Lately every time I open my email or scroll through Facebook someone is telling me to get ready for Black Friday because a bargain is coming. This morning, I have been greeted with over 50 emails about Australian Black Friday sales.
Fresh off the heels of Singles Day in China, comes Black Friday and its sister, Cyber Monday. This typically four-day weekend retail bonanza kicks off the holiday season, with 30% of the entire seasons sales last year taking place on Black Friday. This year the sales have started earlier and the sales numbers are tipped to surpass previous years. In 2016, a staggering 101.7 million people braved the crowds to shop on Black Friday with 137 million people shopping across the entire four-day weekend.
This is a drop in the ocean compared to China’s Singles Day sales bonanza. According to Reuters Singles Day this year saw sales of $38 billion, flooding the postal and courier businesses with around 331 million packages – and leaving an estimated 160,000 tonnes of packaging waste.
The problem with a sale and indeed the broader fast fashion industry is that it is built on making us feel like we need to be constantly consuming. Retailers want to make us feel like we are missing out on sales and special offers and that our lives will be better if we just bought that dress. This feeling of FOMO is massively increased when a sale is on, leading many of us to rush into purchases we may not otherwise have made.
So how do we avoid getting caught up in the frenzy?
In an article from ethical fashion advocate Good on You, the organisation recommends asking yourself three questions and I’m going to do the same.
Before you pull out your credit card to make that purchase take a moment to ask yourself:
- How much will I wear it?
- How much do I already own?
- How long will it last?
If it’s something you actually need, isn’t like something you already own and is going to last you a couple of years then go for it. If not, put it back and walk away. I can bet that after a couple of hours you will have likely forgotten you even wanted it all.