Consumerism. The holiday sales seem to start sooner every year. Doorbusters and Sales. Buy Buy Buy. The end of the year is supposed to be a festive time of celebration and time with our families. And it has turned into a time of standing in line to get the best deals, spending money, and running around like mad to gather STUFF. And if you work in retail, you spend more and more time working and less and less time with the people in your life that the season is supposed to be about.
REI has taken a stand. There are a number of stores that are closing on Thanksgiving. But REI is closing it’s stores on Black Friday. Their web site is open, but there will be no REI doorbusters, and no lines outside their stores. And they are promoting a social media campaign, with #OptOutside, to get customers to share what they are doing outside (hopefully not including camping out in front of the local Big Box store to be First In for the big sale).
I always hear people say that this time of year is nuts, hectic, and overall undesirable. But if larger numbers of people didn’t come running as soon as the stores started putting up Door Buster banners, and Christmas Bells started ringing, then there would be no mad rush. The season is about family. We are making it about consumerism. I applaud REI in their efforts to get everyone to #OptOutside. For one, I intend to do a little more holiday shopping at REI.COM this year. But on Black Friday, I’m planning on going hiking with my wife and son, and getting outdoors. I hope everyone takes a little time to breath some fresh air, and reflect this year. Stop the madness, the consumerism, and remember why we celebrate this time of year. Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Ice Cream Day, or National Bake Cookies Day. I don’t think any one of those is founded on the concept of consumerism. They are all meant to celebrate some aspect of our lives.
This year, please, take REI’s advice and #OptOutside. And give them some love when you go online to buy some things for your favorite outdoor enthusiasts. Remember, the stores only do what they do, because it works, and we spend money. If REI’s bottom line hurts, and the stores open on Black Friday get more, then next year it will be even more madness. REI is taking a stand, will you?