Sustainability made simple

Why You Should Skip Black Friday This Year

Black Friday 2019 deals cycle of consumption
Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Pixabay - webandi

Black Friday 2022 falls on the 25th of November. Another year, another round of irresistible deals and billions in corporate profits. However, there are many reasons not to participate in Black Friday this year.

On the evening of November 25th, many American families will be enjoying a pleasant Thanksgiving meal with their loved ones, lingering over dessert, or playing board games well on into the evening. In other households, folks cancel their Thanksgiving festivities early to get the first pick at a variety of discounted goods. That is part of America’s “holiday”: Black Friday.

Consumer Holidays 2022: Black Friday and Cyber Monday

black friday sale
One of the most infamous (consumer) holidays in the United States is Black Friday. (Foto: CC0 / Unslpash / Tamanna Rumee)

On Black Friday, stores drop prices massively in order to sell off existing stock prior to the Christmas rush. Massive savings on last season’s products means shoppers go to great lengths to secure the best deals possible. Some of the most extreme images of Black Friday shoppers that come to mind are those of campouts in front of stores days before sales begin — and of thousands of shoppers rushing through the doors the second they are opened.

Right after Black Friday’s deals on last season’s stock comes the day of digital deals: Cyber Monday. Online shops offer a tempting alternative for those who’ve decided to stay home and skip the hassle of Black Friday shopping.

When it comes to shopping, Black Friday’s and Cyber Monday’s “unbeatable” deals often put us in a state somewhere between stress and indulgence. We’re on a frantic mission not to pass up any deal we might not see again while simultaneously allowing ourselves the indulgence of shopping on a grand scale. Sounds familiar?

The odds of buying things we actually need are slim.

Our tip: Stick to consuming hearty food with good company this Thanksgiving — instead of buying cheap products. Enjoy the holiday sustainably and make yours a Green Thanksgiving!

If you do decide to cut the Thanksgiving operation short to snag a spot in line at your favorite store, or you make the rounds the following day, one question you should ask yourself while shopping is: Do I even need this?

Unnecessary and wasteful consumption is just the tip of the iceberg. Here are five reasons to skip Black Friday shopping this year.

1. Black Friday Deals Aren’t Always What They Appear

Black Friday sale deals discounts misleading fake
Many discounts and deals on popular items can be quite misleading. Here’s why. (Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Unsplash - Justin Lim)

Very common during the week leading up to the country’s Black Friday holiday are ad spots claiming “The Best Black Friday Deals of 2022”, “Unbeatable Markdowns” and “Door-busting Savings” on endless items in stores all across the US. Many times, however, these deals aren’t what they’re chalked up to be.

Some retailers are known to increase prices prior to the door-busting Black Friday deals they tout, thus allowing them to drop prices without losing money on the item. In the end, you may only pay slightly less than at any other point in the year.

Black Friday deals are also slowly coming to an end. Brick-and-mortar retailers and online distributors mark down items on a regular basis. One notable example is Amazon Prime Day. Doorbuster deals and online opportunities alike are no longer just concentrated around Black Friday but happen at various points throughout the year.

Black Friday’s demise is also due in part to the rise of convenience shopping. Sales and discount deals are no longer centered around one particular day. Black Friday deals sometimes already start one week before Black Friday (also called Black Week) and continue on into the weeks after Thanksgiving.

If you’re set on going shopping on November 25th, this leaves you time to really consider the item you want.

2. You Buy Stuff You Don’t Need

Black Friday deals make us happy
Shopping puts us in a mental state of pleasure. (Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Unsplash - Charles)

Binge shopping produces chemical effects in our brains similar to the reactions seen from certain drugs. Neuroscientist Christian Elger studies these effects and has made some interesting discoveries about what goes on in our heads while we’re hunting Black Friday bargains.

The joy we get from shopping is often attributed to the activation of our brain’s reward system. The neurons that are triggered give us a pleasant feeling. “And that feeling is so strong that our brain tends to forget everything else at that moment,” Elger says.

“Compared to regular prices, words like sale or deal activate the reward system a lot more. To compensate, we have regions in our brains that are supposed to rationalize whether the purchase is necessary or not. But when confronted with discounts, this region is barely active. You just grab and buy without properly considering factors like necessity.”

This is not too surprising when we consider what we intend to buy versus what we come home with on big-deal shopping days like Black Friday. In the end, most of the things we buy we don’t actually need.

Suddenly, your closet is packed, boxes filled with unused items line your attic, and fishing things out of cupboard drawers becomes an ordeal. Consume less and you’ll find it actually makes things simpler, reduces stress, and makes you just a bit happier.

3. Black Friday Enhances the Consumption Loop

Black Friday deals sale sign
Retailers often promise substantial savings on items with discounted Black Friday deals. (Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Unsplash - Daniel von Appen)

Many who go Black Friday shopping claim to use this day of deals to grab a favorite item they’ve had their eyes on for a while.

However, amidst endless deals and discounts, it’s not difficult to fall victim to the savings and return home with far more than you planned on buying. And that is what retailers are counting on.

This is particularly pertinent when it comes to trend-fashion shopping. This Black Friday you should remind yourself that 2022 trends are short-lived, but your taste in clothes isn’t. Deals are available at many other times of the year.

If you’re on the fence about something you see in the store, sleep on it. Chances are you can find the same item at a similar price at a later date. Plus, you’ll save yourself the hassle of rushing into an overcrowded store simply to spend too much time in line.

Our tip: Looking to simplify shopping for the perfect outfit even further? Check out our tips and tricks for adopting a minimalist wardrobe. This guide provides an introduction to everyday practices in line with current approaches to minimalist living.

4. Quantity Becomes More Important than Quality

Black Friday has one goal and one goal only: to increase retailers’ profits by emptying their warehouses through copious consumption. This Black Friday 2022, millions of people worldwide will buy millions of things they probably don’t need for the sole reason that they appear “cheaper” than at other times throughout the year.

The branches making the most significant profits off of these deals are the electronics and cosmetic industries. One day’s sales can bring in billions.

Buying on a whim on Black Friday also doesn’t leave us time to consider the quality of the goods we buy and the environmental impact these may have. Considering the materials involved and the production methods are an essential part of sustainable consumption.

Conscious consumption not only saves you money – it can expand your horizons as well. Check out our guide on 10 Everyday Green Living Ideas: Sustainability on a Shoestring Budget for more insight on how to protect the environment while also saving yourself a buck or two on the way.

5. People get Injured in the Rush for Good Deals

Black Friday accidents ambulance
Every year on Black Friday, reckless behavior causes numerous accidents and sends people to the hospital. (Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Unsplash - JAI FOTO)

The term “mishap” may indeed be a gross understatement of what goes down in some stores offering “unbeatable” Black Friday deals. Every year, employees and shoppers suffer severe injuries in the chaotic rush through the store doors.

Blinded by the shopping rush, crowds of eager shoppers storm the doors of the nation’s most popular retail outlets, throwing elbows and clearing their own path to the markdowns any way they can. Many of these scenes are aired the next day on national television as a warning against the reckless behavior of selected shoppers.

According to a study of Black Friday consumer ill-conduct, behind much of shoppers’ rowdy and blatantly rude behavior are feelings of unfairness and scarcity. Sharron Lennon, professor in the merchandising program at Indiana University and author of the study, found examples of such unpleasant behavior in the form of line-cutting, uncivil interaction with other shoppers, and police or security guards.

Consumers faulted the retailers offering Black Friday deals for the scarcity of the goods advertised. This blame sparks what Lennon calls consumer competitive arousal — a situation where there are clear-cut winners and losers when it comes to securing bargains.

The results are the absurd scenes we see on TV and in clips online. Do yourself and your nerves a favor and skip the hustle and bustle awaiting you on Black Friday 2022.

Skip Black Friday 2022 and Consume Mindfully Instead

Minimalist wardrobe closet clearing tips
Mindful consumption helps us avoid stress. (Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Unsplash - Sarah Dorweiler )

It’s not a crime to go shopping or scour the internet for the best-discounted deals on Black Friday. We’re not trying to force you to abstain from shopping on Black Friday or Cyber Monday, but we’re hoping the wide range of reasons to skip the tradition this year speak for themselves. In the end, we only buy things on this consumer holiday because they’re cheap.

In the name of sustainable consumption habits and informed consumer decision-making, we suggest taking a responsible approach to consumption. Take inventory of what you have, make sure what you have you actually use, and purchase on an as-needed basis.

Mindful consumption helps us avoid stress and accumulating unnecessary items, teaches us how to be more sustainable, and lets us appreciate what we have.

Read more:

This article was translated and adapted by Evan Binford. You can view the original here: Black Friday: 5 Gründe, warum du nicht mitmachen solltest.

** Links to retailers marked with ** or underlined orange are partially partner links: If you buy here, you actively support, because we will receive a small part of the sales proceeds. More info.

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