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The Dark Side of Black Friday

The Dark Side of Black Friday

You're unlikely to have missed the build-up to Black Friday this year, which takes place on 27th November, with Cyber Monday following 3 days later.

The annual shopping event, which started decades ago in the US to mark the day after Thanksgiving, when retailers’ accounts went from red to profitable black, has now proliferated across the world.

This long weekend (or make that fortnight, if this year’s hype is anything to go by) of fast consumerism has become more and more frantic, whilst the deals have become increasingly illusory. Last year Which? tracked the price of 83 products in Black Friday promotions, and found that 95% of them were cheaper in the 6 months after the promotion, and 61% were actually cheaper before the Black Friday offer, with prices being slowly inflated over 6 months beforehand.

Environmental Impact

But even more significant are the devastating consequences for the environment. It’s likely that the majority of shoppers who rush out shopping, or browse Black Friday deals online aren’t aware of the ways in which their behaviour is harming the planet. But the carbon emissions  caused by traveling to the shops, and by shipping millions of items around the world are significant. Not to mention the plastic waste produced by the packaging, and even the long-term waste produced by buying items we don’t need.

Impact on Workers 

And it’s not just the planet that suffers as a result of this frantic consumerism. Last year the Guardian published a report revealing the working conditions of workers in one of Amazon’s fulfilment centres over the busy Black Friday period. This included being expected to scan 1,800 packages an hour (that’s 30 packages every minute!) and wages being docked for any parcels they didn’t manage to scan in that time. The report details gruelling shifts, high injury rates and safety concerns.  

How To Turn Black Friday Green

As a result, many ethical brands have turned their back on Black Friday. And, as usual, at 69b we won’t be offering any Black Friday deals. This year, the team has decided to invite our customers to be part of something more positive.

From 27th November to 30th November we will be donating the profits from our sales to Hackney Food Bank.

Demand for food bank services in our Borough has more than doubled since the start of the coronavirus lockdown in March, and additional costs like winter fuel, and increasing unemployment will place further pressure on already tight budgets. You can help directly by making a donation here