Black Friday.

Black Friday stuff is sucking the life out of me.  

The barrage of emails and commercials about special deals for the ‘biggest shopping day of the year!’ does nothing but grow the angst deep in my soul about sweat shop workers and imprisoned laborers.  Most of the cheap crap that is deeply discounted on Black Friday or any other day is sourced from these workers.  

Meet Meem.  She is a sweat shop worker in Bangladesh.  I think of her when I look at racks of cheap clothes in big box stores.  I wonder how many of the clothes would sell if those stores shared pictures and stories of their producers like we do in Fair Trade stores.  

Meet Meem.  She is a sweat shop worker in Bangladesh.  I think of her when I look at racks of cheap clothes in big box stores.  I wonder how many of the clothes would sell if those stores shared pictures and stories of their producers like we do in Fair Trade stores.  

I’ll pass on supporting that business, thank you.

If I buy anything that was sourced from these types of awful places, that is exactly what I am doing.  I am supporting the demand.  Really, no thanks.

Here’s the thing that is nagging at me about Black Friday this year.  I think many folks don’t really want to support terrible working conditions for people, but it has become a family tradition to go out and shop.  OR, for some, it’s hard being with family.  The journey of Black Friday shopping might provide a distraction that can elevate the stress of being together.  I get that.  

Couldn’t new journeys be tried though? 

I understand families and friends who show love with gifting.  I understand traditions of gifting. In those families and with those friends, I get the desire to want to find cool, yet inexpensive gifts.  Couldn’t new sources for those cool, inexpensive gifts be sleuthed out though?  I think that hunt could be great fun!

Here are some ideas…  (I’m sure there are more ideas out there noted by better bloggers. Click around and introduce me to those posts;)

  • Pick some little town to go to and discover all of the shops there.  In every region there has to be at least one option.  If you’re in Kansas, I happen to think Lindsborg is a great place (ha!), Abilene is good, there’s a town called Lucas that I’ve heard people speak of highly… You don’t have to wait until Small Business Saturday!  Who made up these titles anyway?  Make up your own fun day name and go for it…  FRIDATS!  (Fair, Reasonable, Intentional, Day After Thanksgiving Shopping = FRIDATS;)
     
  • Gather some friends and have an online hunting party for cool handmade gifts.  Etsy is a good starting place and there are zillions of talented people who lay out their goods online otherwise as well.  Call a party together and find them!  (You can show each other the awesomes and laugh at the goofies too ;)
     
  • If you live near some artisans, shop at their places on Black Friday!  We have Small World Gallery, Sarahendepity and Brick Street Gallery here in Lindsborg that are all amazing.  The artists themselves are often the ones in their shops and it is crazy cool to be able to talk with them about their work.  Quite a gift of an experience, I’d say.
     
  • There are places that gather up artists’ work like the Courtyard Gallery.  Hopefully every region has this type of an offering (i.e. Bluestem & Eclectic).  There are galleries full of artists’ offerings that are for sale and the curator can visit about the pieces you think are special. Most are hoping you’ll come in on Black Friday!  You’d have a warm reception and probably not be knocked around by crazed shoppers fighting over washrags.  


Please do share what you do on Black Friday.  I’d love to hear and to learn from your experiences. Maybe you can help me have less dread for this time of the year.  I’d appreciate it greatly.  

May we all have resolve to support only that which we want to support this season.  
(Next year I’ll work on trying to do it more graciously.;)