Each year Black Friday seems to get more and more out of hand with millions of Americans binging on this shopping frenzy. Retailers are opening their doors earlier than ever, and consumers are ready to shop before they even sit down to take a bite of Thanksgiving turkey.
Many brands have been praised in recent years for taking a stand against opening on Thanksgiving Day. REI announced they were closing their doors on Black Friday altogether, encouraging customers and employees to get outside with their #OptOut campaign.
While the #OptOut campaign was clever, the truth is, it’s the holidays – people are going to shop. Our take? There’s a wrong and a right way to do it, and savvy shoppers know Black Friday deals ain’t all that. Let’s break down the holiday shopping dos and don’ts.
BLACK FRIDAY DEALS ARE OVERHYPED
DON’T: Many stores inflate prices before the holidays to make it seem like you’re getting a bigger discount come Black Friday. They lure you in with these seemingly great deals on a few select items, knowing that once you’re in the store, the festive holiday music and bright decor will put you in the full-priced item shopping mood, too.
DO: Shop ethical. Check out our style section for brands that care about makers. Prices can range from budget friendly to investment pieces. How about thanking someone in your life with a brand that makes a difference in makers lives too?
BLACK FRIDAY IS DANGEROUS
DON’T: We’ve all heard the horror stories of shoppers waiting for hours in line for stores to open, only to get trampled by a crazed crowd, while other customers fight violently over coveted items. Deal or no deal, your family wants you to make it to the holidays.
DO: Shop small. Avoid the mobs and opt for maker markets and local businesses for more unique, hand-made crafts. Etsy is another great spot to snag hand-crafted goods, and you don’t even have to leave your house.
BLACK FRIDAY IS EXPLOITIVE
DON’T: Many retailers who remain open over the holidays are some of the worst offenders when it comes to employee and maker’s rights. The bigger the sale, the harder they’re pushing employees and factory workers behind the scenes. It hits closer to home when your little brother has to skip Thanksgiving dinner for his night shift at Best Buy, but let’s keep the people in far away factories and warehouse distribution centers in mind as well. Leading up to the “Superbowl of retail,” thousands of makers are working longer hours for little pay.
DO: Do your research. Shop at stores that are transparent about how their products are made and support maker’s rights. Avoid “doorbuster” sales to send a message to retailers. You might be able to hit your favorite sales in under an hour, but thousands of employees and makers are working overtime to support our consumption habits.
BLACK FRIDAY IS RUDE
DON’T: Anyone else think it’s weird that we celebrate “giving thanks” by running out in the middle of dinner to buy stuff we don’t have – and probably don’t need? Rude.
DO: This year, pass on cutting dinner short for sales, and pass the potatoes with your fam, instead. Retailers claim they open their doors earlier each year due to pressure from consumers. Let’s stop giving them that reason.
Holiday shopping can be fun, but let’s do it right this year by shopping small, remembering what we have, and researching the stores where we spend our money. It’s worth it to reward businesses who are considering the lives of all the human beings behind the products we love.