Maybe you noticed that I went MIA last week, maybe you didn’t? I’ll chalk my absence up to time spent soul-searching. Much of what I found wasn’t pretty, so I’ll refrain from bringing you down in the rabbit hole with me. Instead, we’ll focus on the fact that I am here this week and ready to give you this month’s First Friday Find! It’s a simple one, but one that is close to my heart. Today’s First Friday Find: #OptOutside is shared more to offer my support for the movement than to offer some breakthrough discovery.
Perhaps you have already heard about #OptOutside? It is REI’s tagline/hashtag indicating that their stores will be closed on Black Friday, and that their employees will receive paid time off. Let that sink in. This action is bigger than it seems. Black Friday has practically become its own holiday, much to my disappointment as noted in One Holiday at a Time. Imagine a store that sells flowers closing the day before Valentine’s Day. That is a hard hit to their profits. Maybe this won’t be the case for REI. They very well may receive record profits based on increased purchases made either before or after Black Friday, as a sign of consumer support for the movement. And if they do, all the better. We reward our own children with positive reinforcement, why not do the same for retailers?
My love for this movement is not motivated solely by my disinterest, and partial disdain, for Black Friday, but rather what they are promoting in place of shopping. The outdoors in place of door-buster prices is pretty cool. I get it, they’re an outdoor company, of course that would be what they would promote. My thing is that this movement is a nod to the passion that sparked the inspiration for such a store in the first place. This may sound cheesy, and perhaps it’s the part of me that has blossomed since living in Oregon, but it’s as though the store is willing to put aside materialism and give a shout out to wholesome activity, nature, and their (and our) roots. Pun intended.
It’s funny, people who know I am a devout member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have asked me, “What if you’re wrong about your religion?” If I’m wrong, I will live out a life filled with serving others, keeping my body pure both physically and morally, and striving to be the best person I can be each and everyday. If I’m wrong, I’m still right with myself. That’s how I feel about REI’s movement, I guess. If it’s all for added publicity, so be it. Either way, I know REI employees are spending time with their loved ones, while being paid, on the day after Thanksgiving, and I am satisfied knowing that at least one company is saying no to the disheartening sense of materialism that surrounds Black Friday.
I’ve gone off on a bit of a rant here about First Friday Find: #OptOutside, but I failed to share the portion of this movement that is the real find of the month. If you go to the Explore the Outdoors page on REI’s #OptOutside website, you can put in your Zip Code and it will give you suggestions of trails to visit in your area. Luckily, I live in a city known for its outdoor activities, so I lack for nothing in the way of #OptOutside opportunities. However, if you haven’t yet, I suggest you find ways to #OptOutside, not just on Black Friday, but whenever possible. We live in such a beautiful world. I’ve yet to see anything purchasable be more magnificent than God’s creations.