Thursday, November 24, 2011

Buy Nothing Black Friday

Did you know you're supposed to buy nothing black tomorrow? I kid, I kid. As you may or may not know, tomorrow is Black Friday in the good ol' U.S. of A. For those of you who don't know, the day after American Thanksgiving kicks off the holiday shopping season for our neighbours to the south. Traditionally considered the busiest shopping day of the year, an astounding $45 billion (billion with B, folks!) was dropped on Black Friday last year. Stories of mayhem and violence are commonplace as consumers compete to take advantage of bargain basement prices. In what might be described as a 'ying' to the Black Friday 'yang', on the same day, some folks observe Buy Nothing Day as a "day for society to examine the issue of over-consumption."


Slowly but surely, the Black Friday tradition has been creeping across the border, to the point where the phrase 'Black Friday' is being applied to sales held by Canadian retailers. Over the past few weeks, I have been mulling over whether or not to participate in a Black Friday sale (which actually translates into a Friday-Saturday-Sunday-Monday affair for a lot of businesses), in the 11th hour, I've decided I won't.


Although it would be probably be better for my business' bottom line if I did, I try not to encourage our customers to make needless purchases, and following from that, it makes little sense for me to participate in what can only be described as an orgy of needless consumption. As a retailer and a consumer, I identify more with Buy Nothing Day, though as much as the idea of closing our doors for one day might appeal to me, it wouldn't serve the business well to turn away customers in an effort to make a statement.


In an attempt to strike a balance between Black Friday and Buy Nothing Day, we'll donate 15% of all of tomorrow's sales to Doctors Without Borders. Watching the current situation in Syria unfold should put life into perspective -- there are certainly more pressing issues than a cheap flat screen TV. In a tip of the hat to Black Friday, all of tomorrow's purchases will go into a draw, one purchase will be refunded as a gift certificate up to a maximum of $100 (for example, if you make a purchase of $50, and your name is drawn, you will receive a $50 gift certificate).


Wherever your allegiance lies tomorrow, have a great day!