Has Black Friday Gone Too Far?

Black Friday is coming! Black Friday is coming! To be completely honest, I don’t really care. 

My partner and I are pretty small spenders on the whole. That doesn’t mean we don’t appreciate or take advantage of good deals; we just refuse to engage in an orgy of consumerism on a prescribed day like Black Friday.

My sister-in-law, on the other hand, is a die-hard Black Friday shopper. In a normal year, she’d plan a multi-day trip to the US with friends, mapping out the stores and sales she would hit up, and then come home exhausted and with a car busting at the seams. 

How did Black Friday come to be?

In 1939, in the throes of the Great Depression, Thanksgiving took place in the 5th week of November. Retailers were panicked; they thought the holiday shopping season would be too short which could lead them to bankruptcy. So they compelled US President Franklin D. Roosevelt to move the holiday to the fourth Thursday. By the 1950s, people started calling in sick on the day after the holiday and jump-started their holiday shopping. Black Friday was born. 

The term eventually found its way into print—and the collective consciousness of the American people when the American Philatelist, a stamp collectors’ magazine, quoted the Philadelphia Police Department as using “Black Friday” to describe the consumer chaos they were forced to deal with at their downtown stores. 

Though this super-sized shopping event started as a US phenomena, the spending spree has spread around the globe with retailers offering steep discounts to kick off holiday spending.  

What started as a one-day affair has grown into a shopping marathon that lasts for several days and at this time, with a pandemic throttling the desire to shop in person, Adobe Analytics predicts that this year’s online sales will increase by 14.8% (in contrast to 2.7 % projected growth for brick-and-mortar stores). Discretionary funds—usually earmarked for things like holiday travel—will likely also be earmarked for holiday shopping instead. 

What’s the problem with B.F.?

Before the gratitude platitudes are completed over American Thanksgiving dinner, throngs of people are already queuing up for Black Friday discounts—in person and online. 

Bigger retailers have encouraged this behaviour by slashing prices on high-demand, low-inventory products, extending their sales periods, and opening earlier than normal. The fact is there are always more people than products and that has sadly led to door-crashing, smash-and-grab, run-over-your-fellow-neighbour buying frenzies. All in the name of company profits. 

Where do we fit in?

Here at etee, we grapple with the notion of Black Friday. We’ve always admired companies like REI who launched their #OptOutside campaign in 2015 when they closed stores and halted online payments on the biggest shopping day of the year. It was a stunning statement that has since turned into annual tradition.

But like other smaller-sized companies, our survival depends on the holiday shopping season...which kicks off with Black Friday.

If you haven’t already noticed, etee is all about sustainable and mindful purchases. Black Friday sales might seem like a direct affront to that. But we think Black Friday sales actually fit well with our vision of plastic-free living for everyone. 

This is the perfect time to help the people you love live more sustainability. 

We’ve released a ton of new plastic-free products in the last six months that reflect our vision for a plastic-free world—from shampoo and conditioner bars to powdered laundry detergent, and from chewpaste to lotion bars and more. And now it’s all on sale with discounts up to 60% off!

If there’s anything we’ve learned over the 10 months, it’s that the time is right for intentional buying—buying that emphasizes sustainability and refuses to fuel a system based on the exploitation of people and the environment. 

Thanks for continuing to support our business and our goal to make the world a little more connected - everything touches everything else


Stay awesome,
- Chantal + team etee

← Older Post Newer Post →

Leave a comment