Black Friday is finally here! And it’s time to give it a break.
Every year millions of eager consumers around the world flood high streets and websites to buy products they don’t need and wouldn’t buy were it not for some so-called “unmissable” offer. Except research has shown that, in the UK at least, 95% of the discounts are fake as the prices are hiked shortly before Black Friday.
Meanwhile, have you noticed that just about every shop now has some sort of sale on just about all the time? If you miss those extra inches on your TV this time then you could always try the January sale, or just wait for the next “ultimate” deal at next year’s Black Friday.
The consumer research publication Which? tracked the prices of 83 products on sale on Black Friday (23 November) in 2018 for a year, from six months before the retail bonanza until six months after.
The consumer champion looked at deals from retailers including Currys PC World, Amazon and John Lewis, and found just four (5%) products that were cheaper on Black Friday than at other times of the year.
Natalie Hitchins, Which? Head of Home Products and Services, said: “We have repeatedly shown that ‘deals’ touted by retailers on Black Friday are not as good as they seem. Time-limited sales can be a good opportunity to bag a bargain, but don’t fall for the pressure tactics around Black Friday.”
“Our investigation indicates that this popular shopping event is all hype and there are few genuine discounts.”Natalie Hitchins, Which?
The impact on us is immense. All those millions of products are churned out of factories abroad, often with no regard for sustainability, and then shipped to a shop or fulfilment centre so we can be fooled into buying them with money we don’t have only to dump them when they are no longer practical.
We’re screwing our environment and using up our precious resources. We are loading up our credit cards with debt that costs us more over time unnecessarily, leading to poor mental health and fewer choices in the future. We are reducing our own dignity by following the very system that leads us like lambs to the slaughterhouse.
That’s not to say consumerism is bad. Innovation and improvement in everyday products is how we thrive, creating markets and opportunities for all. But it is this excess consumerism that sees us, in the words of Wilde, seeing the price of everything and the value of nothing.
So this Black Friday, buy nothing that you don’t believe to be useful or beautiful. Forget the bargains unless it is on something you have coveted and craved for a long time.
Log onto Etsy and find yourself a truly beautiful piece of handmade design crafted with care. Visit Ebay and buy something secondhand to be loved again. Or use the sale season to top up your own craft supplies so you can learn and appreciate the process of making beautiful things. Then humanity might start to consume less and value more in a virtuous cycle of pride and sustainability.