South Africa’s biggest shopping day of the year (on steroids!) is nearly upon us so you may be wondering why Two Babes hasn’t been giving you the inside scoop or must-see sales or a list of newsletters to subscribe to this Black Friday. Afterall, we promised that we’d help you find amaaaazing deals and fashion at lower-than-Trump’s-IQ prices. But we have been asking ourselves lately if Black Friday falls within this category – will you find items you need like nappies or jeans to replace the threadbare ones you’re wearing or is it a flat screen TV frenzy that ends with you in debt?
Is Black Friday a glistening cheesecake – indulgent, irresistible but ultimately leaves you feeling horrible? There are some people who can say, “I’ll just eat a small slice of cheesecake and it’ll end there. I can’t speak for Nikki but I am not one of those people. Fast forward to me face deep with a mouthful of creaminess, crumbs and regret everywhere. It’s the same with any type of sale. I simply have to go cold turkey.
Recently, Nikki shared an article with me on the anti-excess consumerism movement.
“Millennials and Gen Zers are craving an antidote to excess consumer culture amidst product fatigue and environmental concerns”
A more conscious attitude to consumption, rising awareness of sustainability issues, and a sense of fatigue at influencers constantly pushing products are all contributing to an emerging anti-excess movement in fashion and beauty. A cohort of YouTubers are actively moving away from plugging endless launches and PR hauls on their channels, Dazed reported in October 2019. One who took a radical stance is Samantha Ravndahl, a make-up artist and YouTuber who announced last year that she’d asked beauty companies to stop sending her PR packages.
“Every time a new product was sent to me, I’d look at it and think, ‘Well, it’s here, it’s new, I might as well review it’,” said Ravndahl. “That was not the kind of content I would want to watch. More importantly, I wouldn’t want to be told to buy something new when just last week, I’d been told to buy something else that was really similar. That’s not realistic.”
While we’re not saying influencers are out doing damage (since we are ones, hopefully?) we know some of you are out there doing the Lord’s work. Without you, we wouldn’t be on our journeys to self love, we wouldn’t be able to find that Nuby bottles our kids love, which gadgets promote a healthy night’s rest, and we wouldn’t know which kid-friendly spots guarantee a fun day out. But, we live in a world where everywhere we look, we’re met with constant temptation, a world where we’re constantly bombarded with sales, new products, the “latest, shiny must-have” and where to buy it. So, where does it end? Where do those products go after sampling it for a few days and realising that it might not be “the one”. Add to that that volatile economic conditions, all-time high fuel prices, increased VAT and inflation and we think we can all agree that we’ve felt the pressures on household incomes. Consumer debt in SA, as of October 2019 sits at over R1.6 trillion and about 10% of expenses make up interest alone! And it’s not just our pockets that are struggling. The planet is taking the strain too.
I first noticed my huge impact on the environment during last year’s festive season. Prepping Christmas dinner, I was looking at the tubs of feta, herb containers, custard boxes, spice packets, stuffing sachets, milk and champagne bottles, carrot and broccoli packaging, meat trays and punnets, not to mention the shopping bags, gift wrap and toy packaging and I truly came to grips with the amount of waste one day can cause. I do recycle but not nearly enough. Ultimately, the solution is to lower your household’s consumption.
So how can you spend responsibly this Black Friday?
If you’re the person to only “take one little sliver” when shopping, Black Friday is the perfect time to purchase something you had your eye on for a while. You just have to proceed with caution and follow our helpful tips:
- Trust us, the temptation will be stronger than a full-body compression garment! The first step is to decide on what it is you actually need. Have you been eyeing a vacuum or new pair of gym tights or are you in need of a new handbag? Maybe you’re shopping for Christmas gifts. Whatever it is, keep those “needs” front of mind and constantly refer back to them.
- Ask yourself: Would I buy this if it were full price. Stick to “yes” or “no”answers otherwise you may be tempted to rationalise your purchase. And if you would not purchase at full price, decide whether this is actually something you truly need.
- Sense should prevail. Your rational thinking might be an all-time low. If you’re tempted by flashing lights and percentages, your purchase probably doesn’t fall within the “NEED” category. Remember, NEED over discount.
- Don’t buy on credit! Unless it’s a must-have big ticket item like a washing machine or TV. You should not be racking up debt for clothing or Christmas gifts.
- Know your limits. Create a budget, say R300 and STICK TO IT, WOMXN! Make a list of your income and expenses. Take a look at your transaction history to ensure that it’s realistic. This will usually be a cold slap to the face and show you how much you actually have to spend. Do it regularly.
- Don’t fall into the trap of “scarcity”. If you feel yourself panicked that an offer is limited, remember you didn’t need that item the 363 other days of the year.
- Know that sales aren’t created to benefit you – the eco-concious person or the single mom on a budget .
If you are still tempted to shop this Black Friday, have a look at how you can offset your spend or make a difference. For instance, Japanese consumers are now hosting second-hand make up markets to recycle unused or semi-used products, H&M offers you a 5% discount for clothing you bring in for recycling and Woolies gives back a portion of your spend to charity. Newly launched second hand online market place is also a great place to close the loop and sell your gently worn, unwanted garments.
Be safe out there, babes. xx