Ah, black Friday. I despise a lot of things, and black Friday is one of the worst. This day or “holiday” was invented for nothing more than to make money with black Friday sales now going on a week before and a week after the actual day. People can’t wait to eat up sales that aren’t even really sales and buy things they don’t need and get into a fistfight over a TV. (Seriously, I saw it on the news years ago.)
And all of this for what? To waste money and throw away the things we bought in a few months or a year.
Black Friday makes me so frustrated because we justify buying way more than we need just because it’s on sale. It also just feels gross to me that the day after we spent being thankful we go out and buy things we don’t need.
As a Canadian black Friday has never been a huge part of my life. But the online sales and even physical stores here have started participating as an attempt to make more money.
Consumerism is a huge enemy of the planet. We demand things ->things need to be produced ->resources are spent and wasted ->workers are overworked and underpaid ->we buy the things -> we throw the things away -> they end up in landfills for eternity -> we do it all again next year!
And it’s estimated that 164 million people plan to shop between Black Friday and Cyber Monday. (Which is just basically black Friday but exclusively online the Monday after thanksgiving) That’s just people. If they all buy 5-10 things, I don’t even want to do the math. That’s a lot of people who are buying a LOT of things.
With electronics being probably the most bought black Friday items it contributes to another level of waste which is e-waste. Most people will throw their electronics in the trash when they break or want something new instead of learning how to properly recycle them. This leads to lead, mercury and BPA leaching into the soil and our waterways. This of course harms the planet, wildlife and can potentially harm us as well.
And already cheap stores like Forever21 which use unsafe workshops and terrible environmental practices make their items even cheaper incentivizing consumers to buy EVEN MORE! It honestly breaks my heart how much environmental damage black Friday causes.
It’s a terrible wheel that even I found myself stuck on and had trouble getting off. So what can you do? How can we combat black Friday and not lend a hand to the consumerist mentality?
How to combat Black Friday:
Shop environmentally friendly brands
Well luckily, we’re not the only ones who are taking a stand against Black Friday. A lot of environmentally conscious brands are standing up to over-consumption and making waves with the anti-black Friday movement.
Brands like Patagonia have been closing their physical store’s downs and even donating 100% of the proceeds from their online stores on Black Friday to non-profit environmental groups.
You’ll find that most ethical and sustainable brands rarely have sales. That’s because their clothing is priced how clothing should be priced. Everybody from the farmer, to the seamstress, to the truck driver, to the photographer, and everybody in between needs to be paid a fair price.
The only times you’ll see sales is to bundle a product, (like buying 3 t-shirts for the price of 2) or when they over-produce an item which is actually quite rare in the ethical fashion world, I’ve found.
Because ethical and sustainable clothing is not trend-driven there isn’t a lot of need to slash the price of something in order to quickly sell it and make room for something new.
Giving Tuesday is an initiative started back in 2012 and takes place the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and cyber Monday. It encourages individuals to give back through charitable donations, and community interactions.
Consider joining a trash pickup, donating a little to your favourite charity, or serving in a soup kitchen. The holiday season shouldn’t be a self-centred season. There are so many people who have very little. That’s something to think about while people are fighting over sales.
If you NEED something I won’t tell you to not shop on Black Friday. Sometimes you need something that’s a tad expensive so waiting for it to go on sale may be your only option. This post is about combating black Friday not boycotting it.
You can still shop sales responsibly by trying to get the best quality (so it’ll last a long time) and only buying what you need. The hardest part may be trying to not get distracted by sales and “add-on” products.
If you enter black Friday consciously and with a mindful attitude, you can most definitely shop it responsibly.
Thank you for reading and for caring about combating Black Friday this year! Please share this post with your firns and family to give them a new perspective on black Friday and don’t forget to follow me on Instagram for daily low waste living inspiration!