Black Friday. The day, or should I say period now, where consumerism is encouraged by flashy adverts and obscene sales. But, is it all bad? It’s a complicated topic, so I’m going to attempt to convey where I stand on Black Friday in this post.
Certainly, not everything about Black Friday is bad and you can actually grab some good bargains if you shop smartly. On the other hand, it can also encourage excessive consumerism, debt and fast fashion – all things we should aim to avoid where possible.
Clearly, it’s hard to define exactly where I stand on Black Friday. I’m sure you may also feel conflicted. Hopefully this post will offer the information needed to help inform your decisions.
In this post I’ll cover:
- What Black Friday is
- My Black Friday experience
- The morality of Black Friday
- Are there actually good Black Friday deals out there?
- How to do your Christmas shopping instead
What is Black Friday
Black Friday is the name given to the Friday following Thanksgiving Day in the United States, which is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November. The day after Thanksgiving has been regarded as the beginning of the US Christmas shopping season since 1952.
The term Black Friday did not become widely used until more recent decades, during which time global retailers have adopted the term and date to market their own holiday sales.
Now, the term is no longer confined to the US. Stores and websites all over the world promote Black Friday sales, in a bid to attract consumers treating themselves or their loved ones.
My Black Friday experience
Usually, I avoid Black Friday like the plague, mainly because I’m not organised enough to do my research to make sure I’m getting good deals.
This year I had a couple of larger purchases I’ve been meaning to make for a while – nothing too flashy, but a new running watch and tablet were very much needed. As I would be buying them anyway, I thought I should have a look and see if there were any deals out there.
I find shopping stressful at the best of times – in fact, I’m a terrible shopper. Comparing prices, finding the right items and making final decisions, just seems like a lot of effort and wasted energy. Probably not the sort of thing a money blogger should be saying…
But, I thought I’d try. For maximum benefit, I went through Quidco to get some extra cashback on top of any deals. In the end I saved around £60 – so definitely worth the extra stress!
The morality of Black Friday
This is where it gets complicated.
If something you want to buy is on sale for a reduced price, surely it makes sense to buy it? I think it does, particularly at the moment, when many of us have less money in our wallets than normal.
There’s also the benefit of giving less of your cash to large corporations. If you’re going to buy from Amazon or other large corporations, why not give less profits to their owners? They won’t miss the money you save, but a small business might. This is worth considering when it comes to buying items. If you can afford it, perhaps buy from small businesses when prices are nearer full price.
Arguably, some shops take things too far. For example, Pretty Little Thing was selling items for 4p today. It’s hard to believe you can sell clothes for that price and be paying everyone a fair wage.
There are also environmental concerns when it comes to fast fashion. The fashion industry is one of the most polluting industry there is and these sort of prices only encourage this.
If you can afford not to take advantage of these deals, I’d encourage you to boycott these prices. Of course, for some people struggling financially, they may be a real lifeline. It’s not up to us to judge others’ decisions. Instead, we have to live with our own.
Are there actually good deals out there?
There are some good deals out there. But, don’t be fooled by the big, red sale signs. Some shops up their prices in the run up to Black Friday so the discounts seem greater.
Others are more genuine. The best thing, is to be aware of the rough price of items before Black Friday, so you know if you’re getting a good deal or not. This does take forward planning though, so if you’re less organised, like me, use your intuition.
If something seems too good to be true, it probably is.
How to do your Christmas shopping instead
If you’re less keen on Black Friday, there are other ways to do your Christmas shopping. Of course, you can buy items all year round – you don’t have to wait for sales.
I often advocate voting with your wallet. Now, more than ever, it’s important to support businesses that align with your values. If you’re in a position to do so, choose businesses that pay taxes, employ local people and support the economy and the environment.
It’s also ok not to buy physical gifts. Many of us already have more than enough things. Giving experiences may be harder at the moment due to Covid-19, but many affected businesses will really appreciate the support and it could help keep them afloat while they’re closed.
Another option is charitable gifts. Choose Love allow you to buy gifts on behalf of someone else for Refugees – a great option for socially conscious people who are difficult to buy for.
If you found this post interesting, please like it and share across social media or send it to your friends. I hope it explained my thoughts on where I stand on Black Friday. I’d also love to hear your thoughts and experiences. What are your thoughts on Black Friday? Did you manage to pick up any good Black Friday deals?
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