Buy Nothing Day

Buy Nothing Day
via The Non-Consumer Advocate by thenonconsumeradvocate on 11/8/09

It may seem a little early to start talking about Buy Nothing Day, but the heft of today’s ad-laden Sunday newspaper says otherwise.

For those not in the know, Buy Nothing Day is a 20-year-old program put on by AdBusters, asking that participants buy nothing the day after Thanksgiving, (the traditional start of the Christmas shopping season.)

The AdBusters website describes this year’s shopping protest as such:

This year we’re calling for a wildcat general strike. On November 27/28 we’re asking tens of millions of people around the world to bring the capitalist consumption machine to a grinding – if only momentary – halt. We want you to shut off your lights, your televisions and other nonessential appliances. We want you to park your car, turn off your phones and log off your computer for the day. We’re calling for a Ramadan-like fast. From sunrise to sunset, we abstain en masse. Not only from shopping but from all the temptations of our five-planet lifestyles.

Instead we’ll feed our spirits and minds with a feast of subversive activities: pranks, shenanigans, credit card cut-ups, bicycle swarms, mall invasions and all manner of culture jams and creative détournements … and some of us will take things even further with sit-ins, demonstrations, passive resistance and acts of nonviolent defiance, anarchy and civil disobedience. If we can create a big enough ruckus on November 27/28, then we may be able to catalyze what the Situationists tried to set in motion half a century ago: a chain reaction of refusal against consumer capitalism … a sudden, unexpected moment of truth … the first ever global revolution.

Okay . . . that seems to be taking things beyond the extreme. I’m a strong believer in catching more flies with honey than vinegar — and that sure sounds like a big ol’ vinegar smoothie.

The people who work in retail are not our mortal enemy. These are people lucky to have a job in an economy that is seeing a national 10.2% unemployment rate. (Much higher in some areas.)

I cannot support acts of “anarchy and civil disobedience” in the name of non-consumerism. As I explain to my children, if you act in a totally inappropriate manner, no one will listen to your side of things. Even if you’re in the right.

Instead, I suggest a less extreme route and:

Simply choose to not shop.

Or, choose to shop in a manner that’s consistent with your values. Support your locally owned businesses, buy from a craftsperson, find that perfect gift in a non-profit thrift store.

I will not be participating in any AdBuster activities, and I can most likely be found the day after Thanksgiving up on Mount Hood with my kids. Enjoying home cooked meals with my family and going on some snowy hikes.

Will you be participating in Buy Nothing Day? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

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