The holidays are here! And while we’re loving the fall weather, we’re not exactly looking forward to the biggest shopping day of the year. We’re looking at you Black Friday.
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. This year, REI announced they were closing their doors on Black Friday altogether. Instead, the outdoor retailer is encouraging its customers and employees to get outside using the catchy hashtag #optout.
While we love the idea of focusing on something other than mass consumption, we’re not complete wet blankets that don’t want you to shop for the holidays. But there’s a wrong and a right way to shop. Here’s a few reasons why we’re not fans of Black Friday, and how you can shop smart this holiday season.
Black Friday deals are overhyped.
Sure you can snag some great deals on Black Friday… but only on select items. Retailers know once they lure you into their stores you’re more likely to buy more, and the prices of many items are comparable to other times of the year. Retailers also artificially inflate the price right before Black Friday to make discounts seem deeper than they really are.
What to do instead: Support ethical businesses. Check out our Fashion Remake series 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.
Perhaps the most obvious reason, Black Friday has been known to cause injury and even death among participants. We’ve all heard the horror stories of shoppers being trampled to death in large crowds and customers fighting violently over coveted items. No thanks.
What to do instead: Shop small. Get out of the mob-like crowds and shop at local businesses instead. There are plenty of maker markets happening this time of year that feature unique, hand-made crafts. Etsy is another great spot to snag hand-crafted goods.
Black Friday means longer hours for employees and makers.
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” as they call it, thousands of makers are working longer hours for little pay.
What to do instead: 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 ruins Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving is a time to celebrate what we have. Retailers seem dead set on making us forget that. Instead of appreciating our closet full of clothes, they want us to think about the stuff we lack. We’re constantly being fed the message that buying more makes us happy.
What to do instead: Instead of the “I need more” mentality, let’s focus on what we are thankful for. What if we skipped shopping on Thanksgiving Day altogether? Retailers claim they open their doors earlier each year due to pressure from consumers. So let’s stop giving them that reason. Relax, and spend time with your fam on turkey day.
We’re all about holiday shopping, 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. It will make you the best gift giver in the family.