Black Friday and Buy Nothing Day

Black Friday and Buy Nothing Day

Every year in November, people look for bargains on Black Friday. But did you know that the same day is also Buy Nothing Day?

Do the preparation task first. Then read the article and do the exercises.


What is Black Friday?

Black Friday is the day after the American holiday of Thanksgiving, which is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November. Because it is a holiday in the United States, it has long been a popular day for consumers to start shopping for Christmas. Over the last 20 years big retailers have started to offer discounts and bargains on this day, and it has become more and more popular. Last year, people in the USA spent an estimated $54.7 billion between Black Friday and Cyber Monday (the Monday after Thanksgiving, when people often buy more online). The idea of Black Friday has also spread around the world. For example, in 2017, people in the UK spent the equivalent of $10.3 billion, in Germany $7.6 billion and in France $6.2 billion.

Is Black Friday out of control?

Many of us love to get a bargain, but some feel that events like Black Friday encourage people to buy things that they don’t really need and can’t afford. Many people seem to completely lose control of both their spending and their tempers. It is easy to find video online of customers physically fighting each other over bargains. It is also argued that Black Friday is bad for small shopkeepers, who cannot afford to offer the kinds of price cuts that the big companies can. 

What’s the alternative to Black Friday? 

Instead of taking the opportunity to buy as much as possible on Black Friday, you could do the opposite and buy absolutely nothing. Since 1997, Buy Nothing Day has been held on the same day as Black Friday. The rules are simple. Just don’t buy anything at all for 24 hours. Many people are surprised how difficult this actually is. The aim is to make people think more about their spending and to make better decisions about what they buy and where they buy it from.

Ethical spending

As well as spending less and not buying unnecessary items, Buy Nothing Day aims to raise awareness of how to be a more ethical consumer. For example, you can avoid buying ‘fast fashion’, that is, very cheap clothes that are worn a few times before being thrown away. Or you could decide not to automatically upgrade your mobile at the end of a contract. These kinds of decisions can help to protect the environment as well as saving you money. 

What else can you do on Buy Nothing Day? 

Some people carry out protests at shopping centres. Others avoid the shops completely and go for a walk in nature instead. Another alternative, the Buy Nothing Coat Exchange, is an idea which is spreading. People donate winter coats throughout November and anyone who needs one can come and take one on Buy Nothing Day. 

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Submitted by om mariam on Sun, 21/06/2020 - 10:51

Buying what a person really needs with a realistic discount is acceptable, but overcrowded and purchasing just to get the offer will result in chaos and negative environmental impacts.
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Submitted by Rafaela1 on Sat, 06/06/2020 - 13:50

I presume that things will change after Covid-19. The consuming style will vary.
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Submitted by OlaIELTS on Mon, 01/06/2020 - 18:39

I would not buy anything or I spend less. Yes. I agree.

Submitted by teresa.leeb on Mon, 24/02/2020 - 09:50

I think black Friday is a great chance to get clothes for a cheaper Price. Additionally we in Austria have the opportunity to shop online and the advantage is that we are able to compare the prices and the products easily. Moreover we have the possibility to visit the shops and try the clothes immediately on, so we can make sure the clothes suits and fits ourselves.

Submitted by 991827282 on Fri, 21/02/2020 - 10:32

I avoid going shopping since the shops and the streets are super crowded which is annoying. And I´ll probably just pay through the nose and buy stuff that I don’t actually use or need which will probably make my parents really mad.

Submitted by vero on Fri, 21/02/2020 - 10:30

I also think that this Black Friday shopping is out of control. In 2019 I made a big mistake and went shopping to a mall on Black Friday. Well, the outcome was that I had to wait one hour at the cash desk just to buy one jacket and the store was completely messed up because there were so many people. Otherwise, it is a great opportunity to buy something you saved up for a long time.

Submitted by D'Angelo on Fri, 21/02/2020 - 10:30

I don't really like Black Friday because it is too stressful. Many people are willing to buy expensive stuff and don't realize the price changed only for a few pounds. Sometimes I even think that the price didn't change at all. Also, people don't realize that they bought too many things and spend too much money on stuff they didn't need.