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Looking for alternatives to Black Friday?

Black Friday has come to epitomize crass overconsumption. Wikipedia itemizes reports of chaos, violence and deaths at stores packed with customers competing for prized sale items. For example:

“A 61 year old pharmacist, Walter Vance collapsed and was left for dead by shoppers while being trampled and passed by a stampede, with the exception of an off-duty paramedic and a nurse (giving CPR to Vance) in a Target store in South Charleston, West Virginia during Black Friday 2011, but died soon after.”

Thurston County may not have headline-grabbing stories like this, but Black Fridays around here can be decidedly traffic clogged. If you’re looking for alternatives to that scene, here is what we’ve heard about so far.

One of our favorite locally owned stores — Traditions Fair Trade — is holding a Fair Trade Friday. This is an opportunity to hang out in a cozy atmosphere that includes beautiful, ethical, handmade things surrounded by good friends and a supportive community. Go here for details.

Meanwhile, the REI Co-op is once again encouraging people to “opt outside” — and is walking its talk by closing all of its stores on Black Friday. (How do they get away with that? Perhaps partly because they are a co-op.) The recreational equipment retailer offers helpful ideas for how to spend your day outdoors with an interactive map of that shows all manner of activities.

Or, if you are aren’t outdoorsy, you could connect with the Buy Nothing Project, which is an international group which cultivates “gift economies that are complementary and parallel to local cash economies.” The group, whose slogan is “buy nothing, give freely, share creatively,” was formed a few years ago by two Bainbridge Island residents.

Let us know if you are organizing another event for Black Friday.


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