Patagonia is giving 100% of its Black Friday sales to eco-charities. Form-fitting fleece pullovers that match your Subaru and a PR coup, what’s not to love?
For the entirety of this decade up until this time last month, I worked for an e-commerce firm. The melt into a chair that was never set quite right in front of the dusty double screens and crumb’y keyboard was a specific brand of torture that can only be defined as a daily drain of whatever it is: life force, id, energy, social identity, chakras…vapid burrito consumption device. The result was the temporary absence of will to wake up and participate in this finite experiment—whatever semblance of a soul coughed up one desk banana bite at a time.
The job did give me time to contemplate my routine intake of corporate farmed foods chosen from an open vending machine-type Naugahyde-paneled kiosk monitored by fake security cameras, the ludicrous act of going someplace I had no interest in being 5x/week in a piece of carcinogenic-spewing metal that mainlined a liquified dinosaur bones …and all the necessary work breaks scrolling through Facebook looking at pictures of others’ weekend toe in sand/drink in hand pix posted as they too filed back to do some time-killing under fluorescent lights as the GPS coordinates are punched into our collective destination of eternal darkness.
In the spaces between this feverish existentialism, I was doing more than my share to help kill the planet writing dumb words that had to be approved and re-written and approved again and re-written back to the point where they sounded mostly like the original words I was tasked with changing—all in an effort to convince someone equally despondent to attempt a serotonin-filled transaction in order to conjure a moment that had already slipped through their hands as soon as those fingers entered the three-digit CVV number on the back of their credit card.
It all left me wondering whether it is possible to leave any of it better than I found it.
The answer, for that span of years anyway, was a simple “no.”
The personal justification for it became a mighty rationalization: For money. For healthcare. For security. For something to complain about over drinks. For dry pastries on Fridays.
That’s all jobs, I thought.
All that in exchange for me helping to create one hundred fold my fair lifetime share of landfill and leaving people so disappointed with the outcome of their purchase that they went back on line and navigated several deep web search engines to locate the infinitesimal customer service number at a footer of a decommissioned page. The support agent would answer the call, empathetic only to the extent that they knew the customer was now in Dante’s eighth circle of consumer hell (fraud) with them.
Fuck, it was terrible.
The good news is the job cured me like Alex from A Clockwork Orange of any consumer tendencies. Though that may change a bit on Friday, because Patagonia.
The official outfitters of the soccer mom who refuses to scrape off the “I’m with Her” sticker on the Sienna will “donate 100 percent of global Black Friday sales in our stores and on our website to grassroots organizations working in local communities to protect our air, water, and soil for future generations,” its website says. “These are small groups, often underfunded and under the radar, who work on the front lines. The support we can give is more important now than ever.”
It doesn’t name any of the groups but I’m pretty cool with them funding the enviro-under ground 12 Monkeys-style while I get to rock this sick-ass reversible vest. “We’ll also provide information in our stores and on our website about how to get in touch with these groups and easily be active in your own communities—on Black Friday and every day.”
The “100% for the planet” effort also called out the orange-wigged elephant in the room that at least 64 million of us will be trying to block out with extra do-gooding this holiday season: “During a difficult and divisive time, we felt it was important to go further and connect more of our customers, who love wild places, with those who are fighting tirelessly to protect them,” Patagonia’s president and CEO Rose Marcario wrote.
The effort is an extension of Patagonia’s 1 percent of sales year-round gift to charity. To date, the company has raised $74 million through the program.
…And if you don’t want to buy anything stretchy and warm in the name of charities to be named later, you can always donate to one of the following that I give to in attempts to atone for all the styrofoam peanut-packed misery I have created: Planned Parenthood, Sierra Watch, Oxfam, ACLU and Amnesty International.
Andrew J. Pridgen is the author of “Burgundy Upholstery Sky” which you should purchase for yourself and a friend on Black Friday. Oh, and download George Harrison’s All Things Must Pass or A Tribe Called Quest’s We Got it From Here… on iTunes as well. You may not save the world this way, but at least it’ll make you feel a little better about how you spend your time (and money) here.