Opinion

The ultimate unethical mess: Why I don't believe in Black Friday sales

5 min read

23 November 2017

The Black Friday sales are almost upon us. Are you ready for hordes of frenzied people invading physical and online shops, pulling hair like rabid dogs, screaming and shouting the get their hands on a 50 per cent off toaster?

Nothing says First World madness like Black Friday sales, which was originally created by Philadelphia police officers who couldn’t properly do their jobs the day after Thanksgiving and were forced to deal with flocks of people invading the city in order to watch the annual Army-Navy football game.

So, to properly celebrate some desperate policemen who couldn’t take a day off and had to contain turmoil and collective madness, each year we hold a global shopping spree that turns us all nuts. Genius!

Reversing the trend is not only possible, but also necessary if our interest lies in contributing to the war against senseless mass production and neverending waste that is destroying the planet. In order to manufacture trillions of objects, immense resources are used and exploited every single day, with no thoughts given on the toll Nature has to pay.

Do we really need another piece of plastic in our homes? Must we really buy something only because it’s cheap? Is it really worth our while spending a day fighting over poorly made items of clothing?

Take five minutes of your precious, valuable time to consider how much energy (artificial and natural) has been spent and will be spent on that day in order to allow us, the privileged, to purchase stuff that we don’t really need. It really comes down to that.

Meaningful alternatives are within reach and will leave us satisfied and surely happier than a hideous food blender on the kitchen counter.

Upcycle, recycle and donate your previous purchases

Take a look around your house and make sure everything you have in there is absolutely necessary for your wellbeing. Minimalism is not only an art form, if you consider that enough is as good as a feast, right? If not, use the day to literally divide and conquer the piles of objects that you have amassed over time and figure out what could live a new upcycled life, what could be donated to people in need and what needs to disappear from your sight.

Before throwing away the latter category, consider selling it online to spare somebody else the hurdle of going to a mall: by doing that we can reduce carbon emissions, landfill waste and a stressful, useless day.

Support local shops and businesses

Don’t worry, if you really need to go shopping there are more righteous ways to proceed, the first of them being choosing to stay away from big stores and chains (and the collective madness) and spending your money in local businesses which cannot compete with the insane discounts offered by retail chain stores.

Although you may not get ten poorly made polyester t-shirt for the price of one, you will meet new people, maybe discover a designer you instantly fall in love with, sustain the local economy and buy something that no one else has.

Shops that don’t support Black Friday sales

Bosses themselves can look to comit to environmental protection, cruelty free products and fair workers’ conditions. Ethically obtained fabric such as organic cotton, hemp, bamboo and flax can be a valid equivalent and guarantee clean air, reduced water waste and energy-saving processes: these are other reasons why companies choose not to sell out stocks during Black Friday sales.

We are one such company, and giving people something bigger to aspire to than a bigger TV should take priority. Very Kerry will devolve 20 per cent of all orders to buy thermal socks for homeless and will distribute them with the help of Streets Kitchen, an organisation that provides clothing, food, hot drinks, support and a friendly ear, which all drastically helps those sleeping rough to survive the seriously cold nights ahead.

We in the First World pride ourselves with words like civilisation, democracy and culture but more often than not we forget all of our values in the name of the latest trend or the overrated, useless object, ending up exploiting natural resources, damaging and hurting people in less fortunate countries and not taking care of each other.

This year we can start changing the future. Let’s civilise the Black Friday sales.

Kerry Mounsey is the founder of Verry Kerry