Black Friday and A Culture of Overconsumption

Black Friday (and all the mania, buzz, and savings that come with it) is one of the biggest shopping periods of the year, with many companies extending their sales for way longer than the original day, leading up to and beyond Cyber Monday.

If you read our blog, are subscribed to our newsletter, or follow me on social media, you already know how I feel about over-consumption.

Some well-intentioned counter-holidays have emerged from the frenzy, including Small Business Saturday and Giving Tuesday. But we’re still being told and sold exactly how (and how much) we are meant to consume.

All in the span of a few days, we are bombarded with deals, specials, and reasons to consume, for US Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday. Then, we’re told to be generous on Giving Tuesday. Eat, shop, shop small, shop online, and then give. While I appreciate the reminder, giving and shopping small (and hopefully consciously as well) shouldn’t just be relegated to one occasion, it should be woven into everything we do. With every purchase we make, with every dollar we spend, we are casting a vote for the kind of world we want to live in year round .

Before we pull out our wallets, it’s important to consider:

  1. What purpose does it serve?
  2. Where was it made?
  3. Who made it?
  4. How long will I be able to use it for and benefit?
  5. Where will it go when I’m done with it?

After going through this list and feeling satisfied with the answers, if there’s something you do actually need, we keep an updated list of our favourite good things made by good people right here.

Note: As far as Black Friday deals go, we adore REI’s campaign to get people to #OptOutside. Kudos to them for not only giving their employees a paid day off to buck standard tradition of frenzied shopping for time in nature, but also for promoting it with the intention of getting the concept to spread. And, as if we didn’t love Patagonia’s brilliant “Don’t Buy This Jacket” campaign enough, in 2016 they pledged to donate 100% of Black Friday sales to grassroots environmental organizations. Thanks to companies like these, we can all hopefully look forward to new Black Friday trends and everyday trends in years to come.