REI’s Black Friday Pledge to Get Employees Outside

The outdoor merchandising giant is choosing to #OptOutside - closing its 143 stores on Black Friday and paying employees to go and enjoy nature.


(Autumn Sky Photography /

The day after Thanksgiving - also known as Black Friday - has become a celebration of sales and shopping. In sharp contrast to the preceding day, it celebrates materialism rather than values. In recent years, however, the day has earned a problematic reputation, including incidents such as customer fights over products and even injuries as massive numbers of shoppers scrambled to get the best deals.

Enter REI, an outdoor merchandising company that has taken it upon itself to change the way we mark Black Friday by pioneering the #OptOutside pledge.

Their CEO described the mission:

REI is closing on Black Friday.
You read that correctly. On November 27, we'll be closing all 143 of our stores and paying our employees to head outside.
Here’s why we’re doing it.
For 76 years, our co-op has been dedicated to one thing and one thing only: a life outdoors. We believe that being outside makes our lives better. And Black Friday is the perfect time to remind ourselves of this essential truth.
We're a different kind of company—and while the rest of the world is fighting it out in the aisles, we’ll be spending our day a little differently. We’re choosing to opt outside, and want you to come with us. 


In response, several state park services have announced that their parks will open for free on Black Friday.

Start your new Black Friday tradition! Visit the magnificent forest on Free Redwood Parks Day, 11-27, sponsored by Save the Redwoods League. #OptOutside #IntoTheRedwoods

So, what does this mean for you? 

This Black Friday, you have an opportunity to #OptOutside, spend time in nature and show a little gratitude and appreciation for the intangible things in life, like the great outdoors.