We live in a world which pushes us towards consuming endlessly, and Black Friday two weeks away stands as no exception. I mean who can blame us? It’s like fuel to a fire! Outrageous deals, seemingly once-in-a-lifetime discounts, the perfect opportunity to splurge before Christmas. We have so many opportunities in our hands: the power to once again buy things we mean to never use again, stuff that are single-use, and spend a little more than we had expected to.
This day- initially sparked in the US – is now a worldwide phenomenon, and most of us have probably slightly overspent on a Black Friday deal before. Considering the temptation and availability of options, it would be naive to assume we will never splurge during such amazing sales. Instead, it’s more realistic and productive to shift our focus towards approaching this time more mindfully and consciously so we can know where we stand in the bigger picture.
In discussions like this, it’s important to remind yourself that you aren’t a bad person for contributing to such a big and systemically perpetuated problem. However, we must remember that “with great power, comes great responsibility”, and with so much at stake in our environment it’s great to be reflective and mindful in the choices that we make.
One thing you can do is consider the sustainability of the brands you want to purchase from. While it can seem impossible to find brands with an ideal footprint, we can still minimize our consumption of brands which are blatantly harmful. In this pursuit, it is important to keep in mind that a lot of brands will try to frame themselves as more sustainable or “greener” than they actually are. As well as the environmental footprint consciousness, this can be an opportunity to boycott bands which are toxic: to animals, the environment or to the people who make them.
Another step in the right direction is purchasing second hand. While this action doesn’t directly tie into major sales. It connects to the overall idea of overconsumption on such days. Black Friday is just a placeholder example for all the opportunities in which we are pushed to over-consume. Especially in recent years, thrifting has become more and more popular, meaning that there’s probably even better circulation of clothes and items you might like for prices that would give Black Friday a lot of competition. This is also a great chance for you to give some of your stuff away. The popular app Vinted is a great means to do that efficiently and easily, “where beautiful clothes don’t cost the earth”.
Last but ever so important is asking yourself if you even need to spend to begin with. Well the answer is likely no, we can agree that omitting such shopping from your life is pretty much impossible. (But reducing it can still make a difference), so here are 4 questions you can ask yourself:
Approaching consumption mindfully is not a quick fix, it’s a lifelong journey of intention, but it can start this month. Your contribution and your mindfulness matters and you can take steps in the right direction to practice this conscious consumerism consistently.