If you need stuff, but not the kind that throws the planet into overshoot day after a couple of months only; if you don’t want to endorse the senseless consumerism promoted on Black Friday, and want to make the most of that day by doing anything but shopping on demand, then you should have a look at alternatives brought about by activists, organisations, or ethical brands that want to keep your Black Fridays money-less, shopping-less, blue, green, rainbow, and serenely fulfilling.
If you’re on this site, you’ve probably never wrestled somebody for a 50-inch plasma screen on live television. But this is an image associated with Black Friday these days, clear evidence of other forms of damaging behaviour such events lead to.
So, ready for the alternatives
Buy Nothing Day
Buy Nothing Day started in Canada in September 1992, and was moved to November’s Black Friday only in 1997. This campaign examining over-consumption has become quite popular over the years. The initiative — now a well-established global network present in over 60 countries — asks you to do NOTHING. Just DO NOTHING. Switch off from shopping and tune into life. To make sure you stick to the promise, they came up with a simple rule: for 24 hours you spend no money on anything. It’s a 24 hour moratorium on consuming, a detox. It can be a personal experiment or a public statement, so, no pressure. In other words: Escape the Shopocalypse, Participate by Not Participating and Shop Less, Live More.
If you do nothing on Friday and want others to know about it, you can tweet using #BuyNothingDay or #ShopLessLiveMore. Happy Buy N O T H I N G
REI coop is a US outdoor retailer that came up with the #OptOutside campaign in 2015. On Black Friday they close all their shops, pay their employees to spend their day outdoors, and invite the rest of the world to join. In the meantime, the campaign has been embraced by other businesses too, so you might see #optoutside attached to other brands and individuals. Time outside is more important than any shopping spree. Look up, feel the cool breeze! They’re right, perhaps a walk in the park prescription is what we all need. Do join them outside.
You can join The Earth Guardians for Blue Friday, another counter to Black Friday. This time you have to do something good in your community. Those who join the Earth Guardians team on Friday will start by pick up trash and cleaning their street. Youth, parents, mentors, and elders are asked to join them on this day of service, “because this is the time for collaboration and working together.” If you’re not in Boulder, Colorado, where the organisation is based, you can start a similar action in your town, city, village, street.
Week for Waste Reduction
As it happens — not accidentally, I imagine — this week (17 – 25 November) is also The European Week for Waste Reduction, “an initiative aiming to promote the implementation of awareness-raising actions about sustainable resource and waste management.” It encourages a wide range of audiences (public authorities, private companies, civil society as well as citizens themselves) to get involved. And who wants to buy more when you’re also trying to minimize your waste?! Landfills had enough of Black Fridays. Coincidence or not, it’s hard to adhere to a Waste Reduction week, and then go shopping on Friday. Nope, it doesn’t work, whichever way you look at it.
Others keep it low profile, like Traidcraft and their #JustFriday campaign started in 2014. As they are the original fair trade pioneers in the UK — advocating the importance of organic farming, sustainability, and transparency to the lives of growers and artisans around the world — it’s easy to understand their desire to keep out of the demeaning consumerist stampede. The campaign is a direct response to the “thoughtless shopping behaviour associated with Black Friday.” The campaign encourages people to buy mindfully and ethically, and think twice about the destination of their money. Also a reminder that behind the veneer of opportunity merchandised by Black Friday, it’s really just another Friday.
Join Reverend Billy Talen & his Stop Shopping Choir
If you’re lucky to be in the same city as Reverend Billy Talen and his Stop Shopping Choir, you’ll definitely experience life in the forefront of anti-consumerism. Join the activists-who-sing! “Rev’s church fired the patriarch, has gratitude to the Earth during her big changes”. You can follow them on Twitter and YouTube. Or sing along in their live performances.
What? Cyber Monday?
Oh no, we forgot about it. And that’s a good thing.
See you outside!