Saturday, October 31, 2015


Why, one should ask, is the day after Thanksgiving called  “Black Friday”? 

Because big discounts on that day increase profitability for retailers. Since about 2000 A.D., Black Friday has been regarded as the opening day of shopping for the Christmas season.

Interest is now growing to extend Black Friday backwards to Grey Thanksgiving. A mother of young children with whom I discussed this groaned, "Oh no! Not that." But it's a fact. Look for details in this link

Now, finally, comes A PUSHBACK!, not from shoppers, not from turkeys, but from within the retail sector itself. The large retailer, REI, has announced a program named #OptOutdoors. They’ll close their retail outlets and offices on the day after Thanksgiving. Obviously, REI is taking the commercial risk of missing sales they might have had they opened on Black Friday.  

Values and ethics from religion can add some perspective. Jews, Christians and Muslims should be able to see #OptOutdoors as a desirable Sabbath of sorts. People might recall the fifth of the ten commandments given by God to Moses for the people. “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.”  (Text in the public domain via 

A Wikipedia article on "Sabbath" records other sacred and even secular traditions that promote a day of rest from work (and from shopping buying and selling.)

As an ethicist, I see the #OptOutside campaign as a move toward a one-day civil sabbath in America, a day of restful reflection on life’s meaning. If that develops over time, it will be a cause for gladness throughout the land.  

As an REI account holder and member going back many years, I’m delighted for see funds that might otherwise come to me as a member dividend go instead to support REI employees on a day of R and R.

What can you do to support the cause #OptOutside cause?

1, Buy your Christmas or Chanuka gifts when appropriate, whether before or after but not on Black Friday. Make less black gold for retailers on that day.

2, Applaud REI for this noble new initiative in your heart, mind, and communications with others (for example, share this posting with your friends.).
3, As an employer if you are one, help make #OptOutside a nationwide movement in the U.S. and elsewhere. Will you give Friday, November 27, to your employees as a day for family activity out of doors?

4, Family members: plan an activity out of doors with your family or friends for Friday, November 27. Make it a reflective, even a spiritual, time as well as recreational break.

5. Comment below: what are your thoughts on #OptOutside? What will you do on November 27, 2015?

Let your imagination go wild as you consider #OptOutside. Do some kind of a family thing out of doors on November 27. I applaud REI for #OptOutdoors. 


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