It sends the wrong message to brands and retailers.
Black Friday is not nearly as cool as it used to be. As people become more aware of the climate crisis, and how rampant consumption drives resource extraction and environmental degradation, not to mention plastic waste and overflowing landfills, the idea of scooping up stuff just because it's cheap is increasingly uncomfortable.
This year, ethical campaigner Fashion Revolution is calling for a Black Friday boycott. It's asking shoppers and retailers to abstain from discounts between Black Friday and Cyber Monday (November 29 to December 2 this year) as a way to "take a stand against mindless discounts." It's basically the same as the Buy Nothing Day campaign launched by Adbusters years ago, but Fashion Revolution pinpoints a more precise reason for why this is important – because Black Friday "represents a sore spot in an industry that runs on overproduction." Fashion Revolution explained in a press release:
"When we buy into the seemingly good deals, we send a message to brands that it’s okay for them to thoughtlessly produce, at the cost of people and the planet, because we’ll help them get rid of their stockpiles as long as they are discounted steeply."
And people are willing to fork out enormous sums of money to do so, as the following graphic reveals.
There is an argument that Black Friday allows people to purchase things that they would not be able to afford otherwise, particularly with Christmas approaching; and while this might be true in some cases, it is a stretch to assume that's the standard situation. Most shoppers, myself included, enjoy the thrill of the chase, of getting a deal, of feeling like we're saving money, even though we might be spending on things we don't need.
It's time to challenge that mentality and to realize that 'deals' are not deals if it means you're bringing home something you could have done without. We live in a world already inundated with stuff; it's time to stop buying and start making do with what we have.
Start this year by refusing to shop on Black Friday weekend. Send a message to retailers and brands that you're not interested in supporting their discounts and their overproduction, nor do you want to have a delivery truck drive a box to your front door.