Rethinking Black Friday: Balancing Criticism and Opportunity
Black Friday has long been associated with insane discounts, frantic shopping sprees, and overcrowded stores. While this annual shopping extravaganza may offer undeniable bargains, it is crucial to acknowledge the negative impacts that may arise from this consumer frenzy, particularly for small businesses. Here, we express our reservations about the concept of Black Friday, recognising the consequences for small business, while acknowledging that we, too, will participate by offering exceptional discounts over the Black Friday weekend.
Supporting Small Businesses
One of the primary concerns surrounding Black Friday is its detrimental effect on small businesses. As larger corporations dominate the market with massive advertising budgets, smaller businesses often find it impossible to compete. Unfortunately, the race to secure limited consumer resources, particularly in this time of considerable uncertainty where the cost of living is so high, leads to a situation where small businesses simply cannot compete with the large discounts and extensive advertising exposure enjoyed by their larger, and frequently non-local, counterparts.
Preserving Value over Price
Black Friday tends to prioritise price over value, fostering a culture that undervalues quality products and craftsmanship as well as sustainable business practices. Consumers, seeking the best deals, are often less concerned with the source and quality of the products they purchase. This undermines the efforts of small businesses that prioritise high quality products and services, as well as ethical production, fair wages, and environmentally friendly practices.
Nevertheless, Offering Discounts
Despite our discomfort about the concept of Black Friday, we understand that many customers anticipate this time of year to find exceptional deals. Therefore, over the Black Friday weekend, we have decided to extend some exclusive discounts to our valued customers. We aim to strike a balance between offering attractive incentives to customers while maintaining our values and supporting both our own and other small, often family owned and run, businesses.
Alternatives for the Conscientious Shopper
For those who are concerned about the negative impact of Black Friday, there are alternatives worth considering. Small Business Saturday is an initiative that encourages consumers to support local businesses, emphasising the unique value they offer to their communities. Cyber Monday, originating as the online counterpart to Black Friday, has more or less merged into Black Friday, but offers the opportunity to support independent businesses that operate mainly online.
So, for shoppers mindful of the negative sides to Black Friday but still wanting to enjoy great deals, there is a simple yet powerful solution. By seeking out smaller independent retailers, both in-store and online, shoppers can find unique and high-quality products while supporting businesses, often local family businesses, that prioritise quality, individuality, ethical practices and sustainability. These independent retailers often offer curated selections, personalised service, and a sense of community that is hard to find in larger chain stores and multinationals. By consciously choosing to shop with these retailers on Black Friday and in the run up to Christmas, shoppers can make a positive impact and contribute to a more sustainable and equitable economy.
While the concept of Black Friday raises valid criticisms regarding its impact on small businesses and the prioritisation of price over quality, we of course recognise the desire for attractive offers amongst consumers. Our decision to participate in the Black Friday weekend does not compromise our commitment to valuing the very highest quality of product, small businesses and sustainable practices. As conscientious shoppers, we have an opportunity to support small and local businesses year-round while utilising the discounted offers wisely, finding a balance between affordability and ethical consumption.