REI promotes #OptOutside campaign

Peyton Daley, Arts & Life Editor

While most stores hold massive sales on Black Friday, REI chose to close their doors on November 29. 

Since 2015, REI has lead the world-wide campaign #OptOutside. This movement originally started as a way to challenge both customers and employees to choose to enjoy the outdoors rather than fighting for deals inside on Black Friday. Over 143 REI stores were shut down, and employees were given the day off and urged to spend time with their families and friends in nature. Since then, the movement has grown tremendously. 

This year, REI partnered up with outdoors educational group Leave No Trace and United by Blue, a clothing brand dedicated to fundraising for the removal of trash from the ocean. Together they are leading “Opt to Act,” a new segment of the #OptOutside campaign. 

In this year’s new campaign, REI and their partners hosted over 100 cleanup events across the country. On November 23, a cleanup was hosted in San Francisco. Participants were encouraged to post on social media using #OptOutside to spread the word of the movement. 

“When things are really expensive, for some people Black Friday shopping can be a very important, but if you’re not looking to buy something really expensive, then I feel like #OptOutside is a good opportunity,” said sophomore Mara Riitters. 

“Opt to Act” is about more than just pushing customers to choose not to participate in Black Friday. It encourages them to take action against global climate change all year long. The REI website now has a downloadable checklist of small actions that everyone can take to reduce waste as well as an option for weekly calendar notifications with reminders of simple ways to help the climate. 

REI is working to reduce the company’s waste and rethink retail. This year, the company has expanded their rental and used gear sales. Members can return their gently used products in exchange for an REI gift card. The company plans to operate as zero-waste by the end of 2020. 

The #OptOutside campaign is an easy way to take action against climate change or simply to enjoy the beauty of nature by choosing to go outdoors instead of participating in Black Friday shopping.