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WRAL SmartShopper

Get out: REI pays employees not to work on Black Friday

Posted October 27, 2015

REI, the specialty outdoor retailer, closes on Thanksgiving Day every year, but this year they are giving their employees an amazing gift on Black Friday.

REI will be closed on Black Friday 2015 and they are giving their employees the day off WITH PAY! The co-op is paying its 12,000 employees to go outside and enjoy the day!

You will still be able to order online, but they are not going to be having any special Black Friday deals.

In their press release, Jerry Stritzke, president and CEO of REI, said, “Black Friday is the perfect time to remind ourselves of the essential truth that life is richer, more connected and complete when you choose to spend it outside. We’re closing our doors, paying our employees to get out there, and inviting America to OptOutside with us because we love great gear, but we are even more passionate about the experiences it unlocks.”

I love this! Yes, I know my job is to share all the great deals on Black Friday, but quite frankly, this event has gotten out of hand. Every year the stores open earlier and earlier including many who are open on Thanksgiving Day. For the record, I think it's awful that retailers are open on Thanksgiving Day and I wish the holiday was still reserved for giving thanks with those we love. I worked retail for many years and I was always so grateful that I had the whole day off on Thanksgiving to spend with my family.

Head to optoutside.rei.com to enter your zip code to find some of the hiking trails in your area. And guess what? It's FREE to hike!

Kudos to REI for taking care of their employees and encouraging a healthy lifestyle. We may just head to the park on Black Friday this year.

What do you think? Did REI make the right choice? Does it influence whether you will shop there more or less during the holidays this year? Share your thoughts in the comments section.

13 Comments

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  • luvstoQ Oct 27, 2015

    Hurrah for REI! The shopping hours/days are so erratic and spaced out - early, early bird, day/week before, day of Turkey Day, day after, online, in stores, etc. etc. etc. that all the fun and excitement has long gone out of it for us. The deals aren't that great either IMO. Other times are usually just as good, or better.

  • kerryharpe Oct 27, 2015

    Never believed in the leader items stores put up for sale to get you to come. If they can sell it that cheap for 1 day, guess what happens the other 364 days.

  • fluffy11 Oct 27, 2015

    Yay for REI! Good decision! Being outdoor is much better than being in a crowded store, and this is great for employee relations I support this decision, and I am an REI customer.

  • Cahulawassee Oct 27, 2015

    I doubt seriously this will boost sales - at the end of the day, they're missing a huge revenue day in the year and they'll likely recoup whatever their usual shoppers would have spent there, but they'll miss their non-typical customers who might purchase due solely to BF.

    But it doesn't matter. REI is a coop with a stated mission that is significantly different from publicly traded companies. If this concept gets people outdoors, then REI delivered value to its shareholders (members), and they're delivering on their promise. This is capitalism at its finest when you don't measure success or progress on an SEC 10-K.

  • thefensk Oct 27, 2015

    Kudos to them. The whole Black Friday "event" has always the worst sort of contrived marketing scheme. People used to go shopping because they were off and it was fun, the family was in town ... THAT was the event. Then the marketers and worse, the media got hold of it and they *told* us it was Black Friday and then it became, we have to go out *because* it is Black Friday. Sigh.

  • RaleighFoodBlogger Oct 27, 2015

    Faye- I'm with you. While I LOVE that the employees are getting this time off, etc. The one thing I've learned having worked in marketing for 30 years is that in the end, it all comes down to money and image. They are getting a ton of publicity and social media buzz, which far outweighs the cost to give the employees a day off w/pay (I feel). Looking at it through realistic eyes, at least there is a win-win for both employee and company. But, this will not make me want to shop there more in the end because again... it's just marketing.

  • jdouglas13 Oct 27, 2015

    I'm impressed and WAY more likely to shop REI now. I think some of the publicly traded companies might be pleasantly surprised by what their shareholders have to say if they were try this, especially if enough companies banded together.

  • C6-YA Oct 27, 2015

    View quoted thread


    I Agree! Bravo REI!

  • newssaavy72 Oct 27, 2015

    Great move! Get that old fashioned respect back that is an lost art for Thanksgiving and the family!

  • Claytonmomof2 Oct 27, 2015

    Black Friday has become a shopping tradition for our family; however, I think that opening on Thanksgiving Day is not acceptable. REI has made a big decision and investment in doing this for their employees, but it's also a PR tool as well. Ultimately, it's a win-win for their company and staff with great PR to support it.

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