Block Friday: An international protest against mindless mass consumerism

In recent years ‘Black Friday’ has become a term synonymous with crowds surging into shops and fighting over a cut-price TV. Of course, the ensuing chaos will be filmed by a conveniently placed TV crew, all with the intention of getting their chain on the predictable news reports. We’ve all seen the videos right! A hideous example of how retailers are playing consumers and how we are falling for it completely.

There needs to be a profound shift in how we approach the world, in how we view the goods we buy; in how mindless consumer events such as Black Friday have regrettably become the norm in our society. Until then, we cannot effect much change.


The people who produce the goods we buy; the food, clothes, household products and much more, are often enslaved in poverty due to corporate greed and the demand of us, in the West, for ridiculously low prices. These individuals work all the hours for a wage they can barely survive on, to be exposed to life threatening pesticides, insecticides, dangerous machinery and sub-standard working conditions… often from a very young age.

Aside from the obvious ethical and human rights issues associated with this type of consumerism, it is important to consider the environmental effects. Our planet cannot keep up with our demand on its resources. Do you REALLY need those extra three ‘spare’ jumpsuits that you MIGHT wear for a Christmas party? Or again you might not, and they may languish in the back of your wardrobe oblivious to the misery they have caused their makers.

But what if we decide to collectively turn away from this madness?

The power of collective ambition is unstoppable. As a collective we are able to bring about an end to the madness of mindless consumerism that enslaves much of our world.

Become part of the campaign

This Black Friday you can be part of this collective voice by joining the #blockfriday campaign, set up by Livia Firth of sustainability consultancy Eco Age, to protest against the mindless mass consumerism that Black Friday advertisers compel us to get involved with. Use the hashtag #blockfriday this week to share why you will be abstaining from Black Friday madness and start a backlash against the event, encouraging others to also consume less.

Unleash your inner activist

Hanna Pumfrey wearing Bead & Reel fashion activist t-shirt

You can also take a stance by taking part in retailer Bead & Reel’s Fashion Activist campaign. While fashion may not be the most commonly acknowledged form of activism, it is the third largest industry, and one of those directly affected by the mindless consumerism of events like Black Friday. It's an industry that each of us participates in every single day when we get dressed, and is a deeply personal expression of who we are and what values we support. Say no to Black Friday and to the ill effects of fast fashion on both the makers of the garments and our planet by supporting Bead & Reals Fashion Activist campaign to uplift the most vulnerable among us- find out more about how you can get involved.



Be a conscious consumer

If you do have purchases to make, then this is a great opportunity to get involved with ethical retailer’s campaigns, like the one being run by Ethical Superstore, to bring a positive spin to Black Friday and do something different and more constructive. On Black Friday two years ago, they started a campaign to, yes give their customers a 20% over the Black Friday period, but, with every purchase over £30, to also give a grocery donation to the Newcastle West End Food Bank. The food bank made famous by the difficult film 'I, Daniel Blake' about those on the breadline in the North East of England. 

The situation with people needing food banks at such a difficult time of year is greater than ever. Last year just under £4,000 worth of grocery items were donated to the food bank because of Ethical Consumer’s ‘Black Friday offer’.

Their offer runs from Tuesday 21st November until midnight Tuesday 28th November. A grocery item as requested by the Foodbank will be donated with every order total over £30 (not including delivery). You can check out Ethical Superstore’s collections here.

But be mindful, do not purchase because there is a discount, purchase because there is a genuine need for the item.