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 cuneyt on Mon, 18/02/2019 - 19:59

Hi Everybody, First of all; Good evening everybody also I like this webpages. thank for everything. We have to talk and ask questions about shopping. We see more different new world order than compared to the past. İn the old times, People couldn't find even a sliece of bread. They had worn clothes long times but today everthing is very different. You don't wear one more time if you wore new clothes first time. Really I don't understand anything the system İn that the prices can be very low price.Why they sell products low prices every time.That make no sense. My friends, The system deceive to us. Why just one day I can't stand this situation. We must say stop. We musn't buy much clothes, shoes, foods, phones... We should buy just as needed. We shouldn't buy new mobile phone İf it don't break down but We should
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Submitted by Wang Zijian on Sun, 17/02/2019 - 04:44

In China, we have a similar day on the Single's Day,11 November. It's held by some e-commerce giants like Taobao. Many people buy a lot of things online and off-line because there are usually huge discounts! I also enjoy this day because I can buy something I really need like glasses, winter coats and snacks at a premium. BUT I do not agree buying unneccessary items.
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Submitted by eirini1984 on Sun, 27/01/2019 - 08:52

I didn't buy anything on Black Friday because in my country Greece, the discount is not good at all...

Submitted by Volvox on Sat, 26/01/2019 - 18:51

I won't buy anything, because I needn't nothing. I need to save money for my next vacation. Yes, I agree that people buy things they don’t need and can’t afford, because most of them in my country are consumerists.

Submitted by DD53 on Fri, 18/01/2019 - 19:09

I have sometimes bought things on line on Black Friday and I agree that the risk to buy useless goods is very high. My suggestion is to be prepared with a list of what you need and look only for that. Better if you have checked the prices the days before.

Submitted by Nunu28 on Sun, 13/01/2019 - 15:58

There is no Black Friday in southeast asia. But, most shopkeeper offers a good deals for Cristmast and New Year. In my point of view, Black Friday is the day we should waiting for. We can save money through the year, and spend it for Black Friday. We could get extra discount, cashback etc at that day, and that means we can save money for buy other thing we need. The decision to buy is based from our need. I prefer going to shopping centre during The Black Friday instead of celebrates Buy Nothing Day
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Submitted by Shan on Mon, 07/01/2019 - 09:51

Let me tell something about me..most of the days in month are buy nothing for me its funny but true becoz i dont have a job and unemploy.i dont know how people find it difficult to not buy anything..however its a good idea to celeberate this day as it raise awareness in the people who spent alot and buy things they don't..

Submitted by Cris2 on Thu, 03/01/2019 - 13:04

Hello, Kirk, Regarding the preparation task, there are 8 items but only 3 group of words. And it cannot be more then one answer per group. Also, I think that the answer from the first question of task 1 does not appear in the text. Best regards,

Hi Cris2

In the Preparation task, you have to click or press on the small hand (in the top right corner of each word or phrase) to move it. When there is already a word or phrase inside a group, you have to click or press on top of the small hand to move a second word or phrase into the group.

I think the second sentence of the task makes it fairly clear that the answer to question 1 is the second answer.

I'm sorry you've had trouble with the exercises and I hope what I've explained helps.

All the best


The LearnEnglish Team