Black Friday - your views wanted

ended 17. November 2021

With Black Friday fast approaching, we asked small business owners and members of the public for their views on the annual shopping event.

The consensus is that Black Friday is a “dystopia of empty, soulless deals”, “meaningless cheap fixes” and “another awful gimmick that puts the kiss of death on small local businesses.”

Their full views are below.

17 responses from the Newspage community

Star Quote
"Black Friday is almost as vulgar as Donald Trump’s vernacular to describe women. How did the British public get sucked into this American vortex of misery as Christmas looms? No heart, no soul, just vile consumerism and greed reaching into the depths of society. All I want for Christmas is for the British public to spend money at the independents on their high street."
Star Quote
"Black Friday can be the Grim Reaper for small businesses. And while we know that many people have had the toughest of times moneywise, all across the board, there are real humans behind a small business that just can't compete with the bigger boys but offer products and services of a much higher quality. Shop small, shop local and support Small Business Saturday on 4 December and give two fingers to Black Friday."
"Dr Mulligan is absolutely right. It's the worst import we've had from America in the last 50 years, other than Donald Trump crossing the Atlantic. Here's a better idea: this Black Friday, how about we show some old-fashioned British sensibility and backbone, stick two fingers up to this nonsense and have a nice cold pint with a few friends while it all blows over."
Star Quote
"Black Friday is a celebration of the careless: corporations that don't care about their customers or the planet, consumers who don't care about each other or how any of this affects the world and communities they live in, and billionaires who don't care about a thing because they're all off to Mars. "When you buy from an independent producer there is a far greater likelihood that they will care about their products and their impact on the world. It's an emotive, as opposed to sterile, relationship with the end consumer. "If more people can be convinced to care, even just a bit more, they'd see that things like Black Friday have no place in a functioning society. Black Friday is a dystopia of empty, soulless deals. "It's also just another way to get the world further in debt to the billionaire class. While the poorest in society are convinced that they benefit from 'Black Friday Bargains', the only real winner is Big Money. Same as always."
"Black Friday puts huge pressure on small businesses to be in a position to be competitive. We had to start our own Black Friday Sale on the 10th November for 2 weeks only for our retail side, just to match the prices offered on Amazon. Unfortunately, this awful USA import is an absolute nightmare for us struggling small businesses."
"Black Friday? More like Red Monday for small business owners after an already demanding year for retail and the high street. Black Friday seems like an excuse for retail giants to off-load last year's old stock under the guise of a bargain deal to less savvy shoppers."
"Small businesses can't afford a month's worth of discount prices. It's getting ridiculous and impossible to compete with. Black Friday is fast-tracking small independents into a black hole."
"Black Friday is an independent business serial killer. It's disastrous for the many small businesses that simply cannot compete with month-long discount offers. Instead they offer unique high-quality products all year round. Let's not just wax lyrical about this, let's actually DO something, and choose to actively boycott Black Friday - remember when you support a small business, you are supporting someone's dream."
"Look at any event that has been labelled Black Friday: all bar this one, on the surface, is a dark and saddening event. In reality, this one is a sad even, too. The black drowns out all the amazing colour and vibrancy from our country's wonderful small retailers. Because spending is elevated, you almost have to sell your soul as everyone else jumps in, but ultimately, it's those with massive ad spend that suck all the attention like a soulless vacuum. "And in a world where we need to really consider sustainability, rather than consumption, I'm looking forward to the day that the anti-black Friday movement takes power and we stop fighting over an outdated television that was probably cheaper in the summer anyway."
"UK consumers have become increasingly sceptical about Black Friday. Are we really getting a bargain and saving money? Genuinely good deals are like needles in haystacks now. While price and value are still many people's number one purchase drivers, there are now other considerations too: where has this product come from, what is it made from, does the company pay UK taxes?"
"I’ve decided that I won't do sales at all. Black Friday is just one day designed to create a bargain-buying frenzy that in my opinion is the antithesis of what my own brand is about, namely sustainable fashion. My brand is not fast fashion but thoughtful and considered, fashion that's designed to celebrate the natural world. Everything I do is created on-demand, it’s eco-friendly, organic, renewable and circular. This does mean that I’m not getting rid of piles of unwanted stock like some of the large brands. I will continue to tempt my customers with my beautiful designs and not slash prices to unrealistic levels simply to surf a hashtag."
"It's probably an unpopular opinion to hold in the small business community but I think Black Friday has its place. There's so much noise around it that even if you're not joining in you can ride on the back of it. As a brand focused on sustainability, I definitely don't subscribe to the 'pile it high, sell it cheap' mentality of this annual event but it allows me to go against the grain with an alternative message. Last year I opted into 'Green Friday' instead and planted a tree for every book sold over the Black Friday weekend. It proved really popular with customers and helped underpin my brand values. I'll be doing that again this year and hopefully I can smash last year's target. It might not be a particularly nice import from the US but we can use it as an opportunity to mould the consumer landscape we DO want to see."
Star Quote
"If the pandemic has taught us anything, it's the value of meaning and the meaningless of cheap fixes. Black Friday fuels a grasping for consumer goods that satisfies deeply no-one, neither the buyer nor the giver. It doesn't matter if we are wealthy or poor, there is no personal richness in a dash for cheap consumer goods."
Star Quote
"Another awful gimmick that puts the kiss of death on small local businesses. Haven't we learnt anything the past two years? We should buy local and reduce our carbon footprint."
"As a small business, I cannot compete with the big giants for Black Friday - so I'm not going to. Instead I'll encourage my customers to shop small where they can. Last year, I turned off any discount codes to my sight and instead, donated a proceed of my profits to a local charity. I may do the same again this year."
We have to come to a realisation eventually as consumers that we can’t have it both ways. Black Friday is a spending fest that gets bigger and bigger each year, with some Black Friday sales starting on November 1st. Everybody loves a bargain, but we are all also demanding ethical, locally produced, sustainable and eco-friendly products, which doesn’t sit happily with the notion of stocking up on cheap consumer goods. Small businesses can’t compete at this time of year with the huge discounts of the big companies. Consumers can vote with their wallets, but not putting temptation there in the first place would be an excellent corporate social responsibility move by the big boys.
"Do mega discounts really exists? I can't help but feel cynical that the big giants inflate prices to make discounts look more enticing. I would rather offer my customers good honest value all year round."