The American shopping holiday has become a favourite holiday for big businesses. Not only is it one of big businesses’ favourite holidays. It is also a holiday where companies reap better benefits than humans. Now I know you’re thinking that we humans also reap some benefits from Black Friday. Like those cheap pants you got last year on Black Friday, now remind me, when was the last time you wore them? The sales from Black Friday to Christmas are responsible for 30% of a company’s annual sales. So of course big companies will do everything in their power to suck you in order to make a sale. They are doing this at the expense of their retail workers and the environment, here let me explain.
Hated by all retail workers
Big companies set their opening times on Black Friday at unreasonably early times. Forcing their workers to arrive extremely early to make sure the store is ready. This causes their employees to miss out on family time during Thanksgiving. The employees need to make sure they are well-rested for an early hectic shift. They spend their entire holiday weekend working and preparing for the Black Friday rush. Thus cutting their family time short. Now, where’s the humanity in that? Big companies are taking quality family time away from their workers so they can make sales. How are they going to advertise products with hallmark families enjoying time together, and treat their employees the complete opposite?
Well, this wasn’t in the job description
Consumers believe that Black Friday has the best deals of the year. This mindset can sometimes cause violence. Big companies want people to believe that their Black Friday deals are one of a kind and are the best deals. But in reality that is not the case. Research has found that 98% of advertised discounts on Black Friday were also available for the same price or cheaper 6 months after. This creates a sense of scarcity and urgency to buy things that the consumer doesn’t need. The sense of scarcity can sometimes cause people to become violent. Black Friday can bring out the worst in people, why are you fighting for a TV when you bought one last year? That brings me to another point.
Black Friday? More like Trash Friday
Having a mass purchase of these door-crasher deals creates a mass amount of unnecessary waste and damage to the environment. Research has shown that up to 80% of Black Friday purchases get thrown away after one or no uses. Now I don’t know about you but that seems like a lot of unnecessary waste. For instance, in 2019 consumers spent $9.0 billion on Black Friday.
That’s a lot of money spent on impulse purchases and one-time use items that end up in the landfill. You might be thinking “that’s so silly, why would people be spending so much on items that they don’t end up using?”. Well, it’s because big companies and consumers have created a culture that forces people to think that they are not enough. Big companies constantly promote and push out shiny new products. This consumer culture pushes the belief that if a person doesn’t have this shiny new product they aren’t considered cool or valid in society. This makes people like you and me go out and purchase this new product even if we don’t need it. Do you see how toxic this over-consuming culture is?
Going back to the point about the TV. One of the most common door-crasher deals on Black Friday is electronics, mainly TV’s. Those TVs that you see at the front of the store are there for a reason. It’s not because they are the best quality product they just got in. But those TVs get placed there because they are the lowest quality product with planned obsolescence. If you ask me, planned obsolescence is one of the most wasteful business strategies. Businesses go out of their way to shorten the lifespan of their product. Making something that could have lasted for quite some time and turning it into something that will be obsolete in a year or two. Isn’t that borderline evil?
4 ways to have a more responsible Black Friday
This information probably isn’t the best for you to be finding out especially since the Holiday season is approaching. But don’t fear, there are still ways you can get gifts for your loved ones without inflicting all of this damage. Here are some changes you can make to turn Black Friday into a more positive experience for all.
1. Shop at small local businesses
Black Friday deals aren’t exclusive to big corporations. Plenty of small local businesses offer their own deals as well! On top of that, the chances that you’ll be receiving good service from a small local business are much higher than if you were to go to a big box store.
2. Consider shopping second hand or consignment
Planned obsolescence in the technology industry and fast-moving trend cycles in the fashion industry are siblings. Just like how there are second-hand electronic stores, there are second-hand clothing and consignment stores. Yes, those uncomfortable platform boots that you’ve been eyeing from that fast fashion store might be in trend right now. With the rate that these trend cycles are going, they won’t be in style next week. But do you know what will always be in style? Preserving the environment and the earth, because, without them, nothing would be able to be trending!
3. Support Businesses who give back
Oftentimes joy and cheer fill the Holiday Season. But that may not be the case for everyone. Support those who are not having the merriest Christmas by giving back to the community.
4. Create memories, not clutter
Sometimes the best gift of all isn’t bought. Spend the time that you would’ve spent shopping with the people closest to you. Create memories that money can’t buy!