We are becoming more conscious in many ways of what we wear, of what we put in and on our body, of how things are made & the effects they have on the world. At the same time though, one click, easy, disposable shopping is becoming more and more common. The pace that we are meant to keep to keep up with our peers; to have, or wear the newest, coolest things feels frantic. This dissonance is a real challenge for people’s well being. We are told that happiness lies on the other side of Mari Kondoing your apartment and in the same breathe that her book is available for purchase 40% off this Black Friday. We all need things, we all love getting a good price one what we need, convenience is wonderful and we are better off in many ways because of the amazing technology we are surrounded with. There has to be some sort of limit though. Some way we slow the flow of mindless purchases that filter into our lives. Because that’s the thing, we do need things. We should be able to bring beautiful, useful items into our lives that we enjoy and limit the detritus that piles up around us. The quick purchases that don’t work out, that we buy for the wrong reasons, that weigh us down.
For me the symbol of this frantic, mindless consuming has become Black Friday, a new but brightly shining beacon of consumerism. In it’s short lifespan It has already grown and spawned a tandem event, cyber monday. As a business owner the expectation to get involved are matched by promises of “dominating” or “crushing it” every Black Friday season. Emails flood in from business guides about how to make the most of the weekend and it makes sense why everyone jumps in. Business is hard and the opportunity for a few extra sales is enticing. As I have navigated the business world with my company I have thought long about how I want my product to effect the world and every time I come back to it, though it would be great for me, I hate the idea of people mindlessly buying what I make only to end up not caring about it, not using it or not really wanting it. So early October day, I woke up a little bit surly, a tiny bit hungover to wade through more emails about how I can “Kill it this Black Friday season” and thought “You know what? F*CK Black Friday!”
The past two years I have run a sort of anti-sale, a small act of resistance to the steady flow of frantic purchasing. I have kept prices on my website the same but instead donated all the profits from that weekend to a charity. It has been nice to see people get excited about an alternative. It has even been nice to see people decide purposely to go without purchasing anything at all. Funny enough though, the weekend anti sale I have run still feel like they follow the same frantic pace as the actual Black Friday sales. By making this stand in the same format as Black Friday I have still felt wrapped up in the same energy despite trying to direct it in a more positive way. For that reason I will be trying something a little different this time around. This year I will be donating 10% of all web sales in the month of November to charity www.indspire.ca . I hope the extended time frame means people can be more thoughtful if they want to purchase rather than needing to jump on the event quickly. I also hope it will mean more time for conversation and interaction around the idea. In the end I want more people to be happy and I think being conscious about our lives and what we enjoy in them is one of the best ways to develop that happiness.