Like many other brands, Starboard are bucking the crazy consumption trend again this year and saying no to Black Friday.
Instead we want to encourage you to repair and reuse what you already have, consume responsibly and at a fair price, and to go Blue this Friday!
But Why? Surely Black Friday is a great opportunity for us to sell more in the lead up to Christmas?
That may be true, but the social and environmental costs of Black Friday FAR outweigh any benefits to our business. Let us show you what we mean…
Black Friday Encourages Unnecessary, Over-Consumption
How often do you go through your wardrobe or do a spring clean only to find items you’ve worn once or never used? Too often, right.
Now ask how many of those items were bought in a sale, in a rush, or in a panic? Probably a lot of them.
Even the most environmentally conscious of us can get caught up in the excitement / panic of Black Friday. The short term sales and amazing sounding bargains can leave us purchasing items we don’t need from companies that we would not consider ethical or environmentally friendly.
The over-consumption of items we don’t need is one of the biggest factors leading to climate change, environmental degradation and pollution. The earth has finite resources and the rate we are using them up is completely unsustainable.
It Creates Unachievable Expectations for Manufacturers
As consumers we have come to expect the unbelievably cheap prices that are thrown around during the Black Friday sales. Companies compete with one another to sell items at the cheapest prices possible and as a result we start to believe that these low prices are normal.
But they’re not.
Sale prices don’t reflect the true value of an item and they don’t fairly reflect the labour and materials that go into making them.
When we place these expectations of crazy low prices onto manufacturers, many just cannot compete. They are often left with a choice between maintaining their prices OR cutting corners to reduce their costs.
My maintaining their prices manufacturers risk losing business which, in turn, creates job insecurities for their workers. While cutting corners can mean paying workers unfair wages, skipping out on health and safety measures in the factories, or purchasing sub-standard materials. Quite the definition of being stuck between a rock and a hard place.
It Undercuts Small & Independent Businesses
Not all businesses can afford to reduce their prices, not even for Black Friday.
Big corporations take advantage of this fact and use their huge buying power to undercut the competition by charging low prices that smaller companies just cannot match.
Many small and independent businesses depend on sales in the build up to Christmas to stay afloat. So if we want to continue seeing these exciting and unique businesses, we need to move the focus from only buying in the Black Friday sales.
Black Friday ‘Deals’ Are Not Always What They Seem
Last year, a Which? investigation found that 95% of products discounted as Black Friday deals weren’t listed at their cheapest-ever price. Many products were sold for less earlier in the year, and some were even sold at a lower price after.
Put simply, many brands and stores are using Black Friday ‘Deals’ as a way to panic us into buying things we don’t need at a time that we don’t need it. You can read through the Which? Investigation for tips on how to avoid these fake promotions.
Does This Mean We Shouldn’t Buy Anything This Friday?
Participating in #buynothingday instead of Black Friday is one way to show that you don’t support this consumerism trend. But we also know that Black Friday can be an opportunity for some people to purchase items they need, at a price they can afford.
So before you purchase anything this Black Friday ask yourself these 4 quick questions:
1. Do you NEED it?
Is this going to become just another thing cluttering up your home or wardrobe? Do you own one in working condition? Are you going to be bored of it in a months time? If your answer to any of these is yes, then it’s best save the planets resources and your money on this occasion.
But what about gifting?
With gifts it’s not always as simple as asking if they need it.
This question also works if you’re buying a gift for someone else. Do they need it? Or are you just buying something for the sake of it?
Although with gifts it can be a little different, its not always about buying the necessities but buying gifts to show just how much we care for and appreciate a person. So we are definitely not saying to stop buying gifts!
Instead think about how you can show your appreciation without the social and environmental costs. Can you make a gift? Purchase from a positive impact company or charity? Gift an experience like tickets to a sports event, a gig or a art class?
When it comes to gifts, it really is the thought that counts.
2. Did you want it before Black Friday?
If you didn’t, there is a reasonable chance that you are falling for some fancy advertising trickery. The kind of thing that makes you panic that its your LAST CHANCE TO BUY or its the BEST PRICE EVER! If you didn’t need it on the Thursday, then you probably don’t need it this Friday.
And if you did want it before Black Friday, why didn’t you buy it earlier?
If it’s because you couldn’t afford it, then maybe Black Friday is a good opportunity to make a purchase. But – and really think hard about this – if you didn’t buy it because you weren’t sure about it or because you didn’t need it then don’t buy it!
Buying something you’re never going to use (even if its cheaper than usual) is still a waste of your money and the worlds resources.
3. Can I afford to buy this at full price?
Some smaller, independent retailers feel like they have to provide Black Friday discounts to be considered at all by consumers at this time of year. This isn’t always the best for their business.
If you can afford to pay full price for an item, then make your purchase outside of the sale window. As the famous quote goes: ‘When you buy from a small business, an actual person does a little happy dance’ and that moment is all the sweeter when their product is being bought for a fair price.
3. Is this a responsible company?
Before you buy something, take a couple of minutes to scroll through the company’s website. Do they treat their worker’s fairly? Are they transparent about their Carbon Footprint? Do they support positive impact projects or charities?
Whenever you make a purchase, you are using your money and your choice to support a future you want to see.
So choose wisely.
Choose Blue This Friday
To show your support for Blue Friday, on the 27th November, vote for the seas with your actions, enjoy the ocean (if you reasonably can) and share your best blue pics with the @starboardsup and @starboardwindsurfing community!