Black Friday: To Shop, or Not To Shop?

Hands up, who’s participating in Black Friday this year? I’m a renowned anti-Black Friday fan, but there is definitely an ethical conundrum around the biggest sales push of the year.

Firstly – I don’t advocate the boycotting of Black Friday. There are some benefits to the discounts and offers listed. I grew up in a working class family, and sales were something we waited for. Black Friday offers an opportunity to purchase much wanted and needed items at a lower price, which is great. At the same time, I ask you to approach it like we did: with a little planning first.

4 Questions to ask yourself this Black Friday

My biggest piece of advice for navigating Black Friday is to write a shopping list ahead of time – in my house, we routinely round-up all our Christmas wish lists ahead of time so we can shop better, and only purchase things we need over the Black Friday weekend.

Shopping more sustainably is a balance between changing your buying behaviour, and also demanding better. So while I’m not saying don’t shop, I am saying shop responsibly. Black Friday is designed to shift all the rubbish no-one wanted across the rest of the year, as well as entice you into time-pressured offers to make you buy more, and think less.

The statistics say it all: almost a quarter of Black Friday purchases are based on hype and impulse.

In order to support a more sustainable shopping period, ask yourself these questions while preparing for the biggest shopping weekend of the year:

1. Do you need it?

Like, do you really need it though? This is a question to be asked anytime you fancy shopping, but even more so on Black Friday. Don’t allow the time pressure and flashy deals to cloud your judgement.

2. Can you buy it second-hand instead?

One of the easiest ways to shop more sustainably is to go for second-hand items instead. This reduces the demand for new labour, new materials, and shipping emissions too. I’ve recently been shopping a lot on Gumtree, and the ability the shop locally makes it an even better way to reduce my impact and still get the things I love.

3. Could you #ShopEthicalInstead?

If second-hand isn’t an option, consider buying from ethical and sustainable brands. Lucky for you, the wonderful people behind Ethical Hour have curated a virtual high street for ethical brands ahead of Black Friday, so make sure to check these out! Otherwise, why not have a look through my ethical shopping guides which will hopefully point you in the right direction?

4. Is the retailer ethical?

Finally, if you can’t live without it, or buy it second-hand, or buy it from an ethical/sustainable brand, at least consider buying your item from an ethical retailer. I don’t, and never will, link you through to ‘The Big A’, because of their awful labour practices, business practices, and continued tax evasion. My top picks would be John Lewis*, an organisation that gives each employee part-ownership of the company, a share of its annual profits, and a say in how it is run, or Etsy*, which lists independent sellers and carbon offsets all of its deliveries.

Don’t like Black Friday? Support these campaigns instead…

If you are totally anti-Black Friday, consider supporting the following campaigns:

Green Friday – Fashion-focused campaign with events across the Black Friday weekend, highlighting the damaging impact of the fashion industry.

Just Friday – Five-year-old campaign run by Traidcraft, asking shoppers to spend their money with Fairtrade and ethical businesses instead.

White Monday – Championing the circular economy, White Monday is urging shoppers to recycle, reuse, and rent, instead of buying for the sake of buying.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links (denoted with '*')



  1. Patricia & Miguel
    November 21, 2019 / 11:55 am

    Shop consciously is the only approach people should take at all times, but I reckon that during Black Friday things go crazy, it is like the apocalypse! Those are great tips, we will partake of course but always with mindfulness and consciousness, always supporting brands that really value the planet and communities 🙂

    Love & Light ☽

    • November 21, 2019 / 1:39 pm

      Shopping with mindfulness is the perfect way to approach Black Friday – and shopping generally! Thank you for the lovely comment.

      B x

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