And while we are at it, what even is Black Friday?!
The term “Black Friday” was first used on Sept. 24, 1869, when two investors, Jay Gould and Jim Fisk, drove up the price of gold and caused a crash that day. The stock market dropped 20% and foreign trade stopped. Farmers suffered a 50% dip in wheat and corn harvest value.
In the 1950s, Philadelphia police used the “Black Friday” term to refer to the day between Thanksgiving and the Army-Navy game. Huge crowds of shoppers and tourists went to the city that Friday, and cops had to work long hours to cover the crowds and traffic.
Merchants in the area tried to change the name to “Big Friday,” but the alternative name never caught on.
So really, it's another of those American cultural habits that we have all taken on board in a big way, like halloween! According to a recent Guardian article, in the US, 70% of the population - 164 million people, plan to shop this weekend!
A recent survey of 1,003 Australians reveals that 71% – equivalent to 13.8 million Australians – plan on shopping this Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The research shows Aussies will spend $3.9 billion in November on a variety of products including clothes, beauty, gadgets and travel.
In reality, there is little evidence that goods are genuinely reduced, but it pumps up a buying frenzy that potentially feeds into the approximately $400m of unwanted Christmas gifts that Australia wastes each year. Whilst we are mentioning Christmas waste, why not join social enterprise The World's Biggest Garage Sale to pledge to buy at least one second hand Christmas gift this year through their #onesecond campaign!
What Black Friday actually seems to do, is not only convince people to buy things they don't want because they think they're getting a bargain, but also to create a whole load of pollution! We don't have stats for Australia, but in the UK, this saw 82,000 diesel vans and trucks on UK roads in 2017, raising concerns of air pollution spikes on residential streets as more than £7bn of purchases are delivered. Significant amounts of purchases are expected to be plastic toys and games, further adding to the pollution spike.
So, like many brands, we say no to Black Friday bargains. We're happy our customers don't make decisions based on price alone, in fact the research we have undertaken with over 400 of our customers shows us that for just over 60%, cited 'clean materials' as the number one buying consideration, with 22% putting 'who made it' first priority, and 'cost' came in at first priority for only 18% of those surveyed.
Chiara Campione, Greenpeace’s global project leader. “This shopping binge also generates greater volumes of waste than ever. This dangerous trend is harming our planet. We buy without thinking for a minute, but the waste we create will sometimes last for centuries.”
Buy less, buy better, buy second-hand, or maybe don't buy at all this Black Friday? I mean unless you really need a bed or a fridge or something?