Friday, November 27, 2015

Black Friday Chaos

Today is Black Friday for retailers across the world, a tradition originating in the USA to mark the Friday after Thanksgiving when thousands of big brand shops hold sales before Christmas. Over the last couple of years here in the UK we have seen this previously unknown day turn into a very big deal. For a country that does not celebrate Thanksgiving we have taken on this commercial tradition wholeheartedly, but in some shops things have started to get very ugly.

Scenes from Black Friday sales at an Asda store in the UK last year went viral for all the wrong reasons. Hundreds of people queued up from the early hours in the morning to be the first people to get a foot into the store and grab the best deals on offer. Take a look at the video below to see the carnage that ensued:


Just looking at this scene fills us with despair.

People in developed countries are coming to blows with strangers over a discounted television, whilst millions of people across the globe do not even have anything to fight over. We spend millions of pounds for our friends and families over the Christmas period, whilst others are simply happy to spend the holiday period with their families and are lucky if they receive anything at all. 

The people that we meet on our projects in Africa have no concept of the life of luxury people live in more developed countries. When our teams hand out donations of toys to young children they will often cry as they have never seen such things before. The mothers we met in Cameroon actually handed back items of clothing that we gave to them as they said that they did not need so many. When you hear these stories the scenes we will no doubt be seeing in shopping centres across the country today look absolutely disgraceful. We are acting like animals!

Isn’t Christmas all about goodwill to all men and peace on earth? The behaviour we see on Black Friday certainly doesn't reflect that sentiment. Here at Ripples we are trying to spread a message of kindness this festive season and encourage people to think about how they can make some else's life that little bit better. We are running a number of different fundraising campaigns to raise money for our flagship programmes designed to improve the lives of women and children through micro-finance, enterprise, education and medical outreaches. We think that the best gift you can give to someone this Christmas is the chance of living a quality life.

That’s not to say we shouldn’t be taking advantage of the deals on offer today. We would just urge you to think what is more important: being able to own the latest product, or keeping your dignity and putting a smile on someone else’s face?

Or how about a way in which you can do both? For everyone based in the US who is Christmas shopping on Amazon today, why not shop through Amazon Smile and 0.5% of the cost of your purchase will be donated by Amazon to Ripples Foundation if you choose us at the checkout. This way you can splash the cash and feel good knowing that you have helped to donate towards helping women and children living in poverty in West Africa.

Please see below for our guide to using Amazon Smile. 

This Christmas, lets appreciate what we have and not focus on what we want. #MakeChangeHappen

Alysha Bennett Web Developer

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