It's that time of year again when the UK erupts with festive lights and shoppers hit the streets en masse. The height of the spending frenzy peaks on the American-born Black Friday. Yes, Black Friday looks like it is now firmly rooted as an annual UK event. But does this yearly routine of consumption make us happy? Apparently not, finds Traidcraft.
Traidcraft's recent research found that more than half of people surveyed (54%) said they experience negative emotions when shopping in the run-up to Christmas. They feel stressed, anxious, ill, argumentative and violent. Doesn't sound like the jolly holly Christmas cheer that the adverts surrounding us everywhere would want us to believe!
Am I surprised by this? Not remotely. Mindless consumption that makes Christmas shoppers feel uncomfortable, has to stop. Early this year The True Cost documentary film on the impact of fashion emotively summarised this reality through the voice of Tim Kasser, a psychologist.
His firm message is accompanied with film footage of Black Friday shoppers stampeding into malls. Tim argues that through advertising we believe that by buying things we will be happy or happier, when the reality is that materialism is making humans deeply unhappy.
Retail analysts predict £1billion pounds will be spent on Black Friday this year. What angers me is that of the estimated one billion spent, hardly any of it gets back to the producers and they rarely benefit. Instead it is often at the cost of workers and the planet. Behind all of these gifts, it's so important to know that workers are being paid fair wages or working in safe conditions.
This is why I am supporting the Traidcraft's 'Just Friday'. We can all take a moment to stop, breathe, and buy our gifts mindfully and ethically. By buying from ethical organisations we can use our spending power to help people in developing countries across the world.
We can create change, a different way of doing business that respects people and planet by buying Fair Trade, ethically and sustainably this Just Friday.