Is doing sales still a socially acceptable act?

Between the desire to rob everything and the moral conscience of not giving in to the appeals of a massive marketing… Should we continue to do the sales by feeding what we want to avoid? What are the alternatives?

by Carla Thorel

3…2…1 Go! Since the dawn of time, the day of the sales has been portrayed in all rom-coms (romantic comedies) as an apocalyptic day where hands, feet and heads can be ripped off in the imperative need to get a pair of shoes on sale. Since the dawn of time, the sales are represented as an essential and vital rite of passage for the survival of a polished look.

But is it still wise to openly say on Instagram or during a Sunday meal (if you do at all?) that you rushed to the department stores to take a polyester sweater off a stranger’s hands without offending your neighbor? Between selfishness and ecological unconsciousness…is going to the sales still an acceptable social act?

Social issues

Among the alarm bellwethers, Raphaël Glucksmann is in the lead. Approaching seven hundred thousand followers on Instagram, the humanist essayist is very invested in the issues of modern slavery, especially with the exploitation of the Uighur people in China.

His yellow posts speak to everyone. Everyone has at least once come across the famous “list of shame” with all the brands accused of “profiting from the slavery of the Uyghurs” including brands such as Sandro, Maje, Claudie Pierlot, Victoria’s Secret, Zara…

For Fiona, a young 24 year old self-employed woman, it is the last straw. “Raphael Glucksmann’s posts on social networks, including those on the brand SHEIN and the violence it shows towards its Chinese workers put the finger on the need to change our consumer habits – now aware, and responsible.”

In addition to lamenting a lack of honesty from brands that display “sale” prices that are still fifteen times more expensive than what the production actually cost, Fiona says that “sales nowadays don’t make sense.”  “Buy cheaper, products that we do not need, polluting, poor quality, and for which someone has been exploited … I do not see the point. Better yet, it’s in the public interest not to indulge in it as if nothing happened.”

From an ecological point of view, textile over-consumption is also a problem. The textile industry emits more than a billion tons of CO2 in a year, more than what is generated by shipping and air travel combined… Added to this ecological disaster are the harmful components of the majority of so-called “fast-fashion” clothing that cannot be recycled.

Mona, co-founder of the French upcycling brand “Resap” explains by these findings why her brand does not want to offer discounts. “It’s not in line with our beliefs. Sales simply encourage massive consumption over a set period of time by making us believe that we are getting a good deal on lowered prices that are in fact the basic prices and still. Sales manipulate the consumer and that bothers me.

Reinventing consumption

Without calling for a boycott, as this is obviously not in our line of work, it is appropriate to state that the consumer is facing a decisive turning point: that of shaking up his commercial habits.

But how can we feed the annual desire that the arrival of sales arouses in us, this irresistible desire to refresh our wardrobe? Camille, solution media manager in a large media group, doesn’t intend to miss the sales. She welcomes the appeal of this period for the wallets of many French people, but stresses the importance of selection.

“Sales are a good opportunity to change our bad habits. When I was younger, I used to rush to Zara and other stores to buy the one item that was missing from my wardrobe, which I ended up wearing hardly more than once because it was a whim… With or without sales, today I am much more selective about what I buy, especially by turning to more responsible brands, which correspond to me a little more and above all correspond more to the times. ”  Paloma Wool and Amlul in Spain, Peachyden in London, Wear Marcia in Paris… “I’m going to try to buy pieces that I’ve been wanting to buy for a while, responsibly made if not in France at least in Europe.”  In the same dynamic, the co-creator of Resap tells us: “it’s inappropriate today to go to the sales without asking questions when we know everything we know. We can refine our style by going to the thrift store, buying second hand, and using our creativity… At Resap, it is with this in mind that we decided to offer “upcycling kits” to encourage buyers to get started. 

In an uncompromising society where total transparency and consistency in our actions is demanded, you can rest assured. No one will blame you for wanting to shop the sales and replenish your closets as long as your purchases resonate with you, and for you, as fair and necessary purchases.