Norwegian shop owner to double prices on Black Friday

The owner of a Norwegian online shop has promised to double his prices on Black Friday in protest at what he called ‘irresponsible’ conduct by retailers.

Norwegian shop owner to double prices on Black Friday
Photo: Jon Olav Nesvold / NTB scanpix

Student Torbjørn Selseng runs online store Bjøddn, which sells knitted headbands, in his spare time.

“It is probably bad business, but I hope I can make a point,” Selseng told NRK.

“I think it is obvious that if we are to make it through the next century then we must make some changes, especially in the richest parts of the world and especially with regard to consumerism,” he said.

A trend started in the United States, Black Friday is held the day after Thanksgiving. The spending frenzy earned its name as the point in the year when retailers begin to operate at a profit (“in the black” as opposed to “in the red”). 

Black Friday has quickly become Norway's most important shopping day. 

Transactions during the retail event last year were 6.1 percent higher than on Black Friday 2015, and the total 3.3 billion kroner (€363m) spent in 2016 was 5.7 percent higher than the previous year.

Though his business is doing well in the lead-up to Christmas, Selseng said he would not be taking part in the Black Friday discount event.

“Black Friday encourages consumerism that is not sustainable, so retailers must take responsibility and ensure people don’t buy things they don’t need. Black Friday is a shirking of responsibility,” he told NRK.

Norwegians are expected to spend up to 3.4 billion kroner during this year’s Black Friday, according to figures from the Enterprise Federation of Norway (VIRKE).

But Selseng is not alone in eschewing the consumer frenzy.

Earlier this month, furniture giant Ikea announced it would not be reducing prices in conjunction with the event.

“We have participated in Black Friday before and think it has gone a bit off the rails,” Ikea Norway’s head of sustainability Anders Lennartsen told E24.

READ ALSO: This is how big Black Friday has become in Norway


Key trial begins in Switzerland over protests against climate change

About 30 activists went on trial on Tuesday for blockading a Swiss shopping mall in a case seen testing the defence that they were justified because of the global climate emergency.

Key trial begins in Switzerland over protests against climate change
A member of the Red Rebel Brigade hugs a climate activist prior to the opening of the trial of 31 climate activists from Climate Strike and Extinction Rebellion (XR) movements who blocked access to a shopping centre in 2019 on May 25, 2021 in Fribourg. (Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP)

The campaigners, mostly aged between 19 and 25, were previously found to have acted illegally when they protested against the promotion of “Black Friday” — a now-global shopping festival held every November 29th that the activists said was an unsustainable celebration of consumption.

Swiss courts have in the past sometimes ruled that such acts of civil disobedience were justified because of the urgency of the global fight to combat climate change.

The case, due to last for four days, is the biggest trial related to climate change issues in Switzerland to date, according to media reports.

On November 29th, 2019, demonstrations were staged at shopping malls across Europe in the first “Block Friday” to denounce the environmental toll of mass consumption, according to the Extinction Rebellion network.

In the latest case, the activists were fined for taking part in an unauthorised protest, disturbing public order and disobeying police, according to Swiss news agency ATS.

But the environmentalists are challenging the penalties handed down by prosecutors.

The trial is already promising to prove contentious. The dozen lawyers for the defence complained some weeks ago that the presiding judge had not granted them the right to call certain expert witnesses — among them, Nobel chemistry prize winner and environmental advocate Jacques Dubochet.

While trials of climate activists have multiplied in recent months in Switzerland, defence lawyers have repeatedly, and sometimes successfully, invoked a “state of necessity” due to the climate emergency.

In January 2020, a judge accepted that defence in the case of 12 activists who had entered a branch of Credit Suisse in November 2018 dressed up as Roger Federer.

They were protesting against the investments in fossil fuels by the bank, a key sponsor of the Swiss tennis star.

The judge ruled that their actions were legitimate in the face of the climate emergency.

That ruling was overturned on appeal, with the higher court arguing that the activists could have used other legal means.

But last October, a Geneva court of appeal in turn acquitted a young activist who in 2018 vandalised the headquarters of Credit Suisse in another protest against its fossil fuel investments, citing “the state of necessity” in the face of the climate emergency.