This year, instead of waking up at the crack of dawn to try to get a cheap TV on Black Friday, some states are encouraging their residents to take a walk outside and enjoy the outdoors. Washington, Oregon, California, Missouri, and Minnesota are offering free admission (or free camping, in Missouri's case) to state parks on Friday.
This is the latest of Black Friday "backlash" against the tradition of stores opening their doors early and having sales to kick off the Christmas season. Oregon's Parks and Recreation Department alluded to outdoor retailer REI's decision to stay closed on Black Friday as part of the reason why they are also encouraging Oregonians to get outside the day after Thanksgiving.
The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department is waiving day parking fees on Friday, Nov. 27, at all 26 state parks that charge one. Normally, the day-use parking fee at those parks is $5.
Without naming the retailer, the department cited REI's announcement to close on Black Friday as a key factor in the decision. The company is paying its employees to take the day off while urging shoppers to spend the day outside.
"Rain or shine, windy or not, we're thankful Oregon's outdoors are a constant source of joy," department director Lisa Sumption in a statement. "Take a break, get out, and enjoy some fresh air."
I'm kind of liking this alternative to Black Friday shopping that's being thrown around. As I'm not the biggest fan of crowds, waking up early, or the thought of fighting with someone over an iPad, I've never gone out on Black Friday and much prefer Cyber Monday and shopping online. I applaud businesses for doing what they feel is best for their employees in regards on when to open for business for Christmas shopping. I think states offering free admission to parks is admirable, and is a fun idea to get people outside.