Friday, November 26th (the 27th in the UK) is international [url=“http://www.buynothingday.co.uk/”]Buy Nothing Day[/url.] For those who are unfamiliar with the concept, basically you’re supposed to refrain from buying anything for twenty-four hours - clothes, CDs, gasoline, even milk and bread from the grocery store. According to the day’s founders, this is supposed to make people more aware of the ethical consequences of rampant consumerism.
While I don’t know if the day brings about any real-world economic impact, I could see how it might cause people to rethink some of their own decisions and change their lifestyles. I’m curious - what do other people think about Buy Nothing Day? Does anyone actually observe it?
As with most protesting movements, I would say that it is idiotic. If you don’t fill up your tank on November 26th, are your supposed to need less to fill up November 27th? Speaking as an American, I will shop on that day while the stores are more empty and feel really good about myself that I am giving an Asian worker a chance to support family.
When the stores are more empty?!? That’s the biggest shopping day of the year! The day after Thanksgiving. I will stay home, though. I always observe it just because I don’t want to fight the crowds. (I live right by a mall.)
Ah yes, Black Friday. The first official day of the Christmas shopping season. I won’t shop on that day (some residual trauma from my days in retail), but I think it’s safe to say most Americans will NOT be observing the day.
Does one day of not buying anything really affect anyone seriously enough to make a difference? (I’m asking honestly here. The vast majority of my days are buy-nothing days, so I’m having a hard time understanding the fuss.)
I agree with Shagnasty What’s the point? I’m still going to need groceries, I’m still going to need to put gas in my car. It matters little to me, to the businesses I patronize or to the world at large whether I do those things on a Friday or Saturday.
I don’t really see much point to it, either. I have days when I buy nothing all the time- they’re days when I’m feeling too lazy to go out (or to go anywhere except to work and back home). Meals aren’t necessarily as good as on days when I do go to the grocery store, but otherwise things aren’t much different from any other day.
Ah, BND. I participated the last couple years and last year I gave out pamphlets and wrote to the editor about it. I’ll participate again but I’m far less optimistic about its impact as I was in past years. I think we passed the point of no return on the issue of consumption. There will be 10 billion people on this planet in not too long and everyone is trying to become more westernized. Something big will happen to stop it but I doubt it will be activism. More likely, I’d say a catistrophic collapse of the ecosystem, the world running out of oil, or a major nuclear war sparked over diminishing resources or space will be the cause.
I’m not saying give up. I’m very for the Adbusters cause and will continue to support and take part in their many campaigns. I can’t wholeheartedly take part in something that I disagree with, rather spreading the ideas might just give people the idea to change when signs of disaster start to show. Who knows, if we havn’t crossed the point of no return then the propagation of these ideas might just be what we need. If not, maybe we’ll have a good idea of what not to do rather than repeat the same mistakes thanks to that same information.
Oh, and the best thing that ever came out of BND for me is the tradition of a recycled Christmas suggested to me by a friend’s mom whie explaining BND. Buy someone a book at a used bookstore rather than an impersonal piece of plastic wrapped in more plastic.
Something I’ve never understood about Black Friday. Everyone I ever seem to talk to about it says they don’t go shopping on that day because there crowds are too big… Clearly, someone out there is lying! If they’re are crowds, people are shopping. It’s like the old phrase, “no one drives in NYC, there’s too much traffic.”
I don’t expect it to have a great economic impact. Thats not the point at all. The idea is to get you thinking about how much crap you buy on a regular basis, and give you a conscious and thoughtful taste of what thinking about your purchases, your needs and the impact they have on the world is like. Plus, it’s always a good intellectual exersize to try to go without something you do often for a short time. And it’s a way to bring thought and reflection in to the spend-frenzy of the holidays.
I can’t argue the specific number, but I encourage you to read the current Wired magazine for the article about how the world’s population is on a definite downtrend. So many countries are becoming so rich that people don’t feel the need to raise large families to get some to live to adulthood, and they don’t need the help on the farm or in the family business. I’m told Poland has started tax credits to get people to have MORE babies.
Even the Muslim countries are leveling off, or maybe even on a decline already (I forget exactly).
How is not buying anything for one day going to change anything. Particularly in a capitalistic country. America runs on money.
As for Black Friday, one year we got four inches of unpredicated snow on Thanksgiving, and you would have thought the apocolyse had started. The poor malls had to give people holiday pay on Thanksgiving to shovel the parking lots, or people wouldn’t have shopped on Friday the biggest shopping day of the year.