This Thursday is Thanksgiving Day in the USA. Since at least the 1950s the day after Thanksgiving has been a popular shopping day with many people starting their Christmas shopping. Now actively marketed as Black Friday any businesses and stores use this advertising medium to encourage sales of their goods. Black Friday has expanded to include not just the Friday after Thanksgiving but the preceding days – and even preceding weeks. This pressure to buy is not helpful for the environment nor for our purses. We should be looking to buy and consume less and when do buy things we should be able to consider carefully what we need rather than being hustled to ‘buy now!’ For more on this do read this article from The Ethical Consumer.
Is it black as in the opposite of ‘being in the red’, ie financially overdrawn? Certainly not if you are tempted to spend more than you can afford.
Is it black as in doom and terror? Definitely if you see it as a seductive snare designed to encourage us to buy more than we need and more than the earth’s finite resources can sustain.
And who gains?
The customer because they can buy things at a discount? Yes but only if they buy now. Customers who buy later will have to pay more if the producers are to recover their costs over the balance of the year.
The producers because they will sell more? But will they sell more or will the majority of their sales just be concentrated in this one weekend? (Black Friday has become Black Weekend). Does this frenzy of sales cause a hiccup in the supply chain? Goods will have to be stockpiled ready for this one weekend; delivery operations will be overwhelmed by short term demand for extra delivery vehicles and drivers; and presumably a peak in pressure in recycling services the following week.
At the end of the day, Black Friday is a marketing strategy and we are not obliged to drawn in by it. We can maintain our independence and shop when we want to shop and only buy what we want to buy.