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're going to donate 10% of all of tomorrow's sales to The Parkdale Food Centre. While some folks have the luxury of buying an Instant Pot tomorrow at deep discounts, others struggle to feed their families.  We are also collecting Feminine Hygiene Products for the Parkdale Food Centre, and we're extending a 10% discount to customers who bring in donations. Finally, all of tomorrow's purchases will go into a draw, and we'll give out three $25.00 gift certificates to three lucky winners.

Wherever your allegiance lies tomorrow, have a great day!


  1. Great balance between the consumerism that fuels our society, and the sacrifice that we should be doing instead. Thanks for thinking about these things as a business owner, and for following your head not blindly doing what the pack dictates.

  2. Great idea! If I wasn't so busybat work today I'd stop in, but I hope the day is a success for the charity (and the EBS!)

  3. Thank you for looking to strike a balance. I struggle with both Black Friday and Buy Nothing Day, to be honest. While I dislike the consumerism of Black Friday, I can also appreciate the fact that those discounts go a long way for lower income families (getting a deal on new snowsuits, pajamas, kitchen essentials, etc). The idea of Buy Nothing Day is a nice one...but where to small businesses fall in? I think you have found a happy medium.