Black Friday, and I guess now Black Thursday, is always awkward for me. Part of me wants to run out and snag these amazing deals because seriously, the thrill of the hunt, dirt cheap prices – why not? But then the other side of me struggles because of these two facts:
Last year Americans spent 57.4 billion dollars over the four days after Thanksgiving. 57.4 BILLION! Honestly, I can’t even wrap my head around that. To give a bit of a comparison, WHO estimates that it would cost 22.6 billion dollars to provide clean water and sanitation for every single person who needs it. Half of what we spent over the 2013 Thanksgiving weekend. One of the world’s most basic needs is financially viable but that money is tied up in discounted TVs and cheap clothes and all the other things us Americans insist on buying.
When products are sold cheap it often means the labor behind the product was cheap too. It means factory workers in Bangladesh, India, China and other places around the world were paid below minimum wage and worked long, often unpaid, overtime so that those $5 pjs and dirt cheap stocking stuffers could arrive at your local store in time for today.
For me, knowing these two things makes Black Friday lose some of its luster. And it makes me a little frustrated. Our excess at someone else’s expense. It’s just not fair.
However, I don’t like to be a Debbie Downer if there is not a solution. There is no point in making us all feel guilty about buying if there wasn’t a better way, right? So if you, like me, are a little frustrated by the craziness of this shopping season and need a new way to shop, one that doesn’t feel so selfish and excessive, here is your alternative:
Shop with companies that provide fair wages and source their products ethically.
It’s that simple. You are still getting the things you need (or want) but the people behind the products are treated fairly. Your purchase is giving someone a job. Not just a job that barely keeps them fed but a job that provides for them and their family, sends their children to school and helps them rise above the cycle of poverty. Not to mention some products even provide things like clean water or education. It’s a win all the way around!
If you need a place to start, check out The Ethical List. Every company on this list abides by fair and ethical sourcing practices so you can shop with confidence!
Here is the the icing on the cake – there are tons of fair or ethical companies having sales this weekend too! Here are a few great ones to get you started:
MATA TRADERS (clothes and jewelry)
Through Tuesday, use the code 5DAYS to receive 25% off your purchase of $25 or more, plus a free gift (different each day).
TEN THOUSAND VILLAGES (home decor, accessories and gifts)
Buy one, get one 50% off on all jewelry through Sunday.
BE GOOD CLOTHES (clothes)
Today only Be Good is selling all their “not quite perfect” clothes at a discounted price.
THREADS FOR THOUGHT (clothes)
40% off all regularly priced goods
WILDLY CO (kids clothes)
30% off their entire store all weekend long
31 BITS (jewelry)
20% off and a free bracelet
GREEN HEART SHOP (home, kids, clothes, accessories and more)
30% off and free shipping with the code FAIRBLACK
EVERLANE (clothes, bags, shoes)
All profits from Black Friday are going back to the factories that made the products!
PACT (socks, underwear)
40% off storewide