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My first thought was to figure out the strategy to improve earnings here. It wasn't until a few minutes later that it hit me, there isn't one (gasp).

And then it occurred to me that, isn't it weird that we live in a world where this is almost unthinkable? Running a business like it's just something you want to do? Just...weird.

I'm a card-carrying proud REI member, I support not only this but almost everything they stand for, and often times find myself happily paying more to shop there because I love the brand so much.

But... This is a fantastic PR play, which strategically could help earnings overall. Not saying a good PR play can't be mutually beneficial for employees and the company, but if they weren't trying to get attention for it, they could have just sent out a boring memo company-wide instead of setting up a big campaign (I still think a memo would get attention, but that's besides the point).

This isn't me being cynical, I think REI does some fantastic things as a company and for the greater good of preserving the outdoors as well as encouraging people to explore, but it could certainly be a brilliant part of their marketing strategy to grow business and customer loyalty.

One of the benefits of not being a publicly traded company.

My first reaction was that it seemed kind of cheesy, but it's a cool way to get some good PR. In the end it's a creative way to reinforce their image as a cool outdoorsy company and takes employees out of the line of fire for Black Friday. Wins all around I guess.

@existentialcoms has a pretty relevant tweet to this perspective six hours ago:

I don't know what the meaning of life is, but if it isn't "working hard so the shareholders can make more money", then we are in trouble.

Well, the "shareholders" here include employees and customers. From that perspective, some of the shareholders are gaining something from getting a paid day off (arguably even the customers are gaining from having happy retails workers to help them in-store).

It's possible that their stores are deserted on black fridays because everyone is at electronic stores/malls/etc (and it's late Nov, which might be a low point during the year anyway)... so they operate at a loss on that day and could save money by closing.

Same reason stores close at night.. not enough customers to justify running 24 hours.

REI's are in strip malls in Chicago. I think this is a corporate PR campaign and not the fact that they couldn't get customers.

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