Let’s be honest. The mega-stores have touted Christmas jingly-things since early September, and smaller chain stores doing the same since Halloween, with the few remaining almost-classy department stores holding off until the final days before Thanksgiving. We Americans live in a culture of “spending forward”. So quick are retailers to push the next best thing on us before we’ve even had a chance to catch our breath from the last great event or sale, we’re increasingly reactive against the next store doing that same thing to us the next time around.
As it should be. And, precisely why #OptOutside was so enormously accepted.
Retailers have long cast their advertising nets upon consumers in hopes of a catch, perhaps a measly catch, perhaps a pittance catch, any catch at all will do really… just so long as they can move inventory and they need us as their fish, to buy their blasted fish bait, because they bought too much bait a year ago and are now wimpering away the sad state of things because boo hoo, they have too much bait left over, and the next batch of bait is already en route to them right after this next holiday.
It’s an endless cycle of feeding frenzy. “Black Friday” this, “Cyber Monday” that, squeezed between the two of them is “Small Business Saturday”. Who really cares?
I’m a business owner, and I openly emailed my entire company’s customer community to suggest they NOT go out and spend, to NOT succumb to mindless consumerism, and instead, to do what outdoor retail chain REI told their customers — and to OptOutside.
OptOutside is a chance to forego the endless shopping lines, to avoid the vitriolic purchasing abuse of shameless consumers and instead, to get as far away from that crazy consumerism, and to embrace the peaceful outdoors, and to tell your friends and colleagues about it via social media. I count myself among many friends I know to have done just that. I’ve made a point of getting outside and onto the open road or trail, and loved every moment of it.
Yes, it’s been cold. But at least, there’s been no rain. Sometimes, it’s been below freezing. Often times, even at 3pm, it’s well below freezing in the deep recesses of the nearby nature park or the shade of trees… but you know what? I’d take that gracefully any day over navigating the noisy, mindless mayhem of the shopping scene. I never liked it to begin with. And if I had to spend some dollars… it would be at my favorite running store for a new set of shoes or, perhaps, a cold-weather fleece jacket.
This holiday season, I hope you too will choose to #OptOutside and embrace the good stuff that is always there, inaccessible with your car keys but totally accessible with your shoes. Post some pictures, tweet and message me at @runrunrundavid, and I’ll be certain to comment back…