Activism, Conscious Consumption, Sustainable Living

Five alternatives to the Black Friday madness

Is there anyone left who actually likes Black Friday?
I freely admit that my Twitter timeline is skewed hopelessly in favour of people who prefer to Make Do and Mend, and who take a much more thoughtful approach to consumerism, but it does seem to full of people fed up of Black Friday and all it stands for.
You may have guessed that I’m not a fan. For me, this one day epitomises all that is wrong with consumerism. It is the exact opposite of conscious consumption, and calls for mindless, thoughtless buying, tempting you to buy stuff you don’t need, just because it’s cheap.
It’s like the Donald Trump of consumption: bold, brash, promising things it can’t deliver, and screwing the planet all at the same time.

I wrote last year about Five Reasons to Screw Black Friday, just in case you are left in any doubt as to why it is a Bad Thing.
But this year, I wanted to showcase some Black Friday alternatives:

1) Buy Nothing Day
I’ve written about Buy Nothing Day a couple of times (here and here) and it’s a super simple idea. It aims to challenge consumer culture by asking us to switch off from shopping for a day.
“Its a global stand off from consumerism – celebrated as a holiday by some and street party for others! The rules are simple, for 24 hours you will detox from shopping and anyone can take part provided they spend a day without spending!”

2) Bright Friday

This is the latest campaign from the guys at Hubbub, where they are are “encouraging people to explore other ways to spend their Black Friday to avoid the pressure to buy things they might not want or need.”
There’s a brilliant line up of events, including upcycling and refashioning workshops, and even a comedy night, which this year are all based in Brighton. However as the campaign spreads and gains momentum they plan for the campaign to “snowball throughout the country”, so hurray to that!
If you’re not local to Brighton, there is nothing to stop you getting together with some friends for a spot of gentle mending, or even just taking some time out yourself to tackle that mending pile.

3) Small Business Saturday
Save your pennies, and spend them in local business next weekend instead (3rd December). For every £1 you spend in small, local business, 68p stays in the local economy, compared with only 40p when you spend £1 in a national chain.
Use your money to help small businesses stay afloat, and help business owners earn a living, rather than lining the pockets of wealthy shareholders and the fat cats of the multi-nationals.

4) #OptOutside

REI are a US based company that decided to close their stores on Black Friday to allow their staff a day off to get outside and enjoy the great outdoors. The idea has now spread, and not only do they shut up shop on Black Friday, they also have a campaign encouraging others to swap the malls for the mountains, and to #OptOutside on Black Friday, which has over 3million people signed up to take part.

5) Secondhand First
This week clothing charity TRAID are celebrating all things preloved, with Secondhand First Week, which “celebrates the power of second-hand to change the world by keeping the resources we already have in use for longer.”
There is a series of events happening up and down the country, from Swishes to film screenings, and my favourite, a workshop called “How to be a Mending Activist” which just sounds fabulous!
And if there’s nothing happening near you, then you needn’t feel left out, you can join in and show your support by taking the #secondhandfirst pledge.

So what are you guys up to for Black Friday? Would love to hear – leave a comment or come and join in the conversation in our Facebook group!



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  • Reply Chris December 8, 2016 at 10:53 am

    At this time of year just a reminder that you can recycle used postage stamps and help the RNIB at the same time. For more information go to

    Collected stamps should be sent to:
    RNIB Stamp Recycling
    PO Box 185
    SS7 9BH

    Thank You

  • Reply Liz Pearson November 23, 2016 at 10:52 pm

    Some friends and I have formed a craft group that meets up once a month, usually on Friday evenings. Perhaps we should try to meet up on a Black Friday! Missed the last one. Still, you gave me an idea to post some mending pics on our Facebook page and suggest a mending session at the next meeting, at mine, where I can offer around my mending supplies. That would be one way to Screw Black Friday…..

    • Reply Jen November 24, 2016 at 7:13 am

      Sounds like a brilliant plan Liz!

  • Reply Five Reasons To Screw Black Friday | agaara November 23, 2016 at 4:22 pm

    […] post first appeared on My Make Do and Mend Life, where you can also find Five Alternatives to the Black Friday Madness. Read […]

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