Best bargain in town?
Black Friday madness was nowhere to be found at Mount Pisgah Arboretum on Friday morning as droves of people opted to spend their day outside in sunny, near 60-degree weather in lieu of heading to local malls and stores to shop.
The Friday that immediately follows Thanksgiving typically is one of the busiest and most profitable days of year for many local and national stores and their brands, some of which offer big sales on nearly everything they sell. Many stores even open on Thanksgiving afternoon in an effort to draw more customers, some of whom have dubbed the shopping trip part of their holiday traditions.
But for others, the day after Thanksgiving is for exploring the outdoors, and those who chose to steer clear of the mall and other shopping centers Friday seemed to be happy with their decision to do so.
Eleven-month-old Acadia Dula, who was one of the many young children up at the summit of Mount Pisgah on Friday, was thrilled to have her hands in the dirt.
As the baby’s tiny handfuls of mud and dirt inevitably made their way to Acadia’s mouth, she smiled at her parents, Stephen and Mariah Dula, who seemed content to let her play. “This is kind of our thing now,” Mariah Dula said. “Her first hike was up Spencer Butte when she was 4 weeks old.”
Stephen and Mariah Dula agreed that spending time outside with their family was more important to them than shopping. “I’m not really concerned about saving 20 percent,” Stephen Dula said. “There are far better things to do with a day off.”
About 30 people had gathered at the top of Mount Pisgah around noon Friday. Mostly clear skies allowed hikers to sit at the top for a while and enjoy the sunshine. Some hiked with friends while others had their children, siblings and parents along for the walk.
Best friends and hiking partners Pam Caples, Diane Schechter and Dorothy van Winkle said that shopping was low on their list of priorities Friday. “I abhor the concept,” van Winkle said about Black Friday shopping. “I won’t go into a single store on Black Friday, not even to buy coffee. You’ve got to plan ahead!”
Schechter, who brought her border collie Rio along for the hike, said she usually just shops when she needs to.
“I haven’t done Black Friday shopping in years,” she said. “The thing that bothers me about it is that it cuts into important family time.”
The three women have been friends for more than 35 years and said that they hike together as often as possible. “We hike year-round,” van Winkle said. “But today it was nice to do it in the sun.”
Dozens of cars were parked at the arboretum Friday afternoon as the clouds continued to clear and people could be seen wearing shorts and T-shirts.
Nicole Butler and Katie Rutherford, who teach at Irving Elementary School in the Bethel School District, said they were eager to get some exercise after Thursday’s Thanksgiving feast.
“We needed some exercise, and it’s beautiful outside today,” Butler said. “Plus, shopping on Black Friday is pointless and not worth the stress. I’d rather spend the day with my family and relax.”
REI, a Seattle-based outdoor retailer, agrees with Butler and encouraged its employees to get outside on Friday.
For the third consecutive year, about 12,000 REI employees across the country got a paid day off Friday as the outdoor retailer participated in its #optoutside campaign, a Twitter hashtag coined by REI to encourage people to play outside on Black Friday.
A quick Twitter search for the hashtag on Friday afternoon showed that thousands of others across the nation had joined in the movement to skip the mall and head outside.
Follow Alisha Roemeling on Twitter @alisharoemeling. Email email@example.com .