Renouncing Black Friday


Black Friday is less than two weeks away and we invite you to opt out along with us.

This post-Thanksgiving “holiday”, with its legendary lines and near-riots for the last remaining big-screen TVs and game consoles, has been around a long time and is used by many businesses to fuel consumerist desires by offering steep discounts for their goods. Of course, we can’t just blame businesses for this mess; if the insatiable hunger for more stuff didn’t already exist within us, these practices would’ve never worked in the first place.

Most of us are well acquainted with the dangers inherent in 21st-century commercialism and need no lecture about the damage it causes to our culture, our families, and our own hearts.

But in the past few years, more and more businesses have been joining the push-back bandwagon. Most notably, REI began giving their employees this day off work to encourage them to “go outside” into nature instead of buying or selling their products. There are always skeptics out there that see this kind of corporate activism as a publicity stunt but I can’t help thinking that there are humane motives behind at least some folks involved in this trend. Besides, what’s the alternative? Are we to disregard these opt-outers as insincere only to surrender ourselves to the commercial snare?

Isn’t there some kind of alternative to this materialistic madness?

We invite you to withdraw from this mess with us. To encourage thoughtfulness and humaneness in our consumption patterns, we want to recommend to our readers that they make gifts for their loved ones rather than buy more stuff. To help inspire this, we will be shutting down our e-store for the entirety of Friday, November 23rd. We don’t do discounts. We don’t do sales. And we don’t do advertising. And on Black Friday, we won’t even be selling anything.

Instead, Mike and I will be celebrating “Black-out Friday” in which we will turn off our digital devices and spend the whole day in the shop making gifts for friends and families. This digital fast and website shutdown is one little way to reflect Gandhi’s model: “My life is my message.” Mortise & Tenon is not some mega-corporate business Titan. We are two guys that get help from a few friends. We have no investors to appease and no vision to conquer the woodworking market – we are only looking to support our families while making a positive change in this world.

If our vision resonates with yours and you want your “life [to be your] message,” we invite you to start planning for Black-out Friday now: browse through plans, dig through your lumber inventory, and get your saws sharp. Be ready to make something from your heart this year, friends. 

-Joshua