And just like that, it was November. Where has this year disappeared to? I woke up this morning to see the start of the online Black Friday whisperings and I’m already spying those Black Friday and Christmas campaigns with adverts on social media.
Now, the cynical side of me will put down my ‘broad-minded’ filter and pick up my wine glass, as I roll my eyes at another opportunity for western world consumerism to grasp us by the purse and take us for a ride. However, I’m not writing this with a glistening halo above my head. I openly admit to loving a spot of shopping and believe if shopping was a sport then I could probably compete for an Olympic medal! However, I fear there is something wrong in our world when my boys, like many other Kiddlywinks, are already enticed by ads and encouraged to think about their Crimbo wish list items!
I love a bit of history so I did some research to find out more about one of the biggest bargain bonanza days in the retail calendar. I was curious to know more about a growing global consumer event that I have always associated with Americans and their U.S Thanksgiving.
The History Of Black Friday
The story of how ‘Black Friday’ came about, dates back to the 1950’s when the police of Philadelphia used it as a term to describe the chaos ensued on a particular Friday during the Thanksgiving holiday. Apparently, one year, hoards of shoppers and tourists flooded into the city of Philadelphia in advance of the big annual Army Vs Navy football game held on the Thanksgiving Saturday. Cue a bit of hot and bothered street tension! In the 1980’s the ‘Black Friday’ term was adopted by retailers who wanted to transform and market it into something that reflected greater positive associations. The result was the ‘red and black’ concept. Suggesting the day after Thanksgiving marked the occasion when American stores finally turned over a profit going from ‘red to black’ in the account books!
Since then the one-day shopping event has turned into a four-day hardcore consumer shopping spree, with the introduction of Small Business Saturday/Sunday and Cyber Monday. “According to the pre-holiday survey this year by the national retail federation an estimated 135.8 million American (58.7%) definitely plan to shop over Thanksgivingving weekend. Though even more, 183.8 million (79.6%) said they would take advantage of the online deals offered on Cyber Monday”. Sarah Pruitt, Nov 22,2015 – What’s the real History of Black History – www.history.com
My Black Friday Shopping History
Once again, I never want anyone to read this post, or any of my posts for that matter, and believe I’m writing from a judgmental or hypocritical angle. After all, retail therapy has whispered my name, many a time in the past!
Previous Black Fridays have seen me dropping my husband off at the shops on my early morning drive to work. All on the mission of buying the Christmas ‘family gift’ iPad from my parents with a brilliant Black Friday price tag! There is also that time I bought one of my beloved Bella Freud jumpers online, at bloody 2am!! Consequently, the ‘sensible shopping fairies’ had the last laugh as a week later I started sweating at the sight of two texts on my phone. One text from DHL with news of my exciting impending Bella delivery and the other text from my hubby, to say he was staying home that day as he was sick, cue a guilt-ridden post-shopping face!
As always, I say ‘you do you and I’ll do me’. But if your bank balance is telling you to behave and you can memorise your credit card number above your beloved’s phone number then don’t accept that Black Friday pressure to buy anything you don’t need- just because it’s a bargain. Now, it’s a completely different matter if you are in dire need of a new coat as your current one is worn or damaged and this is your opportunity to buy one-half price before the real winter cold weather sets in – that just seems smart! But do you really need another coat when you have 20 coats hanging in the hallway closet? And yes, I’m purely writing this to myself here!
My New Black Friday Tradition
Ok, so this is a new little tradition for me. It all started last year when I put up a post on my Instagram. You see, last year I was Skinty McSkint. I was watching those countless Instagram and blog posts pop up regarding the best Black Friday shopping deals with all of their recommendations for the mighty things to snap up and buy! I enjoy watching people’s wardrobes unfold on those magical little Insta squares, but it can be too easy to spend money you don’t have when you shout out “me too” while ordering that latest lust-worthy dress. Last year I decided that instead of buying on Black Friday, I would instead donate a black bin bag of clothing.
Gather Up A Black Bag
Last year I gathered up some pieces I was no longer in love with and dropped them off at a donation point for a local women’s shelter. There’s no doubt about it, it simply feels good to do good! There are so many incredible national charities to choose from, with Barnardo’s being a brilliant one! This challenge is a win-win in my book.
Why buy something you don’t really need, just because it’s Black Friday? Use it as a day of wardrobe reflection and offer up a piece that has outlived its life with you and is ready to move on and make another person smile! There’s something so powerful about supporting people, regardless of what walk of life they come from.
I can’t help but think we need to slow everything down. We have been warned and now I see that we are fast becoming a world of “more is more” consumerism. If there are any others out there who love a good shop and feel the magnetism of the Instagram squares, fashion blogs and shopping email lists offering up those ‘must have’ of best buys on Black Friday. Then join me in my ‘Black Friday Black Bag’ day. I’d absolutely love to spread the word of this mission. Again, I’m not coming from an evangelical place but more from a Rosie The Riveter bicep curl angle. An empowered approach to buying things we don’t need on a day when discounts are wafted under our nose. There’s no denying it, it’s tricky.
I’d love you to share this post and my hashtag #BlackFridayBlackBag. I’d bloody love it even more if you can use the hashtag and tag me in some of your photos on social media with your own black bags instead of shopping bags full of things you may regret buying later on. Nothing would thrill me more than to see others proudly parading their black donation bag as opposed to feeling sick from overbuying those Black Friday tantalizing discounts. Who fancies joining me?
The Last Word
So, said in my best Yoda voice, “May the force be with you”. Whether you are shopping on Black Friday for a much-needed item of clothing to replace one that is damaged/worn or if you are trying to resist the countless emails that are waving bonkers discounts at you, luring you to buy stuff you don’t need! Stay strong and I suppose it all boils down to being mindful when you shop. I know it’s the word of the moment and risks making a few of you cringe but it’s also a word that sums up what we need to do when we shop, particularly on the bonanza day of Black Friday
Be strong, buy less and join in with me for #BlackFridayBlackBag on Friday 24th November 2017. Be sure to follow me and #BlackFridayBlackBag for even more.
Thanks for reading.