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REI to Close Doors on Black Friday: 'We're Going Outside'

by Devin Coldewey /  / Updated 

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Bad news for anyone who was hoping to get some crazy savings on Black Friday at REI -- the outdoor gear shop will be shutting its doors instead of participating in the famous post-Thanksgiving retail fest.

Of course, that's good news for the company's 12,000 employees, who will be getting a paid day off that REI hopes will be spent somewhere else: "We're going outside," the website states simply. Perhaps you should join them.

"It was a big decision," REI president Jerry Stritzke told NBC's Nightly News. "It's an important day for us as well."

Related: Black Friday Isn't Dead! It's Just Evolving with Shoppers

Despite declining overall participation by retailers, Black Friday is still among the biggest shopping days of the year for REI and others.

"I don't begrudge retailers trying to make a living in that timeframe," he said, "but we're paying all our employees to go outside and enjoy the day after Thanksgiving with their family."

REI

Related: Black Friday in U.S. Isn't What It Used to Be, But Overseas...

In a press release, Stritzke said that "Black Friday has gotten out of hand." That's putting it mildly: the melees that occur during sales at participating stores over new TVs and toys can be brutal, and occasionally even fatal. Customers have fought each other, trampled one another, and generally behaved badly, prompting police and security presence and sale extensions by stores to prevent overcrowding. Perhaps it would be nicer to go for a hike instead, and buy that TV online on Cyber Monday.

REI is hoping members and others will congregate online under the #OptOutside hashtag, so keep an eye out for it if you're looking for others who have decided to take a break from the Black Friday madness.

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