General ramblings

5 Reasons to Screw Black Friday

November 26, 2015

So Black Friday is almost up on us again.
The craze that started in the USA and has spread over here in the last few years: a frenzy of consumer craziness where retailers go all out to slash their prices and entice you to buy buy buy.

The irony of Black Friday occurring in the USA the day after Thanksgiving is huge. The day after giving thanks, showing gratitude for all that you have, American consumers are sold the story that what they have is not quite enough after all. Maybe they could be more grateful, if they had more stuff? And what they really need, is a massive shiny new TV, or the latest computer game, or a pair of shoes, or, or,….

Is it going too far to say that for me, Black Friday epitomises all that is wrong with our modern ‘developed’ consumer driven society?
Here’s 5 reasons why we should all say “Screw Black Friday”

Screw Black Friday P1) You probably already have enough stuff.
Most of us are drowning under the weight of all our ‘stuff’. Not just the physical weight, and sheer volume of it all, but the mental weight too. Stuff takes up a mental space too, and sometimes it’s not until you start to offload some of it, that you realise quite how much space it is occupying.
Garage01
2) A new TV/mobile phone/pair of amazing shoes will not make you happy.
Yes, it might for a day or two. Or even a week, or maybe a month. But after that, it will cease to become your wonderful new shiny toy, and will become normal, and your mind will start lusting after the next shiny new toy. And the cycle begins again.
Whatever is missing in your life, cannot be found on the High St, or even on Amazon.

3) You’re giving away your power to the big corporations, and the advertisers, and the marketers.
You are their puppet, doing their will, and making them money.
It’s your money.
You get to choose where you spend it, and when you spend it.
You can choose to spend it in small local businesses (on Small Business Saturday maybe?), where for every £1 you spend, 68p stays in the local economy, compared with only 40p when you shop at a national chain.
You can choose to spend it at a market, where your money is helping a local craftsperson, or small business owner to pay their mortgage, or feed their kids, rather than lining the pockets of share holders.
You can choose to spend it on ethical goods, from companies with transparent supply chains, who know that the people making their goods are being paid a living wage.
You can choose to spend it on secondhand goods, and support a charity, and save something from landfill, and help to preserve the world’s resources.
Or you can choose not to spend it. And to make do, or to mend.
But you can choose.
And therein lies the power.

4) People matter more than stuff.
Whether it’s the people being physically knocked out of the way in scrums for cheap ‘things’ or the people far away, toiling away in factories in who knows what kind of condition, sometimes for pennies, to make us stuff.
People matter more.

5) The stuff you buy has an impact on the planet.
Like it or not, everything we buy has an impact. It uses up resources, many of which are becoming increasingly scarce. It takes energy (oil) to make the stuff, and to get it to our High Streets (or online warehouses). And when it’s no longer wanted, it sits and rots (or not) in landfill.

Photo credit: businesswaste.co.uk

Photo credit: businesswaste.co.uk

Everything has an impact.
No matter how of a Black Friday mega deal it is, everything has an impact.

I’m not the only one railing against the madness of Black Friday, there is a growing Anti Black Friday movement. And I’m not the only one to take to their blog to vent their frustrations either: The Minimalists have written a great piece here, and there’s some great alternatives to Black Friday here.
Some retailers are even choosing to opt out of the madness, with Asda saying this year that they are not taking part, and Buy Nothing Day is an antidote to Black Friday that seems to be gaining some traction.
I love the idea of Buy Nothing Day as a very visible stand against the obscene celebration of consumption that is Black Friday, but this post here from the Non Consumer Advocate makes a very good point: what about the other 364 days of the year. And it’s true.
What we need is 365 days of consuming (or not) more consciously.
Buying stuff is ok.
But we all need to do it with more thought, more deliberation, more awareness, of what we are buying, why we are buying it, and the impact that it has.

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7 Comments

  • Reply Inese Tenisons November 26, 2015 at 11:15 pm

    I am all for thinking very carefully before you buy and agree with all the points you have made but before we completely reject activities such as “Black Friday” – we need to think also about who this affects as well (i.e. low-paid retail workers, etc.,) – they rely on this income to feed and support their families. I wish I knew what the answer was…

    • Reply Jen December 1, 2015 at 8:46 pm

      Hi Inese
      Yes, it really is a tricky one. I think I’m just referring mainly to mindless, unconscious, buy it cos it’s cheap purchases, rather than the careful, saved up for and planned purchases. But yes, lots of tricky issues 🙁

  • Reply Why I'm not taking part in 'Black Friday' - Madame B's Boutique November 26, 2015 at 4:48 pm

    […] need just because it’s going cheap. As the lovely Jen of Make Do & Mend Year explains in her blog on the subject of Black Friday, it’s easy to forget about the impact that buying loads of […]

  • Reply lesleygcooper November 26, 2015 at 11:44 am

    here here. I so agree with the sentiments in this post. The world cannot go on consuming so rampantly with no consequences

    • Reply Jen December 1, 2015 at 8:47 pm

      Thanks Lesley!

  • Reply LOVINGLY MADE LTD November 26, 2015 at 10:49 am

    How did this all happen to us here in our Country? We have Christmas, we have a time where we share gifts of love and friendship. I couldn’t agree with you more – if you feel you need anything, then why not recycle something into a beautiful thing, use up what we already have around you, change it, paint it, give it to Charity, but why oh why get caught up into buying something new?
    Let us remember our Christmas, and what it means, we do not have to fall in line here with this commercialism, think for ourselves…

    • Reply Jen December 1, 2015 at 8:47 pm

      Wise words-thankyou!

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