The Store That Closes on Black Friday

Thomas Coder, Staff Writer

Black Friday is one of the biggest and most well-known consumer shopping days of the year, as some imaginable universal pact is formed amongst all competitors in an industry to discount the prices for their products fairly heavily. Because of this, it would make sense for a company to, in fact, lower their prices and stay open for longer hours to draw in even more consumers. REI, however, an outdoor recreation store, closes on Black Friday, and this has been a tradition held for the past five years by them. Their reasons revolve around both ethical and financial motivations, simply summed up in a quote by their CEO Jerry Stritzke, who said: “You don’t win in the long-term by pushing … what I call rampant consumerism.” Essentially, the business of REI is structured so that the company is not reliant on certain periods of the year to bring about heightened profits. Stritzke further explains that retailers fail on this model because they are so reliant on specific periods of time. The question that may arise is wouldn’t it be possible to keep a consistent profit time and simply spike it up on Black Friday. Stritzke explains that closing on Black Friday is more of a decision based on the company’s principles, as Black Friday could provide employees with a false illusion of safety and they may not work as hard in the weeks leading up to it. As far as the ethical side goes, REI says that it is for the best interest of their employees to close on Black Friday. Black Friday is notorious for extremely rude interactions between customers and employees, usually the customer instigating. Nonetheless, REI seeks to avoid these harsh encounters on their grounds, and the most effective way of doing so is to close on the day of the year where these encounters are the most imminent. REI still does, however, seek to take advantage of this sales week. They are, in a sense, pioneers of an online consumer subculture specifically on the Black Friday-Cyber Monday period. Essentially, they seem to lead a movement that has caused less attraction to Black Friday shopping and more attraction to getting the same sales online.