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A sale of televisions in Sao Paulo (Brazil) during a “Black Friday” operation (illustration) (AFP / NELSON ALMEIDA)

Replacing “Black Friday” by “Green Friday”, denouncing the scams of falsely discounted products, boycotting Amazon: here are some of the complaints of groups which denounce the unbridled consumerism of the end-of-year celebrations. In North America and Europe, many online sales sites and stores will carry promotional offers on Friday, a traditional kick-off to the Christmas shopping season.

Adobe analysts expect global internet spending of $ 910 billion between early November and late December, up 11% from 2020, despite inflation and disruption in the business chain. supply.

Faced with this spending frenzy, associations and groups of Internet users are protesting against the excesses and absurdities of “Black Friday”.

“It is ridiculous that a day is so profitable for bosses when workers are paid as usual,” read a popular “anti-work” (r / antiwork) forum on the Reddit platform, which has over a million members.

The group has seen its number of subscribers, who ironically call themselves “lazy”, skyrocket this fall. This growth coincides with the record number of 4.4 million Americans leaving their jobs in September, a move sometimes referred to as the “Great Resignation.”

Several messages relay the “Black Friday Blackout” campaign, which encourages American consumers not to work and especially not to buy anything on Friday.

Amazon, which launched its promotional campaign on Thursday and generates hefty profits this time of year, concentrates most of the attacks.

“Make Amazon Pay”, an international coalition of forty organizations, including Greenpeace and Oxfam, accuses the Seattle group of placing profits before the well-being of its employees and supports employees wishing to demonstrate against their working conditions or go on strike on Friday.

In the United Kingdom, the federation representing independent retailers (Bira) estimates that 85% of these small traders will boycott “Black Friday”, among other things to protest against the abuses of dominant position of the online commerce giant which have been accentuated during the pandemic.

“While we admire, in some ways, what Amazon is doing, the pandemic has simply highlighted the inequalities between independent stores and online resellers,” says Andrew Goodacre, chairman of Bira.

The group founded by Jeff Bezos and department store chains are also criticized for business practices deemed dishonest.

On the internet, consumers cite numerous examples of products whose price is inflated a few days before “Black Friday”, then lowered the same day to make it look like a discount.

Companies “can make a promotion more attractive by saying ‘ONLY $ 499 TODAY INSTEAD OF $ 1,299 WHAT A DEAL’ when 3 weeks before the same product was literally worth $ 499”, sums up a member of the anti-labor forum at Reddit.

The British consumer association Which? calculated that 99.5% of the products on sale during the last “Black Friday” at 6 major retailers (Amazon, AO, Argos, Currys, John Lewis and Richer Sounds) were displayed at the same price or less during other periods of the year.

“Black Friday” is also vilified for its impact on the environment, especially the increase in greenhouse gases caused by overconsumption.

Since 2018, the collective of associations “Green Friday” has been organizing awareness-raising operations on these themes (workshops, conferences, debates) in France and Belgium with the support of the Paris town hall. The “Make Friday Green Again” network, launched by the clothing group FAGUO, brings together 1,200 French brands in favor of “more reasonable” consumption, which encourage recycling, repair of items or the purchase of products. second hand.

Some brands are leading individual actions such as the French clothing manufacturer Aigle, which will close several of its stores on Friday and deactivate its online store for 24 hours to replace it with a second-hand site. The American sports goods group REI has been organizing the optoutside operation during “Black Friday” since 2015, closing its stores and encouraging its employees to spend time with family or friends. During November and in around thirty stores in the United States, the Swedish chain IKEA offers members of its family program to exchange used furniture for credits to be spent in stores and for all of its customers to buy used products.

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