Today, We Opt Outside
The #OptOutside movement is a way for people to share their values and spark new traditions.
In 2015, REI launched #OptOutside as a way to do right by its employees, choosing to close its doors on one of the biggest retail days of the year and pay folks to spend time outside. By shifting the focus away from buying things and on to the outdoors, REI started a movement. In the last few years, the company has begun encouraging people to get out and pick up trash, turning would-be shoppers into stewards of the land. To date, more than 700 organizations and 7 million people have chosen to #OptOutside instead of fighting it out in the aisles and we’re proud to be one of them.
Since we’re a remote office, all across the country Camber Outdoors employees are participating in cleanups with partner organizations like Latino Outdoors and Native Women’s Wilderness. We’ve all chosen to spend the day after Thanksgiving, Black Friday, communing with nature, far away from the hordes of shoppers. After all, “Black Friday” isn’t a holiday at all but a term that was co-opted to sell more stuff.
The first instance of the term Black Friday was actually in reference to the U.S. gold market crash on September 24, 1869. The Thanksgiving shopping-related Black Friday, however, has little to do with the stock market, stores being “in the red” or “in the black,” or, as one particularly ugly myth has it, slavery. Black Friday as we know it today originated in Philadelphia in the 1950s, when an influx of shoppers and tourists would advance on the city after Thanksgiving and ahead of the Army-Navy football game on Saturday.
By 1961, “Black Friday” was a thing, and due to its negative connotations, business owners even tried to change the term to “Big Friday.” Although they weren’t successful, the term really didn’t catch on until the ‘80s when savvy shop owners thought to re-brand it and capitalize on the whole thing. According to the National Retail Federation, more than 164 million consumers plan to shop over the five-days from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday. It’s a big money-making day for retailers and before REI launched it in 2015, no other large retailer had been shut on Thanksgiving and Black Friday before.
Now in its fifth year, #OptOutside isn’t just about Black Friday. It’s morphed into an environmentalist mindset, a way to share our values and get people on board with a new tradition. One in which we choose a different path than the status quo and stand in solidarity with our planet.
Through this post (sponsored by REI), we hope that you’ll join us in creating sustainable change over the course of our lives.