A Trend I can Believe In: REI stores to Stay Closed Black Friday

vrDrew

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Jan 31, 2010
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REI earned some respect from me by announcing that they would give their employees a paid holiday, and keep both their online and retail stores closed on "Black Friday" - traditionally one of the biggest shopping days of the year.

Instead, REI is encouraging both its customers and employees to "opt outside" - IOW, go and enjoy one of many recreational pursuits in the beautiful country we inhabit.

In my opinion, retail operates in the USA have slowly encroached too far into the lives of store employees, most of whom are relatively poorly paid, and lack decent benefits - while expecting them to work nights, weekends, and public holidays. So I salute REI for making a stand, one that will allow their staff to spend the Thanksgiving holiday with their families. Or spend it rock climbing or trail running - as they see fit.

REI will probably lose some sales by this. But the generally positive exposure it has received will probably encourage some people to stop by their stores in the days leading up to the holiday.
 

iphonedude2008

macrumors 65816
Nov 7, 2009
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Irvine, CA
I agree. I have much more respect for REI. This is good for their employees and their brand image. Black Friday has gotten out of control to the point where its turned into Black Week or Two Before Friday
 

Tomorrow

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Mar 2, 2008
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Always a day away
REI is not a store I would shop regardless of when they are or aren't open. Closing a restaurant or retail store on Black Friday seems to me right up there with shooting yourself in the foot, but to each his own, I suppose.
 

yg17

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Aug 1, 2004
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St. Louis, MO
REI is not a store I would shop regardless of when they are or aren't open. Closing a restaurant or retail store on Black Friday seems to me right up there with shooting yourself in the foot, but to each his own, I suppose.
I need a new winter jacket. REI will be the first place I look, I would not have thought of even shopping there until now.
 

citizenzen

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Mar 22, 2010
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I posted about this here… http://forums.macrumors.com/threads/predictions-for-black-friday.1932594/

I think it is an interesting move by REI. I'm not so much against Black Friday, however, the move to opening up on Thanksgiving is a bad one.
But according to the article, REI isn't opening on Thanksgiving ...
But this year, REI's 12,000 full and part-time workers will not only have Thanksgiving Day off, they will have Black Friday off with pay.
 

LIVEFRMNYC

macrumors 604
Oct 27, 2009
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Great advertisement. I never heard of REI until now. I question the TRUE intentions. Black Friday isn't what it used to be. It's more like Black Week nowadays, so REI probably realized, they are not going to lose much sales but most likely gain from this PR stunt.
 

hulugu

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Aug 13, 2003
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Hard to overlook the fact that this is sort of self-serving: "instead of shopping, go play outside – btw, we sell lots of stuff that you need when you go play outside."
I agree, it's a fabulous bit of marketing for REI. However, it's also got a message about the treatment of workers while promoting the outdoors that I can't help but like. Of course, I'm not affected by changes in Black Friday sales, because I won't go anywhere near a mall or outlet where those sales have such a hold. Instead, I shop locally and sweep up deals on Cyber Monday from the comfort of my couch.
 

LIVEFRMNYC

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Oct 27, 2009
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Of course, I'm not affected by changes in Black Friday sales, because I won't go anywhere near a mall or outlet where those sales have such a hold. Instead, I shop locally and sweep up deals on Cyber Monday from the comfort of my couch.
I've done my shopping already. After seeing last year's lackluster deals on both Black Friday and Cyber Monday, I decided not to wait for any deals that will be too few or sold out instantly.
 

BoxerGT2.5

macrumors 68000
Jun 4, 2008
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$100 says their sales numbers on Black Friday aren't that great so they figured they'd use closing their stores as a PR stunt.
 

Thomas Veil

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Feb 14, 2004
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I wondered how REI was able to do this without stockholders screaming bloody murder...but then I see it's a co-op. Good for them.

I'm old enough to remember when stores weren't open at all on Sunday, and most were open in the evenings only on Mondays and Thursdays.
 

vrDrew

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Jan 31, 2010
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Midlife, Midwest
$100 says their sales numbers on Black Friday aren't that great so they figured they'd use closing their stores as a PR stunt.
No. According to an interview I heard yesterday, their CEO said Black Friday was one of their top ten sales days of the year.

However, they may not be be taking such a huge hit to revenues and profits by skipping the Black Friday thing. Many stores pump their sales by offering big discounts - but doing so eats into margins, which is really what makes a store successful. Selling a guy something for 40% off that he would have bought anyway really is cutting your own throat.

I like a good deal as much as anybody. But not if it comes at the expense of treating store employees like dirt. As consumers we rely on them to offer us good service; and knowledgeable sales advice and recommendations, especially on technical gear such as REI sells. Getting a recommendation on say, a pair of hiking boots or a rain shell, from an employee who has actually used them in the real world - is worth a great deal to me.

There is no doubt REI is getting some PR mileage out of this. But it doesn't strike me as an "empty" gesture. Its more of a sincere effort on their part to a) treat their employees well and b) remind people its a lot more fun to go enjoy doing outdoor activities than spend your free time wandering around shopping malls. And if you need to pick up some gear to participate in your outdoor activities.... well....
 
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