Black Friday: To buy or not to buy?

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Maya Duckworth
/ Categories: Modern Slavery, Advocacy

Three ideals to match your deals


Dashing through the stores,

On this frenzied shopping day,

In and out we go,

Oh, it’s Black Friday!


Bargains everywhere,

But we’ll buy less, we say!

We’ll budget and prepare,

And shop in a thoughtful way, hey!


It’s that time of the year once again. No, not Christmas. It’s the other glittering event in our shopping calendars—Black Friday. We’re familiar with this retail extravaganza now. You’ve written your lists, scanned the sales, and perhaps even started shopping for deals early. After all, it’s no longer just one day, but an entire month of savings!


In our cost-of-living crisis, Black Friday’s deals can once again feel like a welcome break. Credit: Unsplash.


Last year, I wrote about how Black Friday can feel like a welcome break in our cost-of-living crisis. This year, as our groceries, fuel, and many other daily necessities have continued to increase in price, Black Friday’s deals once again feel like a welcome reprieve. Unless you’re a self-sustaining superstar, most of us in Aotearoa need to buy products to live, and there’s wisdom in buying them when they’re cheaper.  

Most of us will know first-hand that a good bargain can be a slippery slope and we can sometimes end up buying more than we planned—I know I have! But here’s our uncomfortable reality: those of us in high-income countries and communities often consume resources beyond what we need to sustain ourselves, and beyond what our world can afford. It’s important to recognise that it’s not as simple as just a lack of personal discipline on our part. Overconsumption has been engineered into our society since the 1950s, and we’re up against some of the world’s best marketing teams trying to convince us that another pair of pyjamas is the key to feeling content, desired and happy.


Kiwis value fairness and treating others with dignity and none of us want our products made under conditions of slavery. Credit: Pexels 


Followers of Tearfund’s anti-exploitation work, will know there’s another part of the Black Friday savings to consider. Kiwis value fairness and treating others with dignity, and none of us want the goods we purchase to have been made under conditions of modern-day slavery.  

This week, World Vision released new research showing that Aotearoa imported nearly $8 billion worth of goods at risk of being associated with modern slavery last year. This includes electronics, clothing, shoes, toys and furniture —many of the products that are likely on our purchase lists this Friday. 

We’re passionate about caring for our world and our neighbours, but we’re also feeling the stretch financially ourselves. So, how can we respond to Black Friday?  


Plan ahead this Black Friday and write a list of the items you and your family really need. Credit: Freepik


It’s not an easy field to navigate, but here are three ideas:  

1. Write a list.  

Write a list of things you and your family really need and use it to help you navigate the sales and avoid impulse buying.  

2. Unsubscribe from brand’s mailing lists and social media profiles.  

De-clutter your inbox and newsfeeds from brand’s marketing and help set yourself up for success this week.   

3. Take a positive action for justice.  


Keep an eye on our social media for an opportunity to act for justice in the next few weeks! 

A few months ago, our Labour-led government announced it would begin drafting Modern Slavery Legislation—it was such an exciting moment! But, while it was a step in a good direction, it’s not quite robust enough yet to make a meaningful difference for people trapped in slavery. You can read more about this announced legislation—including what’s great and what’s missing—here.  

Without strengthened legislation, we can’t be content that businesses will make the necessary changes to ensure their workers are being treated with dignity and paid fairly.  

Aotearoa will soon have a new government and new leadership, and with this change comes new priorities. Keep an eye on our social media to help us make sure effective Modern Slavery Legislation remains a priority for our new government.  




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Maya Duckworth

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