Many people, blogs and accounts involved in sustainability are calling for an end to Black Friday.
And as someone who is passionate about the subject, I can completely see why.
But I can also see the benefits of Black Friday, at least for now until more people take an interest in a more sustainable way of living.
So what might these possible benefits be?
The way I see it, if we follow a few guidelines, Black Friday can actually help the sustainability cause.
Sustainable brands can be a bit more expensive than their high-street counterparts. For all the right reasons, of course. But one of the biggest problems today is that we often outprice those who cannot afford to shop sustainably. We can argue that they have to shop less and better, but it’s still a pretty privileged standpoint.
Black Friday can help those who are yet to try out a sustainable brand to get their first taste of fair consumption at a discounted price. …and hopefully, they will like it enough to do their best to continue. It does feel better to know you are doing the right thing after all.
And if a shopper allocates the same amount of money they were going to spend on a Christmas gift from the high street and instead put it either into a discounted more sustainable option or even second-hand. Then they will get more for their money, the receiver will get a higher quality gift that will last longer and it could possibly spark an interest in a more sustainable way of living.
Even though it’s not perfect, there are ways to try to shop sustainably on Black Friday
I think a big key to more responsible consumption is to normalize sustainable brands. At the moment it’s still something certain groups of society see as activism. If we call for an end to Black Friday before it’s time, then there will be a us-and-them situation. And we end up alienating people that might just have needed a bit more time to get on-board.
What we need to do is to help shoppers outsmart the system. To show the best ways to buy responsibly at Black Friday instead of shaming those who do.
There are a few simple guidelines I recommend to shop sustainably on Black Friday;
→ Buy from sustainable and ethical brands. They need your business and you will end up with better.
→ Get one discounted gift of high quality instead of several high-street ones.
→ Buy the items you were going to get anyway.
→ Plan your purchases far in advance. This is the time to buy those quality over quantity items you have been looking at (or already have, love and need to stock up on).
→ Get great quality basics that you will use for years to come.
→ DO NOT SHOP ON IMPULSE! This is where it gets you if you do Black Friday wrong. You are not saving money when you buy a discounted mediocre item, you are wasting it.
→ Certain second-hand shops have Black Friday deals too.
→ Only buy timeless items you really love. Maybe something that would have been just out of reach at their ordinary price point?
→ Think investment, not bargain.
The whole core of Black Friday is consumption and to stir up a shopping frenzy. But we don’t have to get swept up in it. It’s ok to buy things we need (and even at times want). We just have to put down some groundwork first and shop for the right reasons.
I, for one, really need a new electric toothbrush since mine died last week, so that’s on my Black Friday shopping list this year. I also have a piece of clothing in mind that I have been looking at all year. It’s a short list, but it will save me some money without making me buy anything unnecessary.
What do you think? Can we shop sustainably on Black Friday or do you think it should be banned altogether?