Anti-Black Friday Booklist
Black Friday isn’t the cheerful day American retailers set up with the jolly intention of easing your holiday shopping. Stories of fights, injuries and even deaths are rampant, resulting from buyers’ blind craze over cheap deals. Thanks to Amazon and Asda (owned by Wal-Mart, which is probably the place you are most likely to be shoved, hit or suffocated in the crush of this day), this lovely celebration of thoughtless consumerism has made its way across the Atlantic (and the globe), and we’ve been enjoying our own brawls over TVs for a decade now.
What’s even better, according to Which?, we’ve been duped. Over 90% of Black Friday deals were the actually same price or even cheaper in the half year before the event. They give the example of a Zanussi washing machine ‘Discounted’ to £309 on Black Friday, when customers could have bought it £60 cheaper at £249 five months before, and for £289 within just a month after’.
And so, in protest to major conglomerates making sweaty bickering fools of us, I say we ignore the whole thing. But don’t worry, you’re not going home with nothing. I have a booklist to offer you instead. Let’s dig in.
ZEro waste home, by Bea Johnson
A great book to start you on a journey of reducing waste. Bea follows the mantra of Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rot – in the order listed – so refusing unnecessary purchases – that comes first – and saves you the considerable trouble of dealing with the rest.
A LIFE LESS throwaway, by tara button
The author made it her lifelong project to find stuff that truly lasts, helping you to avoid single-use items or purchases with built-in obsolescence. This way, if you are going to buy something with that hard-earned money, you can make sure it’s worth it.
The year of less, BY cait flanders
A blog-in-a-book-type journey of the author getting rid of stuff and starting to appreciate non-material things that grow in the space which used to be occupied by junk.
The Waste Makers, BY Vance Packard
Eye-opening book written in the 60s, when marketers were just starting to flex their now well-developed muscles. The main goal was to make people forget post-war frugality and buy more – through in-built obsolescence, fast fashion, and manipulating short-term trends – all to create the unbridled culture of consumerism, waste and – most importantly – credit, that we know today.
How to do nothing, BY jenny odell
In a time when your attention is packed up and traded as a product, it’s liberating to claim some of it back and use it for your own benefit rather than someone else’s profit. Learn to do the things you love again… without screens, an audience or opening your wallet.
why visit america, BY Matthew baker
A collection of wonderful short stories, in which Matthew Baker re-imagines modern America, revealing its social problems along the way. There’s a story where a person’s status is determined by the ratio of her possessions (the fewer the better), and shopping is seen as greedy and disgusting. Not a bad world to imagine living in, and one to inspire the hopeful minimalists amongst you.
With all of that in mind, I wish you best of luck, even if you do decide to join the shopping-centre stampedes… though I do hope we’ve done our part in luring you over to the dark side.