Philadelphia, the town that once threw batteries at Santa Claus and recently saved our republic, also invented Black Friday.
I'm as surprised as anyone. I thought it was because it was the day of the year that retail brands went "into the black" and started turning a profit, but as it turns out, this was a marketing scheme dreamt up by big retail (color us surprised). The true story is (slightly) more interesting.
Back in the '60s, suburban Philadelphians would come into the city to watch the annual Army-Navy football game (the game was there because Philly is roughly equidistant from West Point and Annapolis). Many people would come a day early and fall over themselves and each other to stock up on Christmas gifts, cheesesteaks, cream cheese, and democracy before trudging back to Bucks County, King of Prussia, or wherever they had moved to get away from the city of Philadelphia. The police took to calling the chaos Black Friday, and like many dumb nicknames, it stuck.
Thanksgiving is awesome. There are parades. There are mashed potatoes. It's the only holiday where napping is part of the programming.
Black Friday is the worst. It's designed to get us to compete with each other for as much over-consumption as we can muster. Families bicker over politics on Thanksgiving. People die in stampedes at Walmart for TV deals on Black Friday. And what comes out of all of it? More trash and waste than any other day of the year. We open up our stuff during the holidays, and a lot of it is in landfills by the Fourth of July.
This is our first Black Friday at Day Owl, and we had a talk about just shutting the site down and sitting it out. This talk was not very long because we got started to offer you better choices in the "everyday carry" backpack category and that means we need to sell things. Also, we need jobs. So we quickly turned the discussion to how we might, as a sustainable brand that sells recycled products and cares about the amount of waste we produce, make Black Friday better. How could we help us all feel better about a day we all feel a little icky about? Might we be able to actually do some good? Enter the first annual Day Owl Backpack Swap.
Send us any of your old backpacks, Day Owl or not. In exchange, we'll give you a 50 dollar credit towards the newest Day Owl Better Backpack, which many of you already know is made from 25 recycled plastic bottles. Why $50? Because your old bags are valuable to us. We have fun plans for them that we'll post about soon. Rest assured that they won't get thrown away or sent to a landfill...far from it. Just know that from today until forever, when we release a product into the world, we'll offer you the chance to send stuff you don't or won't use anymore back, and we'll figure out how to turn it into treasure.
If you have a Kickstarter bag or purchased a Day Owl bag earlier this year, it's a great time for a refresh. We've made some great improvements and are always introducing new colors. If you're new to us, hi! We're hoping to become your new favorite bag brand.
The fact is, most bags just aren’t designed to be recycled, so whether you like it or not, most of those old messenger bags, purses, and backpacks cluttering up the floor of your closet right now will end up rotting in a landfill, burned in an incinerator, or floating in tiny pieces in the ocean. Nobody wants that, but it's hard to know what to do about it. Your old bags are going to travel once they leave you anyway, so instead of you throwing them out or shipping them to a thrift shop, send them to us. We're taking them back. We're taking them ALLLLL back.
So this holiday season, don't just consume. Trade in and trade up. Like always, we’ll do our best to have your back.
Happy Thanksgiving. We're very thankful for you.
Ian and the Team