It seems inevitable in our consumerist, global community that the Black Friday shopping event is only going to get bigger and bigger each year. E-commerce titans, online and in store retailers are already priming customers to spend an unhealthy amount this November, but the propaganda might bring out the worst in holiday shoppers. Whether they go to their local store, ready to fight for their bargain, or they are spending more than they can afford online or just impulse-buying because they feel they need to take advantage of the deals, Black Friday and then Cyber Monday that follows in her wake promote detrimental shopping behaviours which could pose a threat to financial security. Moreover, these consumerist calendar events also do very little for the environment and are not a sustainable means of purchasing. As the world around us becomes more affected by climate change and we start to make more eco conscious shopping decisions, these tips are ideal for making ethical and responsible purchases this Black Friday.
Shop Second Hand
Brands like ThredUp and Vinted are online or in-app retailers that connect shoppers with luxury, second hand items, (some apps also sell standard, high-street style clothes, too). However, these second hand platforms are available in locations around the world and provide a unique opportunity to do some retail therapy during Black Friday, whilst minimising your impact on the environment. Second hand shopping is undoubtedly the most sustainable way to shop as you will be giving an item that took resources, fuel and energy to produce another lease of life. It also prevents unloved items from ending up in landfill. These vintage shopping platforms often run valuable Black Friday sales for consumers to take advantage of.
Many of the items listed are also brand new, with labels. Similarly, the vintage apps may also mean you can find unique, one of a kind pieces that make great presents, so it really is perfect for tackling your Christmas shopping list and keeping an ethical shopping mentality this Black Friday.
The shop small movement has struck the globe, particularly in UK markets after the launch of an ad campaign by American Express, but Small Business Saturday has become a trend as an advent to the profits-driven, multinational conglomerates that benefit the most from Black Friday.
Shopping small can be more sustainable because they are often locally sourced and produced goods. This cuts out the carbon emissions caused by importation. The shop small movement also promotes ethical-spending and supports local communities, indie brands and creatives, supporting more than just eco-conscious shopping but ethical initiatives that pay their employees well, respect and protect the environment by offsetting emissions wherever possible, minimising packaging and support other small, local businesses. Typically, these are better quality items than mass produced goods and thus, this is a long game, but the product may last you a lot longer than cheaper alternatives. Research for deals and appropriate brands may be required, but well worth it this Black Friday to minimise buying imported goods that are manufactured irresponsibility.
Don’t Shop At All!
It’s easy to fall prey to aggressive marketing techniques we are bombarded with at this time of year, and many of us have bought items we don’t really need or even want – to give as gifts or to keep for ourselves – just because the deal was too hard to refuse. It’s important to be wise to these techniques and rise above them wherever possible. If you are looking to splash some cash in the sales, you might consider checking out investment pieces, like home technology, rather than smaller, trend-based items. This might seem counter-productive to your bank balance, but this is often where the biggest savings can be found, and if you really do need to replace a broken item, it’s the perfect time to buy. Be aware of the quality of the brands featured in deals, many retailers feature sub-standard or cheap brands in their advertisements with huge, 75% off deals because they still drive a profit and could attract you to their site for more expensive products with lesser deals. It’s all about being wise to the marketing.
Abstaining from Black Friday and Cyber Monday is harder than it seems but refusing to spend could mean making more sustainable and conscious purchasing decisions as well as better financial decisions.