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Saying No To The Sales, Some Skip Shopping On Black Friday

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

We've all seen the images, lines snaking around department stores before dawn. For the next few minutes, let's look at some other ways people decided to spend Black Friday. If you showed up at REI outdoor stores this morning, the doors stayed locked. Opt outside, they called it.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Thanks for calling REI Denver Flagship. REI will be closed on Thursday, November 26 and Friday, November 27. We're choosing to opt outside and invite you to join us.

SHAPIRO: It turns out lots of people already had plans to go outside. At the Chinatown Metro stop in Los Angeles, about 80 people showed up on this crisp morning for an urban walking tour.

DAN KOEPPEL: Tusey right here has a map. If you're - if you see him, it means you're not lost.

SHAPIRO: It's led by Dan Koeppel, a writer who's been organizing walking tours of Los Angeles for years now. He started this Black Friday walk about five years ago. He says people are tired of shopping, so he makes a point for the walking tour to be completely commerce free.

KOEPPEL: They may be disappointed when they - I tell them we don't even stop anywhere to buy lunch. And if they didn't bring their lunch, they're totally going to be hungry.

SHAPIRO: It's Liz Dwyer's first time at the Black Friday walk. She's with her 12-year-old son, Tusey who says this is way better than what they did last year.

TUSEY: Staying home, watching TV, sleeping in.

LIZ DWYER: Yeah, that's pretty much it, yeah. I cooked a ton last year. And we had so many leftovers. And I think we, like, basically, like, lazed around watching Netflix and eating leftovers.

SHAPIRO: Another walker, Gabrielle Mandola, is glad things like this are popping up on Black Friday.

GABRIELLE MANDOLA: I'd rather do this than go shopping. I've never gone shopping, not the day after Thanksgiving, so I'm not going to start now (laughter).

KOEPPEL: So we're going to get going. Follow me.

SHAPIRO: Up north in Minnesota, it's the kind of day that would send people from Southern California running indoors.

DAVE FELLESON: Oh, it's kind of chilly. We had some light snow yesterday, about an inch or two of snow. Other than that it's pretty nice out. It's very sunny.

SHAPIRO: Dave Felleson is the assistant manager at Fort Snelling State Park on the banks of the Minnesota River in St. Paul. Even though it's only 25 degrees out, hundreds of people came to the park today.

FELLESON: Almost everybody's out hiking and biking today, mostly using the trails.

SHAPIRO: Felleson says there were nowhere this many people last year. That's because Gov. Mark Dayton declared today to be Free Park Friday. Today, admission is free at all of Minnesota's state parks. At Fort Snelling, that has meant more than twice the visitors that Felleson would normally expect on a wintry Friday, and it was only noon when we called him. Felleson doesn't mind the extra work.

FELLESON: That's our goal is to try and get people more involved in exercising and getting out into the park system and enjoying nature a little bit, getting away from the electronic world and enjoying and relaxing a little bit.

SHAPIRO: Plus, it's not like he would rather be out shopping.

FELLESON: No (laughter). Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.