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Why boycott Black Friday?
Amy Arfi
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Much like many consumer traditions and trends, there is no surprise that Black Friday originates from the very heart of capitalism, the US. Initially, the term coined by Philadelphia police for the traffic and pedestrian rush noted the day after Thanksgiving. To the modern online shopper, just the mention of Black Friday, let alone Cyber Monday, causes our eyes to light up with pound signs and our fingers twitching at our screens. 

Slowly over the last decade, this shopping craze has seeped into the UK and the worldwide retail scene to where it’s at now: a legitimate event participated in by most retailers online and in-store even though many feel they would rather not take part. Black Friday is your chance to save on the Christmas presents early, or nab yourself a fantastic deal on that item that has been sitting in your virtual basket for weeks. Unfortunately, however, many will argue the lure of Black Friday has subsided due to the suspicion that brands - primarily in the online fast fashion arena - will just prop up their prices beforehand to cut them back down on Black Friday, advertising huge savings and fooling most of us into a false sense of security that we are making a genuine saving. What once appeared as an unbelievable chance to buy products at really cheap rates suddenly does not seem so persuasive. With environmental warnings cautioning us of the dangers that fast fashion and overconsumption have on our planet, it’s time the everyday consumer looked past the bottom of their purses and into the darker side of Black Friday.

At buyfair, we’re boycotting the trend, and whilst we want you to still make the best savings you can, we think you should consider it too and here’s why...

Last year’s Black Friday saw Barclaycard’s transaction value increase by 16.5% compared to 2018, as the bank deemed it an ‘outstanding’ year for buyers and retailers. There was some speculation, however. Springboard, a consumer insights company, told The Guardian that there was mounting evidence to suggest Black Friday spends were just displacements of those that would have taken place in early December before Christmas. There we were believing that it was now or never when in actuality, people were just shopping earlier, not necessarily more. Similarly, the consumer group ‘Which?’ launched an investigation in 2016 into Black Friday deals on electronics sold by major UK retailers. It found that out of 178 product deals, only 90 of those were actually cheapest on Black Friday, as the remaining 88 had been cheaper within the previous three months leading up to the event.  

It warned, “Consumers should be wary of claims of massive savings this Black Friday as they may not be as spectacular as they seem,” said Pete Moorey, the head of campaigns at Which?. “Shoppers might be surprised to learn that only half of Black Friday deals are cheapest on Black Friday.”

If this isn’t enough to put you off, then maybe the scare of overconsumption will do. It’s not news that in our modern world, we have more stuff than ever. Stuff that isn’t necessary, and will continue to live on this planet long after we will, in landfill. Black Friday encourages excess and lavish spending behaviour, which often persuades us into buying items that we don’t need for the pure reason that it is such a good deal and that we would be stupid to miss out. We’ve all been there; there is no shame, but perhaps people are waking up to the idea that less isn’t more when it comes to price tags. It’s also no shock that this adds up to a wider environmental issue. 

Clothes are not surprisingly the biggest culprit, as the throwaway culture introduced by fast fashion brands and their cheap prices mean, we are buying more clothing than ever before in this country. Because the fashion cycles come around so quick, this ultimately leads to millions of items being burned in an overstock crisis. A government report overlooking figures from 2017-19 states that, “While incineration of unsold stock ‘recovers’ some energy from the products, it multiplies the climate impact of the product by generating further emissions and air pollutants that can harm human health.” Buying more and burning remains is wasteful, and whilst nobody is expecting everyone to stop buying new completely, it is undeniable that Black Friday is perpetuating these harmful ideologies surrounding excess consumption. 

As with everything, the message here is that moderation is key. Actively sourcing more sustainable ways to shop is the future, but as always, we understand that a bargain is a bargain. 

At buyfair, we don’t want you to have to compromise, which is why the majority of our stock is sold at a lower price all year round. That’s right, incredible prices, all year round - not just on Black Friday. No persuasive or misleading marketing, no racketeering, just discounted, high-quality product 24/7, 365. Whilst we understand that some things just sound too good to be true, our brands at buyfair really are the real deal. When you order from us, the product you will receive will come to you directly from the warehouse of the brand you are purchasing from, meaning you won’t have to pay for all the little added extra costs that would usually cause your shopping basket to increase in price without you even being aware. To aid the issue of overconsumption, our products are high-quality luxury stock that just didn’t get enough time on display to sell - a common problem when retail seasons change so quickly. We showcase these products on our site to ensure every last piece goes to a loving home, without resorting to sending it to landfill. 

If you are getting into the Christmas spirit and want to get your present buying in early, we only ask that before you rush to the Black Friday sale rails or click on those tempting emails, take a walk on the sustainable side - you may just find yourself an even better saving. 

Check out our site for a plentiful range of sustainably sourced gifts, homeware and much much more.

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