening on Thanksgiving, but also to buck the whole Black Friday fiasco as well. I expect that move will more than be compensated for in other business days of the week.

So, hats off to REI for that one bold step. I tell you, if I ever actually do anything outside, I would buy whatever I need to have for the event at REI. Of course, I'll have to drive to Jacksonville, with that being the closest store to me. The five hour drive will be worth it, especially for that tent I will need for my next trip to Home Depot.

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