Thursday, November 24, 2016

REI tells the world to #OptOutside on Black Friday. But can you? And Small Business Saturday.

Black Friday is, of course, the biggest single shopping day in the United States.

But, there's been an increasing backlash about it in recent years, which has been a bit of a backlash on consumerism, to some degree, in general.  This year, REI, the major outdoor retailer, is opting out for at least the second year in a row, telling its employees to get outside and enjoy things.

REI is a co-opt, so its not quite the same as a big outdoor chain, really. And its always been involved in outdoor related causes.  But fairness dictates that a person note that it does a huge amount of mail and internet business, so at the end of the day, while its giving up sales, it might not be giving up as many as would first appear to be the case.

In contrast, today's local paper was absolutely packed with newspaper advertisements.  Indeed, it appeared that the orderly fellow who normally assembles our paper just flat out gave up.  It has so many advertisement this year that I didn't bother to even really scan them, although I'm not a shopper anyhow.  But I did notice, while moving it aside, that there was a special section on downtown businesses.

And I noticed that more than a few of the ads in the big collection of ads, were from local retailers.

In thinking of that, I suppose they really can't afford the luxury that REI can, or at least not as easily.  REI is the kind of store that when you are going to shop at it, you are going to shop at it. That's the way it is.  If its closed on Friday, you'll wait until Saturday.

But do you do that for a local bookstore?

At least by my observation younger people won't.  If you go to a local store to look for a copy of War and Peace for that Christmas gift, and the local book retailer is closed, well chances are high, if you are a millennial or younger, that you'll go to Amazon.  It never closes.

And that's a problem.

If you are a store owner, you'd  probably like Friday off.  Who wouldn't?  But you'd like to stay in business too.

Saturday of this week, by the way, is Small Business Saturday, that day in recent years that has been dedicated to small local businesses, many of which are going to be open tomorrow on Black Friday as well.

Well, chances are that I'm not going to be shopping on either day.  But that's me.

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