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What to shop on Black Friday, if I do not really need anything?

What to shop on Black Friday, if I do not really need anything?
By Renoon

How do you know you don’t? Black Friday is almost the opposite of sustainability in a way. Why? For multiple reasons. For starters, we get into the usual elephant in the room: overconsumption. Buying and having more things than we need. So, let’s dig deeper into Black Friday: why it exists and how can you respond to the original question of what to buy if you don’t need anything.

Why do we buy what we buy?

Why do they call it Black Friday?

Black Friday has become a staple event between Halloween and Christmas. It is the day where most people do all of their Xmas shopping, as well as buy things for themselves that they can now afford.

The first mentions of a Black Friday occurred back in the 1950’s/60’s in Philadelphia, U.S. The Philadelphia Police Department used the term to describe the traffic jams and intense crowding of the downtown retail stores that would happen as soon as Thanksgiving was over.

It marks the beginning of Christmas season!

What to shop on Black Friday, if I don't really need anything? 2021
Image via Sheep Inc.

Why is Black Friday so big?

As the term started to spread around, companies started to use it in order to promote their Xmas sales. With the creation of the Internet, the whole concept of Black Friday started to move around globally, influencing companies all over the world to use this term as well!

This is how Black Friday ended up being the way it is today – a day dedicated to shop and shop and shop. It’s important to point out that sometimes, most of these purchases are driven by the low number on the price tag, rather than by pure necessity.

What to shop on Black Friday, if I don't really need anything? 2021
Image by Tim Walker (1999)

Where are the best Black Friday deals in 2021?

Inside your own wardrobe, for sure! It depends on what you mean when talking about deals. It’s cheaper to buy on Black Friday, but it’s definitely free to not buy. If we also think about environmental and social costs, would there be something better we could do for Black Friday?

We actually asked various brands on Renoon, what they are doing for Black Friday: some of them DO offer deals, others are taking a stand because the prices they offer are already at a fair price, that cannot go any lower! Or even donate more to causes, instead of reducing the price.

In this post we did with Chicks for Climate we actually dig into how small businesses struggle to do big sales! It’s actually impossible!

So the best deals for Black Friday would be: to not buy anything, buy from brands that are donating, or buy at a fair price.

How is Black Friday anyway linked to sustainability?

Over consuming is one of the problems when we talk about sustainability. Like we said before, most people tend to have a desire to shop (a lot) because they can afford it. Companies have managed to paint Black Friday as the only day in the year where you can shop as much as you can without feeling guilty.

However, what many don’t realize is the environmental impact that the overconsumption of clothes have. To put it visually, over 39,000 tonnes of clothes were found in the Atacama Desert in Chile. Clothes that people chose to throw away because they no longer wanted them, instead of opting for more responsible options like upcyling them, donating them, and the most important one, thinking before buying them.

What to shop on Black Friday, if I don't really need anything? 2021
Image by Michelangelo Pistoletto

It is also important to point out that since the demand for new items is so high during this season, garment workers are expected to produce even more clothes yet their wages still remain low. Overall, Black Friday encourages overconsumption of unnecessary clothes, and unethical labor.

We do know however that many use this day to invest in themselves or their loved ones, maybe for Xmas, or maybe for another reason, which is why we encourage people to shop smart. If you’re going to participate in Black Friday, then why not do it responsibly with brands that have sustainability at heart?

We have created a campaign to support those small brands that craft products responsibly, not thinking about themselves but about the planet. You can discover this initiative here.

What to shop on Black Friday, if I don’t really need anything?

You guessed the answer is: re-think what you need! If you are just shopping because it’s cheaper & you don’t know how the item is made and by whom, don’t! Avoid! If you can be part of a transformation and still do something that feels good for you, you know the options.

There are other resources: Renoon’s mind map on Instagram

Interesting book by Aja Barber: Consumed

What to read next


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