While it probably seems to some like Black Friday sales have been around almost as long as Thanksgiving, they’re actually much more recent. And their popular history is just as much an urban legend as most folks’ ideas about the original pilgrim celebration.
In truth, the first Black Friday was in September 1869, and had nothing to do with stores. But the term and time period as we commonly use it today arose from beat cops in Philadelphia in the 1950’s. Black Friday was their term for the chaos that ensued the day after Thanksgiving, when the city’s population would practically double due to people coming in for the Saturday Army-Navy football game. Shoplifters would take advantage of the pandemonium to ply their trade. All of this combined to create a Black Friday nightmare for the Police Force.
Redefining the Story
Retailers struggled at first to rename the holiday Big Friday, but it didn’t take. Somehow the term Black Friday spread to the rest of the country as retailers big and small fought to subvert the negativity of the term Black Friday with the story that their sales were taking the stores from being in the red to being in the black. But in truth, it was just a successful marketing ploy.
In the late 60’s and early 70’s it finally became the erstwhile shopping ‘holiday’ we know and love. And the advent of the Internet led to expanding the sales weekend, offering us Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, and Giving Tuesday.
As the culture shifts again, it only makes sense to look for ways to make your Black Friday shopping more sustainable.
In recent years, many of the major retailers like WalMart and Target have adopted a more online approach. Whether that’s just the natural progression or forced by Amazon’s prominence in the online world, it means that you can save gas and greenhouse emissions by doing your Christmas shopping from home.
You can take advantage of free shipping offers, or you can utilize new programs that allow you to pick up your saved purchases at the store. Obviously, the second option will save more gas and is better for the environment—plus, you can plan a tighter trip to pick up your reserved orders than running pell mell back and forth across town to get to the best deals before they expire. You can even use public transportation to cut down on your personal carbon footprint.
Limit Your Trips
Let’s face it, especially with stores leaking Black Friday ads even months in advance, a lot of stores have similar sales and prices, varying by only a few bucks. So, reasonably, unless you’re hoping to grab one of the 5-7 giant TV’s on sale at ridiculously low prices at Best Buy, you can limit your Black Friday shopping and driving stress by picking one or two stores that have everything you want or need for Christmas shopping.
Bring Your Own Bags
There’s no better time to bring your reusable bags than the biggest shopping day of the year. Make sure they’re washed, but grab them all, as many as you can find, as big as you can find. Keep them in the center console of your car or easily accessible in the back seat and grab a couple for each store you stop at.
Wait a Day
Yes, Small Business Saturday was started by American Express. But it’s still a great option to help the environment, support local businesses, and save the planet by limiting the distance the products you’re buying are transported to get into your hands. Plus, the crowds will be smaller.
Small local businesses are more likely to provide fair trade and sustainable items and often unique items you won’t find at WalMart or Costco.
Embrace the Secondhand
There are two ways this helps save the planet, as well as your wallet. First, you can shop secondhand! Furniture, clothing, even toys can be found at the local thrift store for a significant discount than their original prices. Many Goodwill’s and Salvation Army stores even stock overstock new items for significantly discounted prices. And you’re supporting a charitable cause.
Speaking of supporting charity, did you know that electronics tend to be the least recycled items? The landfills are full of older TV’s stereos and miscellaneous electronics that can be easily repurposed or donated to a charity that can use or sell the items. If you’re buying a 70” TV anyway, give away the 40 inch and make someone else’s day.
As strange as it sounds, it’s okay to not rush out to stores on Black Friday for the biggest sales. Look for gifts that are unique and interest-specific on Etsy or Pinterest. Limit the gifts you’re buying and how many people you’re buying them for. Make your own gifts. Baked goods and handmade items are more personal and often offer the receiver more significance, even though they may not last as long.
Shop year round rather than trying to cram all your holiday shopping into one weekend. Finally, you can also cut down on the other busiest retail day of the year – December 26th, by taking advantage of gift cards to allow the receiver to pick what they want with no need to wait in line for returns.
Sustainability is important to us here at Good News Pest Solutions. We’ve worked hard to bring our customers from Sarasota to Punta Gorda the greenest pest solutions that both reduce risk and are more effective. If you’d like to learn more, just give us a call!