This year, as we have since 2019, we’ve decided to close our e-shop for Black Friday as a way of protesting.
If you have been following us for a while now you will know, that we don’t like to take part in the sales that the non-stop shopping driven system in which we live dictates how and when we should spend out money and on what.
We don’t like this type of initiative for the following reasons:
- Hyper-consumerism has serious environmental consequences.
Wasted raw materials, emissions associated with the sale of products that are manufactured on the other side of the world and the number of products simply discarded due to programmed obsolescence are just 3 examples of the harm this type of consumerism can have on the environment.
- We do not want to support a materialistic society in which people simply live to shop.
Black Friday is based on using pressure and urgency in order to get you to buy more. Driving you to believe that you are what you buy. The idea being that you feel if you don’t make a purchase, you don’t exist.
- We don’t like this type of manipulation.
Black Friday uses discounts to make you believe that you are not spending money, but are in fact saving money. Which is not true, if you don’t need to purchase what you are buying.
- Black Friday can be detrimental for people.
On an economic level, Black Friday feeds economic insecurity (if you are not paying for it, who is paying?) and it results in a bitter pill to swallow for small businesses both on and offline. Predominantly for the ethical market, where shops work with tight margins and cannot afford to drop their prices and compete on price alone.
These economic consequences for individuals and for small business are precisely what we want to talk about today.
Black Friday: the exact opposite to fair economic growth
On occasion, Black Friday (and other similar sales) are supported by those arguing that they add to economic growth around the world.
According to the logic behind this system, these specific sales dates make people buy, thereby they create work so that more people can afford to buy things. In the end, they are supposed to generate greater wealth.
However, experience shows us that this is not true.
This is because they have sold us the idea that buying things equals wealth, but: who is it that profits from this excessive buying on Black Friday? Is it the workers who have assembled the stereo systems on a factory floor in China? Is it the people employed in big department stores who have been working poorly paid extra shifts, throughout the month of November? Or is the multinationals that reap the rewards of the huge margins when selling these things?
We are sure that you already know the right answer.
Purchasing this product has an uneven impact on the people who have contributed to making it possible.
Those in the most compromised positions (manufacturing and customer service) generally do not see any substantial improvement to their quality of life. The profits, more often than not, are taken by the big players.
As pointed out in the EAPN’s (European Anti-Poverty Network) 11th report about the level of poverty in Spain: “Experience from recent years is proof that economic growth alone does not reduce poverty or social exclusion”.
This is how Black Friday threatens small business on and offline
But in addition, small businesses along with small producers and artisans who sell their products on a small scale particularly suffer from the effect sales such as Black Friday have, because:
- They can’t compete on price with big companies or new brands with investors and/or shareholders backing them, even within the ethical market. (If you are interested to know more about this we recommend you read this post)
- If they try to do so, because they don’t want to lose their customer base or ruin their Christmas campaign, they have to reduce their margins drastically or perhaps even sell at a loss.
So, if during the Black Friday sales you walk down the street and you see a small business with big discounts, just be aware that the most likely scenario is that they are losing money in order to not lose their customer base.
- But that’s not all, Black Friday sets a dangerous precedent, making those who buy these items think that it is normal to be able to drop the price of a product by 50%, 60%, 80% or 90% without this having a detrimental effect on companies.
This way people begin to think that shops that don’t offer these types of discounts are in fact making a lot of money.
No doubt you have heard someone say: “I am going to stop buying from the local fruit shop, as their prices are through the roof, not like at Me******na” or “Now I just buy everything on Am**on, because the local corner store is soooo expensive”.
Of course, we, like many of the small retailers we sell our products to, and those we buy from on a daily basis, we too offer discounts and specials every now and then:
- Because we need to keep our stock levels moving.
- Because we want our customers to try something new.
- Because we have something to celebrate.
However, in general, they are discounts with a small margin, that we can afford.
That is why, small businesses (online & offline) are fighting a losing battle before they even begin when it comes to Black Friday, competing on price and with big companies’ margins that ensure they can offer the product cheaper in the end, because they don’t pay the consequences.
What you can do: this Black Friday close your small business, share this and/or don’t buy anything
For all the reasons mentioned above, this Black Friday we ask you to:
- If you have a small shop online or offline, join us and close your doors for the day as a way of protesting.
- If you are someone who usually makes purchases at this time, we ask you to stop and think about what we have just explained, that you share this information with others (via social media or by sending it on via email or whatsapp)… and that you don’t make any purchases this Black Friday, but instead invest in what you need from a local small business near you on any other day.
Small business (online & offline) will thank you.
P.S. We would love to know what you think about all this. Would you mind letting us know your opinion by leaving us a comment below?