REI chose to opt out of Black Friday in what I think is a genius form of marketing for an outdoor supply store. I think in the short term it was questionable to be closed on what would be a money making day, but long term they are helping their brand. I think the business they are in put them in a special place to be able to #optoutside since their products are meant for outdoors to begin with. They probably aren't hurting financially from missing it either.
Lately, Facebook has been a savage place in regards to social justice and the divide amongst people I'm friends with. I've been doing my best to stay away because the amount of BS causes and preaching has reached an all time high recently. One issue I've noticed (and maybe REI kind of kicked it off) is how people (mostly Christians) are telling everyone to stay inside on Black Friday and abstain from the ravenous consumer culture in America.
We've all heard the stories of people getting trampled or shot or beat up so someone could save money on a TV, and that's awful. It's easy to see Black Friday as evil when there are a lot of greedy people who value money more than people.
I think Black Friday can be good. (If you have the patience) It can also be a fun time. Here's why:
1. I've worked in retail. Extreme couponers and penny pinchers treat people like garbage for a deal on the other 364 days a year as well. Black Friday isn't bad, the people who see saving money as the ultimate godliness are the ones that make Black Friday bad. I would also say that they are the minority of Black Friday shoppers.
2. Most of the people I know aren't shopping for themselves on Black Friday. It's a great time to buy nice gifts for other people as well. Black Friday saves you money so you can MAXIMIZE your giving.
3. If you're like me and not rich, you have trouble justifying buying clothes for the rest of the year. On Black Friday, I can afford a new pair of jeans or shoes without feeling bad about it.
4. It's a fun way to hang out with friends. Going out at midnight into utter chaos and people watching is pretty fun. Those are the situations where fun stories are born.
5. It's easy to feel like buying things is bad. (especially if you've grown up in a Christian environment), unless you're buying too much or getting into tons of debt. Anything can be bad without self-control. Buying a new TV won't send you to hell, you're allowed to do fun things sometimes. You just have to know yourself and if it will do you either bad or good to bring whatever new object into your life.
6. It's also good for businesses. You like businesses, they get your through your day. You can't get your coffee or your new camera without them. Spending is good for the economy.
Black Friday brings out the crazies, but that doesn't make the day "bad" or sinful to participate in. REI used it as an incredible marketing move for it's brand, but if they thought they would make more money or get more awareness on Black Friday they would have probably participated. They are a business too, and they want to be benefitted in the end.
Black Friday is also becoming obsolete with the internet. I think there's less and less reason to wait in a physical line for deals as time goes on. I think it's more of a tradition than a necessity as it is now.
It's capitalism, man.