Still In Its Prime Day
Vianney Vaute / CCO, Back Market
In 2015, Amazon decided to celebrate 20 years in its role as co-conspirator to the American people in their “little shopping habit” by — very appropriately — creating Amazon Prime Day, a summer event meant to induce a shopping frenzy and encourage people to subscribe to Prime membership. It’s working: analysts predict that the percentage of American households that subscribe to the service will rise to 50.3% this year. Other brands like eBay, Target, and Walmart are now also trying to capitalize on Prime day, a big win for consumers if the media is to be believed.
But are consumers really winning with an event that is now being referred to as “Summer’s Black Friday”? I get it, not everyone is or wants to be a minimalist, no matter how popular Marie Kondo’s show happens to be. Yet, the fact remains that our thoughtless consumption comes with a pretty hefty price tag — and it’s almost a guarantee that Amazon (and all these other brands) won’t cough up a dime once the check arrives.
Apart from the fact that overconsumption makes us unhappier in general, the social and environmental impact of producing and consuming more than we need is extremely high. Cheap labor, poor working conditions, environmentally harmful manufacturing practices — these are all par for the course when producing and selling a lot of things fast and cheap. We’re not even talking outside the US in the case of Amazon, whose warehouse workers plan to have a strike on Prime Day.
Is it worth it? Some people would say yes because these issues, as big as they are, feel remote compared to the many other struggles they face day to day. When you’ve had a bad day, and you cheer yourself up by getting a new pair of sunglasses for next to nothing, you don’t want to think about who made them, where they came from, and how they got to you.
This freedom is precious, except that, in the case of overproduction and overconsumption, it’s hard to say people are making their choices freely when companies with a lot of money are working actively to influence these choices. When companies make it their business to convince people that they need more when they really don’t, that’s egregious. And this is exactly what I find so disturbing about Prime Day.
Black Friday at its origin was at least rooted in something that made sense: the start of the holiday season, marking the time when people normally began to seek gifts to offer friends and family for the end of the year. Prime Day, on the other hand, is a blatant push by one of the most influential companies in the world to change consumer behavior for the worse, and for no reason other than their bottom line.
And so we at Back Market would like to offer our own humble alternative to consumers, and introduce “Still In Its Prime Day”. Many of the objects we love the most — individually, and as a nation, aren’t new. The Statue of Liberty is still in its prime. The glazed donut is still in its prime. The ratty old jeans that you wear daily are still in their prime.
For Still In Its Prime Day, before you decide (or let a company decide) that you want something new, we ask you to celebrate what you already have instead. We think you’ll be happily surprised.
Share something from your life that’s #StillInItsPrime on social media (and tag some friends to do it, obviously); maybe it’ll be a drop in the bucket compared to all the buzz around Amazon and their big day, but everything counts. Waste not, want not — and that includes our freedom.