Blog | Social enterprise

‘Buy Social’ is the ideal alternative to Black Friday

Want to avoid Black Friday? Buy social.

By Jo Brown · November 23, 2018

See this page in: Cymraeg

Why ‘Buy Social’ is the ideal alternative to ‘Black Friday’

Written by Mark Smith, Wales Co-operative Centre Marketing Officer

I’m sure most of us have indulged in the bargain-fest that is Black Friday, but is it really the most sensible and ethical way of buying discounted goods? After all, we’ve witnessed the scenes of people fighting over goods in supermarkets, while online shopping goes into meltdown. When is greed ever good? Are market forces causing us to behave in this way; when personal finances, advertising and expectations to buy big are at their most exposed?

In this blog, I’m going to suggest one main way in which the annual bun fight for everything from electrical goods and clothing, to DVDs and toys can be done in a calmer way, throughout the year. An approach that instead benefits your community, and businesses that support people who might otherwise find it difficult to gain employment.

According to Wikipedia, Black Friday is…..

“….an informal name for the day following Thanksgiving Day in the United States, the fourth Thursday of November, which has been regarded as the beginning of the country’s Christmas shopping season since 1952, although the term ‘Black Friday’ did not become widely recognised or used until the early 2000s.”

Given that the Black Friday as we know it has existed throughout the economic downturn of 2008 and beyond, is our need for cut price goods greater than it used to be? Are there other ways in which we can make savings throughout the year, and doing so in a way that benefits all of us, not just shareholders of major retailers that are largely invisible to us and reaping the benefits of the money we spend with them.

Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a blog that tells you where you can and can’t spend your money. However, there is a need for a more balanced and mixed economy. This is where social businesses come into play. Social businesses exist across a vast range of industries and sectors, and value people, community and the environment more than most other types of business. They include social enterprises, co-operatives, mutuals and employee-owned businesses. They invest their profit back into the business to carry out their social mission, whatever that may be.

For example, Toogoodtowaste is a social enterprise in Rhondda Cynon Taf that recycles white goods and furniture at affordable prices, while providing employment and training opportunities for people who have been on the margins of the labour market. Xcel Bowl in Carmarthen is part of a wider social enterprise that supports a local food bank, community shop among other services, all through a bowling alley! Both of these are businesses that have a clear social conscience at all times of the year. Their ethos is clear and they are values-driven.

There are more than 1700 social businesses in Wales. You can buy from them directly, as retail / consumer facing businesses, or access their services. Buying from them over the course of a year, instead of one day, might change your purchasing habits and make Christmas less stressful. You could even consider joining a credit union, some of which have Christmas saving options.

You might have seen that we’re running a campaign called Social Christmas that is promoting social businesses for the festive period. We’re highlighting a number that you can buy goods from that would make for lovely presents, or visit to have festive experiences. If you’re someone that regularly buys candles, cider, toiletries and chutney (and many other things) as presents, or likes to visit Santa and watch Christmassy films, then check out our campaign and the businesses that we’re promoting.

Want to avoid Black Friday? Buy social.