Today is the day after Thanksgiving and is known as Black Friday here in the United States. Black Friday has been regarded as the beginning of America's Christmas shopping season. And it’s a day where many stores offer highly promoted sales and open very early, such as at midnight, or may even start their sales at some time on Thanksgiving.
And the day has been known for customers waiting in long lines for stores to open, hoping to get the best deals, and even a time where there’s a lot of pushing and shoving, especially if there is a limited number of a sale item, like a flat screen TV. It’s definitely not a day where people seem grateful for what they already have. In fact there’s a pretty funny, but true quote I’ve seen going around that says: Black Friday - because only in America people trample others for sales exactly one day after being thankful for what they already have. It’s funny, but it’s true.
Now a big retailer that’s taken a stand against Black Friday is REI. Five years ago, REI's chief customer officer Ben Steele joined colleagues at a table, brainstorming Black Friday campaign ideas, when a novel idea arose: What if they just closed up shop altogether?
As Steele put it, "People thought we were crazy and retailers were saying, 'Why the heck would you give up one of the busiest shopping days of the year?' To be really transparent, we didn't know if it would work. We really focused on our employees."
Ultimately the risk paid off, and the REI team found that much to their surprise, the massive anti-shopping effort seemed to resonate for both consumers and retail workers who had grown weary of Black Friday. What had initially been intended as a "galvanizing moment" for REI employees had evolved into a larger cultural movement, Steele said.
REI uses the hashtag OptOutside, encouraging people to Forego long lines and big box department stores on Black Friday—and head outdoors instead.
I want to encourage you to do the same - head outside today and get out into nature. Use it as a time to get some peace and quiet. A time to spend with the people you love. And a time to really reflect and think about all that you have and all that you’re grateful for.
I’m Scott Colby with Say It With Gratitude and this has been your Daily Gratitude Minute. Cheers.