BENU COUTURE's microphone for politics
Blackfriday & Co
Why should BENU take a stand on supposed festivities and traditions such as Halloween, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Black Week - or, get this, Green Friday -, or on the ever-longer existing Christmas and winter markets?
There is a reason for us voicing our opinion: the general desire for sustainability.
Many people reach out to us to talk about alternatives; more sustainable alternatives, whether in relation to building, shopping, eating and drinking, clothing or furnishings. Meanwhile, both the press and the internet are full of advice, explanations and definitions that are supposed to enlighten us on what sustainability is all about.
Because, after all, we all want, above all, to save the earth and the climate in order to ensure a better future for our children…
Many people have no access to this discussion, or lack the necessary time and understanding.
But many others are concerned - which is more than good, essential even. Thank you for that.
So - how can I consume sustainably? And what does this have to do with these "festivities" mentioned above?
Let's start with a rather brute fact: there is NO such thing as sustainable consumption. All consumption necessarily leaves a socio-ecological footprint. No green logo - with or without a child motif - could ever hide the fact that „sustainable“ consumption will always merely be a matter of reducing the footprint and making the consumption appear a little less dramatic (in terms of sustainability).
No. Not really.
No. Not really.
Green Friday is a fine thing, though.
I can make a bargain, while the seller plants several stalks of wheat in a beautiful field, or even a twenty-centimetre-high tree where a tropical forest with 1,000-year-old jungle giants stood a year ago - saving nature at the same time! Bravo!
Even more than that; in the process, all people, including the poorer ones, are given the opportunity to get a real bargain. An amazing social treat - which is, however and obviously, reserved for the buyer and the seller. It is almost needless to say that there won’t be any piece of that cake left for the workers, though. Of course.
Now, it is a pity that research cannot confirm the fairy tale of "real bargains" in this context. A well-known price comparison platform examined the Black Friday rush prices of the most popular product categories at the end of 2020 and found an average saving of four per cent compared to the average prices. Four percent
The joke here is that a consistently sustainable consumption is much easier than many may be inclined to think.
You simply have to turn the whole process around. Simply put: I don't run into the hustle and bustle to find what I've always „desperately needed“. Instead, I invest my time primarily in my well-being, my quality of life - and thereby in my contentment and happiness. Should I really need something, I will inform myself and look for good - no - the best possible conditions. Apart from the price, I am interested in the social and ecological aspects, such as regionality, seasonality, the labour ties in the producer country, and so forth. Only then do I buy.
I gain an incredible amount of time and a better quality of life. I no longer succumb to the effect of the so-called 'shopping momentum' (a purchase spurs me to make another, supposedly necessary purchase, refer to the section 'Buyers who bought this product were also interested in this one') and I no longer have FOMO - the 'fear of missing out'
In the end, I also save money and reduce my waste. Isn't that pretty great?
I'm just wondering now if my behaviour could be destroying our "traditions", like Halloween, for instance? Granted be the fact that research is still looking for the real origin of this pumpkin festival, besides Charlie Brown - mind you ....
Or perhaps the winter markets, which we have specifically named that way so that we could still operate them after Christmas? It is precisely at these markets, which promise a feeling of well-being coupled with the pure scent of wood and some pristine craftsmanship, that we increasingly find food stalls offering the same sausages as the discounter on the corner did the other day when it opened, alongside all kinds of knick-knacks made of genuine plastic varieties, freshly imported from low-wage countries with absolutely no environmental standards.
Where have they gone, my beloved customs with homemade beeswax candles from the regional workshop, with seasonal home-cooked food from the village group, inviting people to sit together in a cosy atmosphere? Now, I am offered some heated pizza on a (disposable) paper plate. Is this plate actually supposed to suggest some kind of sustainability, only because it contains invisible plastic inside? In any way, customers are fooled into believing that it is an environmentally friendly “organic plate“, and a sustainable counterpart to the disposable plastic plate.
Honestly, folks - I prefer to choose and buy what I am really lacking, and spend the rest of the time with my loved ones. It's more sustainable - no doubt for my soul as well.
Let's start together to CHANGE things.
Singles Day. November 11. Created by university students in China. They chose 11.11 because the date looks like four ‘lonely ones’. Alibaba picked it up in 2009 and turned it into a day of special offers, aimed at single people wanting to treat themselves.
Since then, sales have grown steadily and it’s now more valuable than any other retail event in the world. Last year, Alibaba made £30.8 billion worth of Singles Day sales, while across the whole of the US, consumers spent $13.92 billion on Cyber Monday and Black Friday combined.[Halloween, Black Friday, Cyber Monday… What’s the next big retail event? | The Drum 11.10.2019]