Black Friday is not good for community – there are good alternatives!

We live in a society where the traditional bonds in community are gradually being eroded by automated, self-service, online processes that eliminate social contact and interactions.  Black Friday is an example of us being considered as anonymous consumers, where the only value we are perceived to have is our purchasing power, rather than as citizens.

Re-Action’s #citizenfriday campaign is a call to reject this and use that day for re-asserting our role as citizens.

A lot of “consumer dissatisfaction”

Black Friday statistics UK (Mintel report)

  • 16% of Black Friday shoppers purchases clothing or footwear.
  • 39% of Brits bought a Black Friday promotional item on Amazon during the 2022 Black Friday promos.
  • 51% of Black Friday shoppers bought impulse purchases during the Black Friday promotions in 2022.
  • 56% of UK adults agreed that they were disappointed with the 2022 Black Friday promos.

See also: Everyday Green on the impact of Black Friday

So, what can we do on Friday 24th (and before and after) as citizens?

Firstly, let’s acknowledge that we ain’t going to stop Black Friday. In Jane Shaw’s article Why Black Friday is bad for business and what to do instead: #citizenfriday she sets out why BF is not beneficial to many small companies, especially those founded on an ethical/eco set of principles and purpose.  So let’s use it for a better purpose… We can choose that day to show how alternative actions, including shopping in different ways, can benefit us as citizens and strengthen the communities we live in.

Source: Re-Action

Re-Action propose three simple alternatives rather than buying something:

  • Share something,
  • Repair something,
  • Get out in the fresh air.

That’s a great start.  But if you live on an ever-decreasing budget and that Friday is the one chance you get to get something you and your kids need then what choice do you have? Personally, I’d say just do it. We need to get by as best we can.  You know you may not be getting a real bargain, nor maybe the best quality but if your kids need new shoes, they need new shoes.

So, for the others who don’t really need any more stuff but do crave that dopamine hit that can accompany that retail experience here’s some alternatives that combine dopamine with doing good for the planet and your community…

Pre-loved: go to a charity shop. If you shop around you will probably find what you’re looking for. And you’ll meet people, you’ll interact, converse.

Go to a Library of Things/ Library of Stuff.  Are you sure you need to “own” that electric sander? Come on when are you going to us it again?  Rent it. Save some of the earth’s resources and your hard-earned cash and shed space and support a local entrepreneur.

Use your LOAF

  • Buy LOCAL, buy independent. Support local businesses and help create local employment.
  • Buy Organic. Where it is relevant do this. It may or may not taste better but it sure is a way of caring for nature.
  • Buy Animal-free/friendly. This applies to clothes, furniture etc., not just food.
  • Buy Fairtrade, or simply fair trade. (One’s a foundation the other is a principle for collaborative business that cares for staff, supply chains and the planet.

Finally if you want to get a “buzz” that doesn’t come from, or entail “retail-therapy”:

  • Give some good quality, under-used stuff/clothes to charity
  • Give time or money to charity
  • Give food to a food-bank
  • Volunteer
  • Plant a tree
  • Call that relative or friend you’ve not seen or heard from for years
  • Don’t Zoom – meet for a coffee instead
  • Call on a neighbour, see if they need help, errands run, garden dug, leaves collected…
  • Dance!

You know how good you’ll feel, rightly, about yourself and the world. 

“An act of kindness in today’s society is a radical act.” – Charles Eisenstein

Or as Re-Action “Don’t Shop, Share!” implore – once more in case you forgot:

  • Share something
  • Repair something
  • Get out in the fresh air

Photo by cottonbro studio

Recent Posts