REI is first retailer to close on Black Friday

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You’ve heard of retailers opening on Thanksgiving and the backlash that resulted with other stores vowing to shutter their stores for Turkey Day. But have you ever heard of a store that intentionally closes on the most profitable day of the entire year — Black Friday?

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REI is a trailblazer

REI, the sporting goods co-op beloved by outdoor enthusiasts, has announced it will close its doors on Black Friday and give all of its 12,000 employees the day off with pay!

‘For 76 years we’ve been dedicated to getting people outside. On 11/27 the co-op is closing all 143 stores so our employees can do just that,’ reads a message on the store’s site. ‘We hope to see you and all 5.5 million of our members out there too.’ There’s even a cute hashtag — #OptOutside — associated with the surprising move.

Meanwhile, Staples and Game Stop are the latest retailers to say they’re going to close shop on Thanksgiving so their employees can enjoy some family time. They join a shortlist of retailers that include Costco, Burlington Coat Factory and Home Depot who will also give their employees the holiday off.

Last year, I upset many of my listeners and readers when I went shopping on Thanksgiving evening. There are many who feel that it is unfair of stores to ask employees to come in and leave their families on Thanksgiving Day, and there were some protests and boycotts of stores who were open on the holiday itself. I also heard from many who did shop and got some great bargains, as well as from several store workers who insisted they were grateful for the extra holiday pay and went in voluntarily.

My thing is I’m not going to tell you what to do or when/where to shop. I think that is up to you. But REI gives us some real food for thought with their unprecedented move on Black Friday!

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