Why Not Black Friday?
For a few years now I have posted and written about the perils of Black Friday for small, micro, indie and freelance businesses at this time of the year.
Before you think me an utter humbug or purist, hear me out. Firstly, I am no stranger to a bargain. I have bought tech and brands on sale and have taken advantage of a big store deal when I’ve need to.
Secondly, I utterly appreciate the ability for people to buy items they wanted to purchase anyway, at a better price – although it is worth doing the research as these new low process are often not new at all.
However, the danger of Black Friday comes in two ugly disguises.
In a world that is in climate crisis and when governments and international organisations have declared climate emergencies, it is still clear that we have not fully appreciated the link between rampant consumerism and the crisis our world is in. Not only are we being tempted/encouraged/brainwashed into buying the latest tech, even more stuff & the next essential gadget, we are also buying these products from unknown sources, wrapped in huge amounts of single use plastic from stores that rarely give a monkeys about who made, packed or shipped their warehouses full of things.
There is now little excuse for companies, who have a sole purpose of selling the best, latest TV, for example, to not actively, responsibly, ethically and environmentally, offer free/cheap/compulsory recycling, re purposing or re distributing of our old, perfectly functioning telly boxes.
The second ugly consequence is closer to home but no less damaging. 96% of all British, private business is micro in size. That is, they have less than 10 employees. 60% of them do not employ, suggesting that many are even smaller than that. This sector of our economy is the utterly essential sector to us as humans and yet they can never compete with, & can be seriously damaged by, Black Friday.
Why are these businesses so essential?
Because they are the lifeblood of our communities. Evidence shows that these businesses use their profits to grow and stay within communities. They provide the hamper prizes for local charities, they are the collection point for charity to collections. They go the extra mile to provide great service & contribute to life around them.
These businesses are run by people who are more dedicated and passionate about what they give than what they take.
Micro businesses are able to live within their communities without huge commutes which benefits work life balance and provides stable conditions for family, children, the elderly and those around them. Their supply chains are short & transparent (by necessity) and this necessity also works to reduce waste, source locally & ethically made. Single use anything is rare because their margins are small & delicate.
We bemoan the death of our high streets and yet the answer is right there if only these businesses were routinely supported to stay there with innovative rate structures or campaigns. Innovation is also at the heart of micro businesses. They actively engage with their neighbours to make life better or provide new services. They work with local students to provide apprenticeships, placements and internships. They can provide flexible working to allow owners and employees alike to take up the slack of shorter school weeks, elderly care gaps, volunteering & mental health safeguarding.
I for one will certainly take a look at Black Friday deals but will remember that nothing in life is truly cheap. Cheap means that there is a cheap view of the environment, cheap labour somewhere and a cheap value put on the human cost.
I will be shopping with small, micro, indie and freelance businesses this Christmas. I will find people who smile, humans who care, skills that matter and love.
Check out a fab selection of offers from our Member’s Club including small businesses who donate to charity when you buy. Use #myindiechristmas to show your support of the 96% of British Business that are our future.