With a busy week behind you and the weekend within reach, there’s no shame in taking things a bit easy on Friday afternoon. With this in mind, every Friday TriplePundit will give you a fun, easy read on a topic you care about. So, take a break from those endless email threads and spend five minutes catching up on the latest trends in sustainability and business.
Thanksgiving is right around the corner in the U.S., which means turkey, football and -- for many -- a whole helluva lot of shopping.
Over the past few years, we've noticed a pretty disturbing trend -- retailers are opening earlier and earlier on Thanksgiving, in an attempt to lure shoppers from their tryptophan-induced comas with the promise of rock-bottom deals. We Americans have been trampling each other to death on Black Friday for decades, but, suddenly, even that is no longer enough for many retailers.
But amidst the cringe-worthy advertisements that stores will open One hour earlier this year! is a trend that's actually worth our attention: A growing number of forward-thinking companies are taking a stand against the overconsumption that has long held American Thanksgiving hostage. Read on for the details.
Instead of coming to work the day after Thanksgiving, the co-op is paying its 12,000 employees so they can do what they love most -- be outside. And along with its employees, REI is inviting the nation to join in by choosing to #OptOutside to reconnect with family and friends this Thanksgiving holiday.
REI's bold move against overconsumption proved to be a hit with customers and the media. Users quickly began to use the hashtag on social media, praising the company for its decision and sharing ideas for outdoor places to visit instead of standing in line at the mall. REI's move even inspired this roundup. Thanks, guys!
Announcing that it would #OptOutside, and fully crediting REI for the inspiration, Outdoor Research announced it would close its offices, distribution center, and Seattle factory and retail store the day after Thanksgiving.
The company also launched an Instagram campaign to raise money for the adaptive sports nonprofit Paradox Sports. For three days -— Black Friday and the Saturday and Sunday after -— users are invited to tag Instagram photos of their outdoor adventures with #OptOutside and #OutdoorResearch. For every photo, Outdoor Research will donate $10 to Paradox Sports -- up to $5,000.
"We couldn’t agree more #REI – outside does make our lives better! High fives to you and your team for encouraging everyone to get outside on Black Friday," Clif Bar wrote on Facebook. "At Clif Bar & Co. we are excited to take advantage of our day off to pursue our own adventures. Don’t log on and look for us online – we’ll be out running, hiking, swimming, climbing, riding and charging the outdoors in our own way. See you out there! #optoutside"
While Clif Bar doesn't have retail locations, its move to give all of its employees the day off -- even if it means going dark on social media -- definitely deserves a pat on the back.
REI, for its part, seems stoked to have inspired this new take on Black Friday:
— Gregory Packs (@GregoryPacks) October 28, 2015
Honored to see other brands like @ORGEAR, @ClifBar, @GregoryPacks standing with us to #OptOutside this Black Friday! pic.twitter.com/3GQdiecenK — REI (@REI) October 29, 2015
With a press release reading, "GameStop Takes a Stand!," the company said all of its brick-and-mortar stores will remain closed on Thanksgiving. This includes GameStop locations, as well as stores for its other brands: Spring Mobile, Simply Mac and Cricket Wireless.
“We believe strongly that our customers and associates should have the opportunity to spend the Thanksgiving holiday relaxing with family and friends, and not worrying with the stress of where to find the best shopping deals," Mike Buskey, executive vice president and president of U.S. stores, said in a statement. "We know this is in stark contrast to what many other retailers are doing, but we are taking a stance to protect family time during this important holiday."
“H&M would like to show our appreciation to our employees for their hard work year round, so in the tradition of Thanksgiving, H&M will close our U.S. stores on Thanksgiving Day, allowing our store teams to enjoy this time with their families and friends,” Daniel Kulle, president of H&M North America, said in a statement, as reported by the Huffington Post.
The company has also stayed closed on Thanksgiving for the past two years to give employees more time with their families, and it will do the same this year.
“Over the years, our tradition has been to be closed on Thanksgiving and to unveil our holiday trim the following morning,” the company told ThinkProgress. Well, whatever works!
“We want our customers and associates to enjoy Thanksgiving their own way,” Demos Parneros, president, North American stores and online, said in a statement. The company will offer Thanksgiving discounts on its website in lieu of opening its retail locations.
Image credit: Flickr/Iain Farrell
Looking to keep track of which companies are and aren't opening on Thanksgiving and Black Friday? BestBlackFriday.com is keeping an ongoing list.
Mary Mazzoni is the senior editor of TriplePundit. She is also the co-host of 3BL Forum: Brands Taking Stands LIVE! and the producer of 3p’s sponsored editorial series. She is based in Philadelphia and loves to travel, spend time outdoors and experiment with vegetarian recipes in the kitchen. Along with TriplePundit, her recent work can be found in Conscious Company and VICE’s Motherboard.