How do you feel about Black Friday?
a) A great way to nab a bargain, whether for yourself or for a Christmas present?
b) Not entirely sure that you’re really getting a bargain?
c) A cynical ploy by big retailers to persuade us to part with our money?
d) Another nail in the coffin for small, independent retailers?
There is, of course, no right answer.
You already know that consumerism is responsible for a host of problems, not least the climate crisis. All those things that are snapped up have been manufactured, packaged and shipped. They are often then delivered to your door, which is all well and good if you really need something, but not quite so good if the item ends up hidden in a cupboard or, even worse, being discarded.
The environmental charity, Hubbub, did an interesting bit of research on the Black Friday phenomenon a few years ago and found that 45% of people spent more money than they could afford because there was a sale on and half of young people said Black Friday encouraged them to buy things they didn’t need.
We don’t think there is any reason to believe things have changed much since then.
To raise awareness, Hubbub created “Bright Friday” as an alternative to Black Friday in 2016. The focus was on fashion (Black Friday is often thought of as a time for big electronic purchases, but it has seeped into every area of shopping). The first campaign took over the streets of Brighton and the following year it took place at three London universities.
The result? Three thousand people took part in associated events and sessions and the campaign extended the life of 639 items of clothing through swapping or repairing which, of course, prevented textiles from going to waste. Importantly, thousands more people heard its message about sustainability and maybe thought twice before whipping our their card.