By Bethanie Dennis
Christmas shopping season is about to officially begin, and it all really kicks off on Friday the 24th of November, a.k.a. Black Friday, where consumers battle it out for heavily discounted goods so they can tick-off items on their Christmas shopping lists at a fraction of the price. It’s estimated that £7 billion will be spent in the four days between Black Friday and Cyber Monday in the UK.
But as each year passes, Black Friday becomes increasingly synonymous with negative behaviour. More , people are buying products they don’t need, pushing through shops for the best deal and biggest discounts. It appears to be fuelling blind, stupid consumerism, rather than the purchase of thoughtful gifts that are carefully and ethically-sourced. The more you look into Black Friday, the more apparent this is.
You might think it’s just an American thing, but one in three people around the world now participate in this ‘event’, which shows how far its reach has spread. It’s become such a phenomenon, that 10% of the UK public take the day off work to shop for bargains. Worryingly, 24% of Black Friday purchases are just based on impulse, meaning people are diverging from what they intend to purchase, enticed by tempting discounts on stuff they will probably never use, and certainly don’t actually need.
We’re pretty disgusted by the whole thing, so thought it would be a great idea to suggest some alternatives to Black Friday. Come on, let’s rebel!
Five Alternatives to Black Friday
1.Buy Nothing Day
Buy Nothing Day is a challenge to avoid ALL shopping on Black Friday (even for food!) and choosing instead to buy nothing. Over 60 countries take part in Buy Nothing Day, to avoid buying things they don’t need in the hype of Black Friday. Some celebrate Buy Nothing Day by taking to the streets for free, noncommercial parties that can involve music, dancing, or any other kind of activity that doesn’t need cash spent. Join in yourself by using the hashtag #BuyNothingDay on social media – you’ll soon see how many people are down with this idea.
2. Just Friday
Traidcraft, the home of fair trade, is taking back Friday with their #JustFriday campaign. #JustFriday is about putting the love and care back into sharing gifts at Christmas, by placing an emphasis on finding thoughtful presents we know our loved ones will enjoy. It’s about mindful gift giving, paying close consideration to where your gifts have come from, how they’re made and the stories behind them. #JustFriday tells us to remember, that despite Black Friday chaos, it is after all, just Friday.
3. Opt Outside
The #OptOutside campaign was created by US outdoor retailer REI in 2015. The organisation decided to close its shops on Black Friday, and instead paid their employees to go outdoors, and spend the time they would have been working with family and friends. Since then, the movement has been adopted by other businesses and individuals, who choose to stand up against Black Friday values and venture outdoors instead.
4. Organise a Swap
Instead of shopping, try swapping! Organise a party for your friends to come by with their unused gifts, clothes and other items that can be swapped for stuff they might actually use. You can also keep people on your Christmas shopping list in mind – maybe you’ll be able to swap something of yours for another item they would love.
5. Just Give Back
Nothing feels as goods as giving back to the people who need it, so why not set aside some time and volunteer at a local charity shop, donate something extra to charity, or drop some food off at your local food bank? Helping others is the perfect way to stand against wasteful consumerism and make a positive impact on someone else’s life.