WINNIPEG — As consumers gear up for one of the biggest shopping days of the year, some Manitobans are deciding to stay home and not participate in Black Friday.
The anti-consumerism movement, Buy Nothing Day was founded in Vancouver in the 1990s. It encourages consumers to use one of the busiest shopping days of the year as a way to spend time with family, instead of spending money.
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“I hate Black Friday… and I don’t hate many things,” said Leanne Vandenbosch, who lives in Brandon, Man. “I know it’s good for stores trying to make money and support their bottom line… but I just get so frustrated with how people act and how stores seem to almost encourage the savageness of the consumers by putting items at such low prices.”
“Every year you see stories in the media about how many people are trampled, get in fights and are arrested, it’s not worth it,” she said.
Vandenbosch isn’t the only Manitoban making a conscious choice not to participate in Black Friday. Dale Kibbions, a Winnipeg teacher, would like to see the day go even further.
“Buy Nothing Day should be a year round questioning of what we really need,” Kibbons said.
“Stuff isn’t what creates happiness, and is not what the holiday season should focus on,” he added. “I love Christmas so much because I spend extra time with my family. Gift buying and receiving is where the stress comes in. Going near stores at this time would be an energy drain for even the consumerist of consumers.”
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Good for Manitoba’s economy
Manitoba Chambers of Commerce head Chuck Davidson, said he is fully in favour of Black Friday, as it’s the second biggest shopping day of the year.
Black Friday started seeping into the Canadian economy about five years ago, he said. This is because as more American stores started setting up shop in Canada, retailers wanted to compete with the huge sale.
“Manitoba retailers have stepped up in a huge way and Black Friday is becoming a big day for retail here,” Davidson said.
“As a business organization, we strongly encourage the day, and it’s overall good for the Manitoba economy. It creates more jobs and more wealth.”
Davidson added that although he believes in the benefits of consumerism, he does respect people’s choice voice their distaste for Black Friday.
WATCH: Kelowna, BC business owner closed his cycling shop on Black Friday in 2015, and even gave his staff the day off with pay
Retailers not playing along
Black Friday sales are even creeping into American Thanksgiving Day (some call it Black Thursday). For the last few years some stores have boycotted these Thanksgiving sales, such as Costco, Nordstrom and TJ Maxx. These stores remain closed Thanksgiving Day, despite other stores, such as Best Buy and Walmart, opening their doors.
For the second year in a row, American outdoor retailer, REI is even giving its employees a paid vacation day, closing its stores and encouraging employees and the public to spend the Black Friday outdoors.