What's the deal with all the deals? A look at Black Friday

Onesta Journal

What's the deal with all the deals? A look at Black Friday

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With Black Friday only a week away, I am always curious about what deals are on offer, especially since lockdown on 2020 didn’t allow anyone to go in store. There are bound to be a lot of people keen to snap up a great deal. 


So, let’s delve into the actual origins of Black Friday, as it was a surprise to me that it’s actually been in American society since the 1800s. Through the 1980s it spread quickly becoming connected to the Thanksgiving holiday. But of course, that doesn’t concern us, so when and how did Black Friday arrive in the UK? 


Simply put, Amazon. Although there were probably some stores beginning to use the marketing ploy beforehand it really didn’t take off for us till a fateful November weekend in 2010. Amazon’s products sold out in seconds and an inevitable website crash happened multiple times, marking the shopping frenzy date in our calendars from there on out Argos was next and had the UKs first in-store Black Friday sales in 2013, and in the same chaos we see now, there was fighting, broken bones and people desperate to grab those bargains. I don’t understand it myself, is it really worth a trip to the hospital for a new TV? But the trend hasn’t gone, and today almost every business offers Black Friday sales with people loving the bargains, the average person spent £350 in the sales in 2018.  


Now, due to the growing popularity a new day called Cyber Monday was created and happens just three days after Black Friday so we as consumers have more time to snap up those deals. Essentially the same idea but happening only online, the two days merged and it’s just an extension of the Black Friday deals, some even lasting for a whole ‘Cyber Week’.  


So, obviously it’s no lie that everyone loves a sale and Black Friday is good to shop for Christmas presents and makes more expensive items available to everyone. But it does come at a cost. 


When we order something online, we get the item, of course, the packaging of the item if there is any, the box or bag the item comes in and any extra padding for the journey. I found that 40% of plastic that is produced is used for packaging, and I’m guilty of it too, but the packaging is the first thing to be thrown away. In 2019, Amazon had 7 billion packages that contained some sort of plastic in them, and this created 465 million pounds of waste. When you think about people returning the stuff they’ve bought, this is double the amount of plastic used and wasted.  


You have to think about actually delivering the order as well, I found that in 2017 81% of Black Friday purchases were for home delivery, and almost every business offers next day delivery, who can resist getting their purchase quicker? Anyway, Amazon had to send out a delivery truck nearly every minute to keep up with this demand, and Black Friday has only gotten more popular since 2017, creating a huge increase in greenhouse gas emissions, not forgetting our own health risks with the constant air pollution in our atmosphere. 


Black Friday isn’t good, all in all, so what can we do instead to help lessen the environmental damage of the day? Well let me tell you about Green Friday, aptly named as it challenges the Black Friday chaos and most importantly the waste that it produces every year and asks people like you and me to think and act sustainably. These are some ways that everyone can take part: 


Before starting to spend, take a moment to think if you really need the item and why. If it’s to replace something, can the old one be fixed? Will the item be used multiple times? Is it within your budget? If you answer yes to all of these and you do want to try and find an amazing bargain this Black Friday, then there is so many sustainable and ethical stores that you can buy from instead of places like Amazon. These are some of the team’s recommendations: 


  • Koi Footwear – an amazing vegan, unisex footwear brand that helps you to express yourself through your footwear. They manufacture using ethically sourced and vegan-friendly materials as well as adhering to the correct safety standards in their factories.  


  • Lucy & Yak – an ethical clothing brand that creates vibrant, long-lasting pieces. Created in their own factory in India, that is close to being run by 100% renewable energy! Available in sizes up to 32, and a huge range of representation in their models and staff, Lucy & Yak are paving the way for sustainable and inclusive fashion. 


  • BAUKJEN – a women’s clothing brand based in London that focuses on ethical style. 85% of their collection is made from responsible fibres and they are carbon negative. They are also B Corp Certified! They have a great range of styles in all categories from dresses and jeans to pyjamas and underwear.  


  • Plant Faced – this brand aims to raise the awareness of plant-based and ethical fashion in a bid to preserve our planet through their stylish clothing that promotes the plant-based lifestyle. 100% of their clothing is manufactured in Fair Wear or WRAP certified facilities and all fabrics and products are 100% cruelty-free and vegan.  


But if you don’t need or want to buy anything, you can still join in with Green Friday. It’s easy to get caught up in your laptops and phones, I do every day, it’s especially hard when working from home; so, try to spend some time away from them. A lot of research has said that being outside with nature is incredibly d-stressing, me personally though I like to do yoga every morning if I can or just go and sit in the garden for 10 minutes to get away! Other ways you can give back on Green Friday is supporting a charity, or something in your own local community like gathering food for a food bank, anything small will make a difference. 

But if none of that, spreading awareness of the Green Friday movement is the easiest task to do and will really help to get others to have a positive impact. Sharing social media posts or blogs like the one I’m writing right now will reduce the Black Friday chaos even a little bit. 


We at Onesta will be supporting Green Friday, there won’t be any sales on our website over cyber week and we will instead be posting educational posts to help our own audience and others to become more aware of Green Friday. 


Speak to you soon,