• Beyond the Canvas

The human cost of Black Friday

It's that time of year again, the retail bonanza that is Black Friday is upon us. Although there have been warnings that in 2020 more than 90% of alleged super deals were actually the same price or cheaper in the six months prior the sales event, an estimated 60% of adults in the UK will be making purchases for a total of £8.7 billion.


Deleting my Amazon account just over a year ago was one of my proudest and self-righteous consumer moments. My brother mocks me for my micro rebellions, but I like to believe that we can still retain a small degree of control over what we buy and where, deciding which businesses we support. Tax-dodging, labour-exploiting, loo-break-denying Amazon is not one of them.


I read in the news that emergency ambulance calls for different health & safety related accidents at Amazon warehouses have gone up by 46% in the run up to Black Friday. It also appears that workers, often doing 60-hours a week to meet demand, are being threatened or sacked for raising concerns about Covid-19 measures not being followed. So don't get angry if these guys go on strike on Black Friday, all they want is decent working conditions. And surely, that item you never knew you needed and the box your cat loves so much can wait.


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© Pierre Soulages

Peinture 181 x 142 cm, 2019

Courtesy Lévy Gorvy, New York

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