Let's Address the Black Friday Woes

Everytime Thanksgiving comes around, it’s thought that in the spirit of the holiday, most Americans are thinking of what they’re grateful for in life. Family, friends, pets, education, tacos...really anything. However, the holiday is often clouded by another event that many American shoppers may consider its own national holiday, Black Friday.

Often, it’s the only day of the year where Americans will be motivated to wake up a few hours after midnight to hassle the lines of shoppers and be the first to get the hottest products. Many Americans even try to leave the dinner table early on Thanksgiving day just to get their hands on bargain deals.

Even though Black Friday has already passed, the deals are still in full force, and the effects are being witnessed on an international level. This big demand for Black Friday shopping forces workers away from their families on the holiday, when many would rather be cozied up at home and celebrating the things they’re thankful for. Rushed delivery services force workers to work strenuously by the minute to deliver numerous products, often while being underpaid and lacking in benefits, as shown by many corporations such as Amazon and Walmart. It makes a lot of Americans question the morality surrounding the annual shopper’s holiday. It also begs the question, is it even sustainable to have so many people shopping this one day?

Teen Vogue reported that last year’s Black Friday, “Americans spent $6.2 billion in online sales...which was nearly a 25% increase over the previous year.” Let’s face it, Black Friday ushers in mass overconsumption of fashion, technology, in addition to an array of other commodities. Not to mention, “The fashion industry produces 20% of global wastewater and 10% of global carbon emissions.” Obviously, Black Friday isn’t going to help this crisis. Not only are large conglomerates producing an excess of waste just for the sake of the overzealous tradition, but these products are being forced into fruition through fast mass production, which derive from a taboo that many Americans like to avoid, human trafficking. The urgency for numerous shipments of these mass produced items also creates a larger carbon footprint by itself.

Look, there’s nothing inherently wrong with the idea of trying to score some deals on a day where endless sales are available. But the culture that Black Friday has pervaded into not only America, but across the globe, tells people that shopping should be done just for the sake of it, which does not promote sustainable living. Seeing as though online shopping has only sky-rocketed in recent years, Black Friday will be here to stay, and the havoc it creates will also remain a tradition.

 

References Used: https://www.teenvogue.com/story/brands-against-black-friday-sustainability