It started as a little rumble, this REI idea of closing on Black Friday.Sure, it was retail sacrilege, closing stores on what was once the busiest shopping day of the year.

But the idea was also pure gold.

The move, which REI initiated on the day after Thanksgiving last year, looks like a brilliant strategy.In the midst of the ongoing debate over whether or not stores should open on Thanksgiving it appears most do , the REI move garnered a huge amount of publicity  — almost entirely positive, which is so strange in this era of Twitter wars.But armed with the OptOutside hashtag, members of the Twittersphere are embracing the idea of telling stores to take a hike, while planning to take a hike of their own.Nearly 2 million people have endorsed the Black Friday closing by clicking a button on the REI site, a site which prominently hosts a feature that lets people find outdoor activities near them.It s not just the Twittersphere and REI itself that are embracing the idea, either.

The idea is to build a Green Friday movement.

California ran the free park thing last year, as did Colorado, Arizona, Oregon, Minnesota, Missouri and Delaware, according to the Mercury News of San Jose, Calif.Oh, and about that brilliant strategy by REI?

I m not saying it was a publicity stunt, though you ve got to figure PR considerations came into play.

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