Why We're Boycotting Black Friday
Every year, insane crowds of people flood stores, malls, and shops around the country hoping to grab as much stuff, at a discounted price, as possible. In some eyes, it is seen as a victory if one gets the lowest possible price for an item, and warrants envy from others who may have paid more, or will pay more for the same item, at a different time. The craziness that ensues on this “national holiday” outlines the very reasons why Black Friday in unethical, and why the ethical industry has started to shy away from “celebrating” this day.
Rapid, Unnecessary Consumption
Fast-fashion got its’ name because it is created quickly, with low quality, and consumed for a few uses before being thrown out. The entire process of consuming, using, and disposing of items in this rapid consumption loop is “fast.” Therefore, rapid consumption rates on holidays like Black Friday perpetuate a society that thrives on quick consumption and quick waste creation, contributing to the negative environmental effects of landfills and un-recyclable materials. It also perpetuates a mindset that we need to consume more, more, more, and that this societal norm is okay, and one that does not need to be challenged or changed.
Cheap prices, means cheap labor, which means the unfair treatment of workers around the globe. Just think of the factory workers who are employed by large corporations, specifically those who have been accused of using sweatshop-like working conditions. In gearing up for the high demand of the holiday season, how much harder do you think those workers are expected to perform? Unfortunately, no matter how many extra hours they put in to meet the demand of Black Friday, they are left overworked, and underpaid.
On the topic of workers, each year it seems that Black “Friday,” gets earlier and earlier, with some stores even opening Thanksgiving Night. Not only does this take away from the actual holiday spent with family, it forces retail workers to participate in this holiday, whether they would like to or not, working long, sometime over-night hours to satisfy consumers until the retail holiday has ended.
The mindset of Black Friday is to “get all the deals.” This means going to whatever store you’re going to get the cheapest price for your item. Because of this, you’re not slowing down to take the time to think about who made your item, or how much use you will actually get out of that product. Think of a capsule wardrobe: in creating a capsule wardrobe you must consider each item that you want to be part of your closet. You then consider where you will buy this item so that its’ quality will last a long time, and usually so that you know its’ maker. This mindset is the exact opposite of the mindless consumption habits formed during Black Friday season. This is also the reason why Cyber Monday, when purchasing from the right brands, can be used in an ethical fashion. As the consumer, you can mindfully choose which websites you consume from, instead of walking into every shop with a sale sign at the mall.
For these reasons and more, as a company, we have decided to boycott Black Friday. We hope that those who have taken a stand about the unethical practices of this retail holiday will start to spark a movement away from rapid consumption, and towards more mindful purchases for the holidays.