#OptOutside with REI

I grew up in the stores of REI. For those of you that have never heard of this company, it sells outdoor gear. Anything from camping tents to rock climbing gear to snowboards and everything in between, it is a great place for people that love the outdoors.

Even better than the constantly changing gear and member sales is that REI is a member owned co-op. You buy a lifetime membership, and forever after you are a member, which means that you begin to receive dividends each March and can access members-only sales. The dividends equal 10% of your purchases from the previous year. It is a system that encourages you to come back later and buy something else, find another reason to head outside.

Yet, one reason that I respect the company as a company is #OptOutside. Today, on Black Friday, America’s day to trample people to death and fight over consumerism, materialism, and cheap deals, REI did something different. They could have made a lot of money on sales today. Rather, they closed every single store, gave every single employee the day off, and encouraged millions of other people to celebrate Nature instead of the worst aspects of humanity and capitalism.

I find it easier to travel and head outdoors the weekend before Thanksgiving (and much cheaper), so I went to Yosemite last weekend. However, instead of shopping, I will be enjoying the company of family and friends today.

And I will be thankful for companies like REI that focus more on a life well-lived than on mere profits.

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