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Kirsten Brodde – Black Friday: Breathe, take a break – the planet can’t handle it anymore

Instead of chasing prey in the jungle like our ancestors did, we chase bargain clothing that seems like a good deal. Just look at the scenes that take place every year in American shopping malls on the fourth Friday of November, when people try to secure a favourable position in the queue outside shops in the early hours of the morning. One could say “Black Friday” deserves its name: Every year dozens of people are crushed, even to death, as has happened in the past.

Black Friday, followed by Cybermonday, are intended to mark the beginning of the big shopping season, when some people start buying gifts for Christmas. Both days use heavy price discounting and special offers to trigger a sense of urgency and “exceptional opportunity” to consumers, triggering low cost, high volume impulse buying and – as a result –  overconsumption of unnecessary goods. Because it is so cheap, fast fashion is one of the highest selling product categories on Black Friday, with many major fashion brands and retail giants jumping on the bandwagon. While it is hard to resist the allure of the next must-have outfit, consumption research shows that the act of shopping only gives us a short burst of excitement, but no lasting reward. However, the environmental impact lingers and is all too real.

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