Beathard: Thankful for life without Black Friday

Jill Beathard
Editor’s Note

Most of you are probably aware of REI’s Black Friday campaign, when it closed its stores and encouraged its members to “opt outside” instead of pursuing the mad rush of holiday-season sales.

I loved this idea, and I’m sure instead of losing the outdoor gear company money, it probably really elevated their image in the minds of their active customers.

But here in Aspen/Snowmass, we don’t need a corporate campaign to tell us to skip the biggest consumer holiday of the year and go outside instead. I didn’t do anything crazy adventurous or tag any photos with the #optoutside hashtag, but walking around downtown Aspen, there wasn’t a Black Friday sale in sight. Sure there were a few people laden down with shopping bags, but that just made me smile — after all, it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

The only Black Friday sale I took advantage of was the $199 adult fun pass at the Aspen Recreation Center — that was pretty sweet. Again though, that’s an activity-related Black Friday occurrence.

I don’t want to be too hard on people who do choose to experience the whole Black Friday thing. For two of my best friends in college, Black Friday shopping was what they most looked forward to over Thanksgiving break — I didn’t really get it, but for them it was sort of a family ritual, and isn’t togetherness what it’s really all about anyway? Not to mention in today’s world of overpriced well, everything, who can blame somebody for hitting the sales after the rush subsides? We’re not that much better, anyway — I don’t think the lack of sales in Aspen hints at a lack of consumerism.

But when elsewhere people are getting their exercise running all over each other for something they need less than they need those bumps and bruises they’re going to get in exchange, I’m grateful to be strapping on my ski boots and breathing in the fresh mountain air. I think on this year’s Black Friday, that became particularly poignant when a gunman opened fire on civilians in a city in our own state. I’m grateful for this bubble of a valley where I can live a fulfilling, comfortable, safe and healthy life.

Jill Beathard is the editor of the Snowmass Sun. Tell her what you’re thankful for at


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