Next Friday is the shopping event of the year, otherwise known as Black Friday. Whilst most companies take the opportunity to increase sales and get rid of as much unwanted stock as possible, for sustainable brands who encourage conscious consumption, it’s not so simple.
We certainly don't feel comfortable taking part in a day that is all about hyper-consumerism, but it can be tricky to talk about this subject because without sales we would cease to exist. However, as we’re all increasingly aware, we have a serious waste and landfill issue on our planet, so encouraging people to buy things that they don’t really need goes against everything we believe in.
Equally, we also recognise that Black Friday isn’t all bad; it can offer the opportunity to purchase much needed items at a lower cost which is particularly important for those on lower incomes.
So maybe the issue isn’t so much ‘buying stuff’, but ‘buying the right stuff’. There is a big difference between buying something you need or will love for years to come, and buying something on impulse, never using it and then throwing it away. According to research* the no.1 ‘Black Friday regret’ is clothing.
Therefore, we’re not advocating for the boycott of Black Friday. But we are encouraging you to shop more considerately. We’ve compiled some tips and things to be aware of, which we hope will result in more satisfaction for you, but less impact on the planet.
Making a list of the things you really need rather than impulse buying the shiny offers can really help (I'm no stranger to being tempted by sequins!). There is no point buying a dress that will sit in your wardrobe for a year before you give it to charity, no matter how cheap it is. And if you’re not sure about something check the returns policy. Sometimes giving yourself 24 hours to sleep on it can lead to better decisions!
You can still buy things second hand! Ebay, DePop, vintage - many of the things you need already exist and can be picked up for a fraction of the price.
If you can’t buy it second hand, try supporting brands who are more ethical or sustainable (but make sure that they are transparent about what they do, and their claims check out). There are lots of sustainable Christmas gift guides being published this year that are worth looking at.
If you’re in store, they will use anything to get you to spend more time in their store, and therefore spend more money. We’re not saying you shouldn’t enjoy that free Prosecco but be aware of why it’s being given to you ;)
Tip # 5
According to This is Money, a lot of items are actually more expensive on Black Friday so it’s worth doing your research beforehand. Stores will often increase prices before Black Friday so that they can claim that the discount is bigger. Make sure you know exactly what you need to buy, judge it on the price, not on the discount.
*Research by Gumtree and Opinion Matters