Mind & Meaning

The History Of Black Friday And The Overconsumption Pandemic!

November 25, 2023

Serenity Here
I devour health and wellness information, and love to share everything that works in my life, so you can use the same self care and lessons in yours!
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Black Friday, the day following Thanksgiving – well known for its massive sales and bargain hunting in the US is in full swing. Plus, add on Cyber Monday just around the corner, and there’s an explosion of shopping

I don’t know about you, but my phone has been blowing up the last couple of days, with text messages and emails galore, talking about all the things on sale and discount. And then today, we have a Small Business Saturday. 

I got curious recently. 

Where did this all start? I’ve never been one to partake. At least not in person. I’m all about a great online deal though. 

It doesn’t even seem to be limited to just Black Friday anymore, as I’ve seen the deals rolling in over a week now. All leading up to the main event. 

Apparently, it’s not quite as simple as a well known story behind where it came from either, or where it all started – its origins are somewhat disputed. 

Several theories about how it got its name, like being coined by Philadelphia police officers to describe the chaos and heavy traffic occurring the day after Thanksgiving. Another theory suggests it was used to describe the point at which retailers went “in the black,” signifying profitability. 

Regardless of where it all started and came to be, we all know that it’s grown into a retail phenomenon that kicks off the holiday shopping season. 

Black Friday Traditions

Black Friday has established its own set of traditions, starting with early morning doorbusters sales that draw throngs of shoppers to stores. 

Retailers offer steep discounts on popular items to entice consumers, sometimes resulting in long lines and even limited-time deals. As a result, shoppers can often be seen camping outside stores the night before, creating a festive and sometimes frenzied atmosphere!

I have to say that one more time, because I think we all know it, but how crazy is it!? People sleeping outside stores in order to purchase a thing. 🤯

The rise of e-commerce and online shopping has extended Black Friday deals and the internet, making it easier for consumers to access sales without having to brave the chaos of in-store shopping.

“Cyber Monday” was introduced as an online shopping counterpart to Black Friday, and together they’re a strong force to be reckoned with. 


Consumer Culture

The US has cultivated a consumer culture that promotes overconsumption and materialism This culture encourages individuals to seek happiness and fulfillment through the acquisition of goods and services.  

Advertisement, marketing, and societal pressure often reinforces the idea that owning more possessions leads to a better life. 

However, I think it’s become pretty clear by the amount of Millionaires who’ve committed suicide – money and things don’t buy happiness. 

The Impact of Overconsumption

Overconsumption has serious consequences, both for individuals and society as a whole. Excessive consumerism can lead to financial stress, as people accumulate debt to fund their purchases. 

It can also strain natural resources and contribute to environmental degradation. In the quest for more possessions, people often discard items that are still functional, contributing to waste. 

The Environmental Toll

One of the most significant impacts of overconsumption and materialism is the harm it inflicts in the environment. Here are some of the key ways it negatively affects our planet:

Resource Depletion 

The production and disposal of consumer goods require vast amounts of natural resources, such as minerals, water and energy. Overconsumption leads to the rapid depletion of these resources, putting a strain on ecosystems and the planet’s ability to regenerate them. 


The manufacturing and transportation of consumer products contribute to air and water pollution. Factories, transportation systems, and waste disposal methods release harmful chemicals and greenhouse gasses, further exacerbating environmental problems. 

Waste Generation 

The culture of disposability inherent in consumerism leads to excessive waste production. Landfills become overwhelmed with discarded goods, many of which could have been repaired or repurposed. 

Energy Consumption 

The excessive use of energy to produce, transport, and power consumer goods contributes to climate change. Fossils fuels are burned to generate electricity and fuel transportation, releasing greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere. 

Biodiversity Loss

Deforestation and habitat destruction, often driven by resource extraction and land development for consumer goods, result in the loss of biodiversity and disrupt ecosystems. 


The Minimalist Lifestyle

Minimalism is an intentional life system that challenges the consumer culture’s emphasis on material possession. It encourages individuals to prioritize what truly adds value to their lives and let go of excess. Minimalists seek to simplify their lives, reduce clutter, and focus on experiences and relationships rather than accumulating more stuff. 

Benefits of Minimalism 

Embracing minimalism offers various personal and societal benefits, including: 

Reducing Stress 

Minimalists often report feeling less stressed because they have fewer possessions to manage. A simplified environment can lead to a sense of calm and increased well-being. 

Financial Freedom 

By spending less on unnecessary items, minimalists tend to have more financial freedom. They can allocate resources to experiences, savings, and investment rather than endless consumer purchases. 

Reduced Environmental Impact

Minimalists consume less, which results in a smaller ecological footprint. They make more thoughtful and sustainable choices, reducing the strain on natural resources and decreasing waste. 

Enhancing Well-Being

Minimism encourages people to focus on what truly matters, such as relationships, personal growth, and self-care. This shift in priorities often leads to increased life satisfaction and a deeper sense of purpose. 

Practical Steps Towards Minimalism

For those looking to embrace minimalism and reduce their ecological footprint, here are some practical steps to get started:  

Evaluate Your Belongings

Begin by assessing your possessions. Identify items that you no longer need, use, or value. Consider decluttering your living space and donating or selling items that can benefit others. 

Set Clear Priorities

Determine what truly matters to you. Establish clear priorities for your life, focusing on experiences, relationships, and personal growth rather than material possessions. 

Practice Mindful Consumption

Before making a purchase, ask yourself whether the item is truly necessary and whether it aligns with your priorities. Avoid impulsive buying and practice mindful consumption. 

Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle

Minimize waste by following the “reduce, reuse, and recycle” mantra. Opt for products with less packaging, repair items when possible, and recycle responsibly. 

Support Sustainable Brands

Choose products from companies committed to sustainability and responsible manufacturing. Look for items that are made with eco-friendly materials and ethical labor practices. 

Declutter Digitally 

Extend minimalism to your digital life by decluttering your online presence. Unsubscribe from unnecessary emails, organize your digital files, and limit your time spent on social media. 

Practice Gratitude

Cultivate a sense of gratitude for what you have rather than focusing on what you lack. This can help reduce the desire for constant consumption. 

Share and Borrow 

Consider sharing and borrowing items with friends, family or neighbors rather than owning everything individually. This can lead to a more collaborative and resource-efficient lifestyle. 

Invest in Quality

When you make a purchase, opt for high-quality, durable items that will last longer and reduce the need for frequent replacements. 


While minimalism can significantly reduce an individual’s ecological footprint, it’s important to acknowledge that the broader environmental issues require systemic change. 

Minimalism alone cannot address the complex challenges associated with overconsumption and materialism. A holistic approach involving both individual actions and policy changes is necessary. 

Black Friday – a symbol of consumerism and overconsumption, has been deeply entrenched in American culture. The pursuit of material possessions has led to various societal and environmental problems, including resource depletion, pollution, waste generation, and biodiversity loss. 

In response, many people are turning to minimalism as a way to simplify their lives, reduce stress, and minimize their environmental impact. 

Embracing minimalism doesn’t mean giving up everything and living a life of extreme frugality. Instead, it’s about making intentional choices, prioritizing what truly matters, and reducing the emphasis on material possessions. 

By doing so, individuals can lead more fulfilling lives while lessening the harm to the plant and the environment. Minimalism is a step towards a more sustainable and responsible way of living, and it offers a path to a healthier and happier world for everyone. 

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