This year, so many other companies, Starboard is bucking the crazy consumption trend again and saying no to Black Friday.
Instead we want to encourage you to repair and reuse items that you already have, consume responsibly and at a fair price, and to go Blue this Friday!
But why are we saying this? Isn’t Black Friday a great opportunity for Starboard to make more sales in the lead up to Christmas?
This statement may be true, but we believe that 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 clear out your wardrobe or do a spring clean only to find items you’ve worn once or never used? Way too often, right.
Now ask yourself, how many of these items did you buy in a rush, in a panic or in some sort of ‘amazing’ sale? Probably a lot of them.
Even the most environmentally conscious of us can get caught up in the excitement / panic of Black Friday. Short term ‘One-Day-Only’ sales, crazy discounts and bargains can leave us buying items we don’t need from companies that we wouldn’t normally buy from because they’re not ethical or environmentally friendly.
Over-consumption is the buying of unnecessary items that we just don’t need. It is not just an issue because it clutters our homes but is one of the biggest factors leading to climate change, environmental degradation and pollution. The earth only has finite resources and by continuously buying and consuming so much more than we need, we will soon run out of these resources all together.
Piles Of Hardly Used Clothing Are Discarded Every Day. A Consequence Of Unnecessary Over-Consumption.
Sale Prices Create Unachievable Expectations for Manufacturers
In recent years we have begun to expect the unbelievably cheap prices that are thrown around during the Black Friday sales. Brands all compete 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.
These sale prices don’t reflect the real value of an item and they don’t fairly reflect the cost of labour and materials that go into making them.
When we expect crazy low prices from manufacturers, many just cannot compete. They are often left with a choice between maintaining higher prices and failing to compete in the market OR cutting corners to reduce their costs.
If manufacturers cannot reduce their prices and therefore fail to compete in the market, it creates huge job insecurities for their workers – many of whom will be laid off as a result of less business.
Cutting corners is also problematic and can mean paying workers unfair wages, skipping out on health and safety measures in the factories, or purchasing sub-standard materials. In this situation manufacturers find themselves stuck between the proverbial 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 brands and corporations take advantage of this fact and use their huge buying power to undercut the competition. Charging immensely low prices during the sale periods that smaller companies just cannot match.
Many small and independent businesses depend on making sales in the build up to Christmas to stay afloat. So if we want to continue being able to buy such a variety of exciting and unique businesses, we need to move away from purchasing only from the companies who can afford to host 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.
Despite Big Promotions, it´s hard to spot legitimate Black Friday deals.
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.
Although with gifts it can be a little different, we don’t always buy gifts because someone needs it, but to express our love, care and appreciation. 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 an 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 it’s the BEST PRICE EVER! If you didn’t need it last Friday, then you probably don’t need it this Friday.
And if you did want it before Black Friday, what stopped you from buying 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 really need it then don’t buy it!
Buying something you’re never going to use (even if it is cheaper than usual) is still a waste of your money and our planet’s valuable resources.
3. Can I afford to buy this at full price?
At this time of year many small, independent retailers feel like they have to provide Black Friday discounts to be considered at all by consumers. Sadly this isn’t always what’s best for these businesses.
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 at a fair price.
3. Is this a responsible company?
Before you make any purchase (Black Friday or not), 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 of 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!