Should Black Friday still be a thing?

In a post-Covid world, should something as shamelessly self-serving as Black Friday even still exist?

We are a little over a month away from the usual Black Friday sales.

In America - where Black Friday was born - this annual sales event is used by retailers to win all-important market share from competitors, and signals the start of the Christmas holiday retail season.

Just about everywhere else in the world, it's a useful time of the year to clear out old, dead stock and experience the joys of having your website crash.

But is this self-serving, testament to hyper-consumerism still morally relevant after a year where some big retailers have gone bankrupt, others have refused to pay their rent to the shopping malls who's spaces they occupy and widespread layoffs are affecting the lives of staff?

Instead of boosting their own financial bottomline by flogging old stuff to financially distressed consumers - shouldn't retailers rather be using this time to creatively think of better ways to be an important part of a more sustainable consumer future?

In an ideal world the answer is obvious.

But all we don't live in a uniform, morally-mature reality.

For many, the idea of an audacious consumer celebration after the year that we have just had will be appalling.

The concept of buying more unneeded stuff, made mainly in foreign factories that exploit worker's rights, to prop up the inflated bonus cheques of fat cat retail CEOs - is akin to stabbing a wounded orangutan with a blunt pair of scissors.

But for millions of others, Black Friday is a blessing.

It's the one time of the year when they can afford to buy their kids a new pair of school shoes and stock up on much needed toilet paper.

Black Friday as a concept should then be seen as clear evidence of a problem.

Many of us wish that it didn't exist (just like inequality or poverty), but the fact that it does, and that so many look forward to it and rely on it, indicates that the socioeconomic systems that are meant to work for all - are not working as they should.

It's not for retailers then to take the moral high ground and discontinue their participation in Black Friday sales.

It's rather the role of society to eliminate the need for them to exist in the first place.