On Black Friday, shoppers all over the world will be participating in the mass sales event. With COVID-19 still in full force, businesses are still planning to hold the event, albeit with some changes.

Since 2006, Black Friday has been one of the highest-earning commercial events for corporations, who rely on FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) to make shoppers feel the need to act on a company’s “lowest prices of the year”. The businesses who typically earn the most on Black Friday also happen to be those to commit tax-avoidance, who reap the benefits of slashing prices that small businesses cannot compete with. Amazon, Ikea and Walmart rank some of the highest on a list of such companies.

As many brick and mortar shops have shut down due to the Covid-19 pandemic, online orders are increasing, with an anticipated 43.3% increase in online sales from last year. In turn, the steep spike in e-commerce shipping this weekend will undoubtedly strain natural resources and mail services.

With the pandemic still in full force, participating in-person on Black Friday can not only be harmful to our supply chains, but also to our public health because of brands prioritizing mega-sales events over human needs and safety. This is not a new concept though; since 2006, skipping family gatherings to wait in line, camping out overnight in the cold a day in advance, and participating in competitive violence has resulted in 12 deaths and 117 injuries all for the sake of a discount.

For those of us participating in Black Friday, here are some ways to get the most out of the sale while still staying safe!

  • Shop online — more “in-store-only” deals will shift online this year, reducing large groups, long lines, and Covid transmission risks.
  • Order gift cards that can be emailed immediately without shipping
  • Order early or later in the sales window to reduce the spike in shipping delays
  • Consider shopping from small businesses instead who still may offer competitive deals for a fair price (For example: Small Business Saturday)
  • For help finding ethical alternatives, check out our browser extension to see company ethics ratings and suggestions

Some groups are taking action to disempower the corporate capitalist “holiday.” An antidote “Buy Nothing Day” that began in England is gaining traction all over the planet in accordance with other initiatives, such as making the choice to #BoycottBlackFriday or #ShopEthicalInstead.

All in all, we can participate in Black Friday in a way that brings value to us while still working together to reduce the costs it may have for others! What will you be doing to ethically shop (or not shop) this Friday?

Ethicli is a free browser extension that makes ethical shopping easier by providing you with company ethics info and ethical product suggestions. To learn more or download, check us out at ethicli.com.

Ethicli is a browser extension that helps you make more ethical shopping choices.