Should we cancel Black Friday?
Friends, financiers, countrymen. Lend me your ear. I come to bury Black Friday, not to praise it...
Friends, financiers, countrymen. Lend me your ear. I come to bury Black Friday, not to praise it... Pardon the theatrics, but I truly would be willing to stage a full-on Shakespearean showdown to convince everyone that we need to cancel Black Friday. Forever. It’s over. It’s time to go home, Black Friday. You’ve served your purpose, now go out to pasture.
Everything is supremely weird this year, and it’s very easy to lose track of time. Somehow we’ve made it to November, though. In case you’re really behind, this Friday is the infamous “Black Friday”. The day where we ignore our polite urges, trample minimum wage workers, and fight a grandma for the last Cabbage Patch Kid. All to prove we love our friends and family the most.
Now, if there’s anything you know about me it’s that I love me a good soapbox. Last year I discussed the benefits of “Green Friday”, and this year I’m going to turn the heat level up on my take.
Why should we cancel Black Friday?
We simply don’t need it. We don’t need to pull people from their Thanksgiving gatherings. We don’t need to crowd into fluorescent-lit aisles in a desperate bid to get the hottest items to prove our love for our families. We are better than that!
Do you think we should cancel every Black Friday from now on?
That’s going to be a big, honkin’ YES from me.
We truly don’t need to glorify consumerism every year. Especially not on an increasingly polluted planet.
We don’t need to give into lifestyle creep.
We can be wise with our money, and take the time to know when a purchase is worth it.
We don’t need to make frenetic purchases to fulfill our desire for bigger, shinier, and newer.
Now, I know that this may seem like a case of a bleeding heart causing me to turn a blind eye to deals. However, did you know that some Black Friday deals are totally bunk? That’s right! Some retailers fudge pre-Black Friday prices to make it seem like you’re saving more money. Some retailers bring in no-name products for “deals” to get you to shop with them. Endless competition for the best savings leads to a race to the bottom, and you’re the one who has to pay.
What about ordering online on Black Friday?
If you must shop, you might be thinking, “Shopping from home is convenient and doesn't require store employees to have to leave their families on Thanksgiving. I’ll listen to Sarah’s wise advice and avoid the store on Black Friday.”
NO. You misunderstood.
I am genuinely lobbying for us to not shop at all on Black Friday.
Online orders require employees to pack and ship them. If we create increased demand for online orders on Black Friday, people will have to come in and work. Sure, you’ll avoid crowds but those employees won’t. Is it really worth pulling people from their celebrations to get that discount TV?
Obviously, most companies have already scheduled people to work (or not) on Black Friday, but increasing demand for employees means even less people get a dang day to themselves.
What about Cyber Monday?
If you must shop this Thanksgiving season, consider Cyber Monday as a better option. This allows employees to spend Thanksgiving exactly how they’d like to, and you still get deals.
Will I be shopping this Cyber Monday? No. Will I get on a soapbox about you shopping? No.
Plus, not every deal offered over this weekend is a rip-off. You might find some real gems on your Cyber Monday shopping spree.
Black Friday shopping alternatives
Now more than ever, it’s a great idea to support small businesses with your Christmas shopping this year. Check marketplaces like Etsy and even Instagram for a vast array of products made by artisans and small businesses.
You don’t have to shop at all, either. If you’re feeling frugal, check out our list of over 100 frugal gift ideas. Some of these can be made with supplies you already have--no shopping required!
Additionally, Friday, November 27 is Native American Heritage Day. You could observe this day by reading a story about or by a Native American, attending virtual lectures, or trying a delicious Native American recipe. No shopping necessary, and you get to celebrate a unique culture that hasn’t always been recognized for their contributions to our world. A win-win!
Sarah’s last soapbox (for now)
Between social distancing despair and ongoing massive waves of furloughs and layoffs, this has been a tough year for all of us. I don’t mean to say you should skip gift giving, or feel badly about shopping this weekend. I know people appreciate a good deal. I just think we can save money, and respect Native Americans and workers, by skipping Black Friday.