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  • Not a Black Friday, but a green one: 'We plant a tree for every sale'

    Bernadette Keizer - RTV Utrecht - 26 / Nov / 2021

    Not a Black Friday, but a green one: 'We plant a tree for every sale'

    PROVINCE OF UTRECHT - Long lines, bags full of stuff and discount on discount: Black Friday, the bargain party from America, is celebrated again in the region this year. But not all entrepreneurs are waiting for stunting with prizes. Two Utrecht entrepreneurs are therefore not participating and are going for a green alternative.

    The original article was created in Dutch (NL) by our editorial staff. This article is automatically translated by an algorithm and might contain errors due to this.
    50 percent discount, 2 pick up 1 pay or on = on? You won't find these kinds of offers this week at clothing store Blackfish on the Voorstraat in Utrecht. A conscious choice, say owners Timo Cox and Ella Buziau. "We think the whole concept of Black Friday is a bit crazy. It's a bargain party on the day after Thanksgiving. We don't celebrate that here, so why should we do Black Friday?" says Timo.
    "In the past, the sale was something you did at the end of the season, to get stuff that was still there over the counter. It has now almost become a norm to stunt with prices all year round," he continues. And the entrepreneur feels little for that. Instead of a discount, they therefore offer customers to plant a tree if they buy something in the store.

    In the fight against overconsumption, the term 'Green Friday' is increasingly appearing. It is an initiative of the Trees For All Foundation. Participating stores boycott Black Friday and instead hold a 'green' action, for example by planting trees. In Utrecht, in addition to BlackFish, Dille&Kamille, Decathlon and Intratuin are also participating.

    Small player

    In a national monument on the Voorstraat, the former pharmacy De Liefde, the clothing store is located in a prime location. But that's not cheap. "We are a small player in the market in that respect. We can't afford huge discounts either. We have the rent of an expensive property and staff to pay. Supersales may work for large companies, but for us it is almost impossible to do."
    Owners Ella and Timo see nothing in the stunt prices.
    Owners Ella and Timo see nothing in the stunt prices.© RTV Utrecht

    Losing customers

    You may wonder if this 'green' edition of Black Friday is not just as commercial. Ella doesn't think so. "We are not sending a message to people to buy as much as possible. Right: it's nice when you're there and if you want to buy something, we'll plant a tree."
    Afraid of losing customers to the bargain craze in the city, the entrepreneurs are not. "Our customers are environmentally conscious, engaged in sustainable buying. Such a message fits well with what we want to radiate as a store."

    Small wallet

    Ella and Timo receive mainly positive reactions to their action, but also occasional criticism. Black Friday would be an opportunity for people with a small wallet to buy things that they would otherwise not be able to buy so quickly.
    "As far as we're concerned, those customers can go on sale at the end of the year." Timo points to the basement, where there are racks of vintage clothes. "Or vintage is a good alternative. A normal men's jersey costs 50 euros with us. You pay 20 euros second-hand."
    The major cities, including Utrecht, are taking measures to manage the expected crowds around Black Friday. For example, so-called public supervisors will be placed in busy places. They must also ensure that the one-and-a-half-metre measure is complied with.

    Furthermore, an outdoor advertising campaign is being updated in the city based on the most recent measures. It is also not excluded that one-way traffic on both sides of the Oudegracht will be reintroduced in the city centre.

    In the Hoog Catharijne shopping center, they expect that the shopping crowds will not be too bad. "Many stores already have promotions throughout the week: also pre-Black Friday sales, online promotions or they do not participate in Black Friday," says spokesperson Tessa van Beekhuizen. "We are taking extra measures so that shoppers can keep their distance." For example, one-and-a-half-meter stickers have been affixed to the floor and escalators everywhere and there are digital screens in the shopping center on which visitors are asked to keep their distance. "Security guards will also pay extra attention to this and possibly address visitors in a friendly manner to keep their distance."

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