Rampant, ravenous consumerism is at its height in the US on Black Friday – the Friday following Thanksgiving, where stores the country over slash prices to the excitement of bargain hunters. And while the trend has recently trickled into other economies, with the UK and Australia following this same selling strategy which is, at its heart, designed to get us to spend cash on these we probably never needed the first place (like this woman in 2014 who bought a Dyson and wasn’t even sure she wanted it).
A bargain is a fabulous thing but not when it’s at the expense of others so here are a few ways you can still partake in Black Friday ‘festivities’ while considering your impact on the world around you.
Shop with companies that are ethical or with a social agenda
This year, there are a handful of admirable companies that are backing an anti-Black Friday stance. One of our favourite is fashion ecommerce retailer Everlane who, in the past, have closed their stores completely on Black Fridays to avoid over-consumption are using the sales to their charitable advantage: they’ll be donating the profits of all sales in attempts to buy 8,000 helmets for their all their factory workers in Vietnam, where helmetless moped travel is used by 35 million people on a daily basis.
Another charitable powerhouse, Patagonia, is donating 100% of profits from the day to grassroots environmental groups.
Shop as part in Small Business Saturday
Originally conceived by American Express, the alternative day has taken on a life of its own worldwide, Small Business Saturday reminds us that there’s a huge advantage in investing in your local economy instead of a huge multi-national conglomerate: as an example, Locals 4 Locals reports that for every $100 at a local small business, $73 of it stays within the local economy, as opposed to $43 in a chain retailer.
Support the business owners around you who might not have the financial freedom to slash prices – you and your local community will be better for it.
Don’t shop at all
If you’ve decided there’s nothing else material you need this Friday, why not try putting your money towards a cause that you care about?
Make Black Friday about splurging on time, not objects
US retailer and staunch Black Friday avoider REI have developed an alternative to spending time in a crowded shopping centre: head outside. The #OptOutside movement, which has over 4 million ‘subscribers’ is promoting the opportunity to go hiking, skiing, camping, paddling – anything that keeps people out of the potential brutality of a Black Friday store showdown.