REI wins the internet today

Using a play that feels vaguely reminiscent of the Patagonia “Don’t buy this shirt” campaign, REI announced yesterday that they will be closed for Black Friday and have effectively won the internet for the day.  A quick Googling of ‘REI Black Friday’ shows that they are receiving a ton of press from outlets that have likely never mentioned them in the past – CNN, USA Today, Forbes, Time, etc. etc.  Full copy of the email they sent out is below.  While I can certainly appreciate the gesture (even if I really think it’s unauthentic and an obvious move for press) it made me realize that the management of REI are the last remaining folks that actually believe that REI still employees folks that spend time outdoors/know anything about outdoor gear anymore.

This Black Friday the co-op is doing something different. We’re closing all 143 of our stores. Instead of reporting to work, we’re paying our employees to do what we love most—be outside.

We want you to be the first to hear—not just what we’re doing, but why.

We’re passionate about bringing you great gear, but we’re even more passionate about the experiences it unlocks for all of us. Perhaps John Muir said it best back in 1901: “thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home.”

We think Black Friday is the perfect day to remind people of this essential truth.

And don’t worry, you’ll still enjoy great deals on great gear all holiday season long. But on this one day, we’re going to #OptOutside and we want you to join us.

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