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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. 



Language level

Intermediate: B1


Whenever I’m in a overcrowded place, feel like in the absence of air...

Black Friday is not in my country culture and unfortunately it been fashion for several years. I think Black Friday can be good if you really need things and this fights between people is very disgusting in this day.
if the malls are quiet,I prefer to buy things. I do not like overcrowded places.

Because of it, I agree that people tend to buy things they don’t need, but at the same time, it's a good chance for smart consumers to get things they wanted.
By the way, I like the idea of "Buy Nothing Coat Exchange". I'm thinking to donate coats next November to protest Buy Nothing Day.

I can't agree more. Almost every products have special discount at special holiday. The price is really attractive. Also, buy them with credit card can own extra reward. If you can't control yourself on such this kind of holiday, you might lost a lot of money.

I don't wait Black Friday and I don't buy things which I needn't. But I can buy the item which I need if it's cheaper in this day.

I have heard of “Black Monday” but never heard of “Black Friday”. So I would probably spend the day as normal = bare essence of life!

Black Friday has been implanted in my country recently but there is no many real discounts anyway, just a ton of illusory propagandas.

Actually I do nothing special on Black Friday, because there is no relevant event in my country. I just know Black Friday from movies . I watched it in movies or on instagram people who run to shop and fight over something to buy.
Black Friday seems interesting, It is tempting to buy cheaper. By the way this kind of shopping is not my type. I hate to go to an overcrowded shop to buy something I'd rather spend more money to buy in quiet and empty shop.

In my country we don't have Black Friday. Retailer sale some item with discount price at end of year or after new year.It is biggest shopping day in Japan.Retailer don't rest during end of year to new year.Even though online shopping is getting common. New year day is busiest day for fashion store.I don't want to go there.because I can get item on the internet easily.I don't agree to buy unneccesary item on a bargains.I'm minimalist. I would store money .

Living in a minimalist as well as shopping is also recently fashioned. I tried to live as a minimalist woman who likes to shop, but unfortunately I failed. even though I promised myself more times, I still shopped on black friday. I know it's completely psychological. In fact, I don't think there is a discount on the products in my country that day. then I regret. but then again I get. it's hard to be a woman.