Black Friday frenzy not welcomed by everyone

A glass door to a shop is showing an Open sign. There is a Visa Card logo on the sign.

writer icon Tormod Birch     Ann San   |   Culture     🕐 20. Nov. 2018

Black Friday has moved on from being a single day of cheap shopping deals in the United States. Today it is marked in several other countries, and in many cases lasts a whole week.

This trend has reached Scandinavia, with many retailers engaging consumers with cut-price deals last year. This year, email inboxes are being filled with adverts about Black Week, where retailers will offer discounts over several days. This could be seen as quite the leap, one that many Scandinavians are unhappy about.

Protest group
The Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SSNC) promotes sustainability and is against the consumerism of Black Friday. They are hosting a Facebook event titled “Black Friday - I don’t buy it!”.

The event calls people to boycott the sales and instead focus on looking after what they already have. Some 35 000 people have marked themselves as attending the event, with a further 30 000 showing they are interested.

While these numbers may be somewhat small, the sentiment is felt by many. Scandinavians are known for their values. Swedes rank as number one in the EU for consumption of organic food. They are also leaders in recycling drinks cans and bottles. More than half of Swedish energy is produced from a renewable source and the aim is to reach 100% by 2040

Vintage fashion is popular
Second hand and vintage fashion are also hugely popular in Sweden. This is not limited to clothing, but furniture and tools too, amongst other items. There are second-hand stores that offer credit for donations, or offer to sell the items at a commission. There is also Blocket, an online marketplace that remains very popular for second-hand buying and selling.

While Swede’s enjoy a bargain as much as the next person, there is a certain element of consciousness that takes the enjoyment out of the consumerism.

There are alternatives
That is not to say that Sweden will not break its own sales records over the Black Friday period. However, the sales frenzy has given rise to a sustainable opponent. Last year, White Monday was launched.

White Monday is an initiative founded by Swedish startup Repamera. It positions the day as the polar opposite to Black Friday. Instead of pressuring people to spend money on new items, people are encouraged to repair what they already have.

In Norway, a campaign called Green Friday started in 2016. As an antidote to Black Friday, it aims to inspire people to donate their unwanted hobby items and clothes, such as hiking gear, to others.

Together, White Monday and Green Friday are working to provide an alternative to the consumer-baiting of retailers during Black Friday.

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