Bonn · On Black Friday, numerous stores lured people into the city center of Bonn with discounts and special deals. But Greenpeace was also present, holding a rally to draw attention to the consequences of overconsumption.
Black Friday, which originated in the USA, has now also established itself in Bonn's city center, where many retailers lured people into the stores on Friday with various discounts and special promotions. On Sternstrasse, for example, but also on Remigiusstrasse, thousands of visitors were out and about, some of them loaded with shopping bags. Some of these purchases will probably end up under the Christmas tree in a few weeks. The so-called Black Week, which started on Monday and will continue until Saturday, is a particularly lucrative business for retailers.
Large department stores such as Galeria Kaufhof and Media Markt have already been offering discounts since the beginning of the week. With the decision to have a whole Black Week instead of just Black Friday, they wanted to defuse the Covid-19 situation somewhat, says a department manager of Media Markt. Perhaps due to that, there was no rush of visitors at midday on Friday at the branch on Friedenspaltz. Despite the relaxed Covid rules in the stores, people are not coming in droves, he said. The big hit this week, generally speaking, was consumer electronics, he said. "Video game consoles always go in the Christmas season, but Bluetooth headphones and smartphones are also purchased a lot," observed the Media-Markt department manager.
Galeria Kaufhof also enticed its customers with discounts. A woman from Bonn, who had spontaneously come to the city center with her daughter, tried on several pairs of shoes. But it was clearly more strenuous than usual with a mask on, the women said. "When you look down, the mask slides up into your eyes." Perhaps that's why the mother hadn't bought shoes for some time. Her daughter, meanwhile, had picked out some boots. On her smartphone, she compared the price with offers from online. Although the shoes would have been even cheaper there, she decided to buy them locally in person. "Now I know what I have," said the Bonn native. One floor below, an employee in the perfume department observed that sales of fragrances had picked up significantly with the discounts.
Smaller stores also participate in Black Friday
But many smaller stores and boutiques also offered special deals - such as Parfümerie Vollmar on Sternstrasse. A couple looked with interest at the advertising signs. "Let's take a look at what's on offer," the man said to his wife, and they both disappeared into the store. Other stores decorated their entrances with colorful balloons.
Relatively little was going on in the Lego store at the Urban Soul complex. In the morning hours, however, people had queued up there to buy a newly released building set from the Star Wars collection. The product, which costs around 800 euros, was not yet sold out, according to an employee. The large Primark store across the street did not participate in Black Friday. According to a staff member, their products are always offered at low prices, so there is no need for a special day.
Nico Schröder, co-managing director of hystreet.com, an online portal for measuring the number of visitors to shopping streets in city centers, believes that the pedestrian zones will be fuller on Saturday as a result of the special promotions and deals. "In recent days, the Christmas markets have led to an increase of around 25 percent of potential customers in Bonn city center," Schröder said. And Black Friday has certainly caused this level to rise once again, he added. Not least because of this, the police and the public order office showed a lot of presence in the city center on Friday to monitor compliance with the mask requirement.
Greenpeace supporters gathered in Sternstrasse in the afternoon for a protest against Black Friday. At an information booth, those interested could learn not only about the consequences of overconsumption, short-lived products and packaging waste, but also about alternatives to buying things brand new and about sustainable stores in Bonn. "Overconsumption of short-lived goods puts a strain on our planet and thus endangers our future," said Luis Pauly from Greenpeace Bonn. However, the Greenpeace demonstrators also pointed out alternatives: "In Bonn and many other large cities, there are numerous second-hand stores and stores without packaging that are an environmentally friendly alternative to the large retail chains.” Public exchange shelves are also a good option for saving goods from the trash can, he added.
(Orig. text: Niklas Schröder/Translation: ck)