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Archive for the ‘Consumerism’ Category

Everyone’s favorite proof-that-I’m-down (circa 10th grade), Adbusters, is gearing up for this year’s BUY NOTHING DAY.

From the website: Driving hybrid cars and limiting industrial emissions is great‚ but they are band–aid solutions if we don’t address the core problem: we have to consume less. This is the message of Buy Nothing Day.

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My first instinct was, yeah! I can do that! I, who always toy with the idea of forcing my students (high school aged) to carry around a garbage bag all day to get an idea of how much waste they generate; I, who was the only 7th grader who brought her lunch in a tupperware (seriously, I think I was); I, who co-led a petition campaign to bring back the milk carton recycling in 5th grade. I can do that.

But then I looked at the calendar! Buy Nothing Day is scheduled for Nov. 23rd… the day after Thanksgiving. The day that is, in fact, when my family is celebrating (due to schedular conflicts and such). Isn’t it called Black Friday? I guess that’s the idea. Nobody’s impressed if Buy Nothing Day coincides with, say, Ash Wednesday.

I think my surprise is more commentary on me as a self-deluding, shopaholic New Yorker (of course, I’m a New Yorker when it comes to shopping but a Brooklynite when it comes to everything else. God that’s sick.) than it is commentary on Adbusters and their campaign. Of course they picked Black Friday! That’s the whole idea! Take the most shopped day in the country and take the shop out of it! Not since Mr. Larsen’s poor supervision lost Dwight T. his finger on the lathe saw, has “shop” been so forcefully removed from regularly scheduled programming!

(I know, that didn’t make any sense. I’m sorry. Being forced to act on my purported beliefs makes me all nervous and flustered!)

So for many, Nov. 23rd is a paid holiday. Nothing makes us want to consume like a paid holiday! I’m not even working for this money! And they’re giving it to me! I need to get rid of it as quickly as possible! Oh god there are only 31 shopping days left until Christmas! HELP ME BABY JESUS!

I know the feeling. I do.

In fact, just this past Monday, I had a surprise paid holiday in the form of a Veterans Day off that I never got the email about. After I ate my breakfast alone in the dark, empty office, what did I do? Did I visit an old folks home to spread cheer? Did I pick up litter on subway platforms? What do you think I did? Obviously, I shopped! By lunchtime I was toting a new coat, a huge bag of assorted crap from Bed Bath Beyond, and some other stuff. I don’t even remember what.

So perhaps it’s not such a bad idea to force myself to buy nothing for a day. My new roommate keeps the sabbath and every Saturday, as I am exchanging dollars for brunches and swiping debits for cutesy clothes, I take a minute to appreciate her way of doing things. In a hypothetical way. And then I go…………..that’s right. Buy more stuff.

Personally, I already know that on the 23rd I am definitely going to have to buy at least a ferry ticket. But I think it shouldn’t be too hard for me to not buy anything else. What you do, that’s up to you! Get up at 4 AM to stand in a 3 hour line to get a discounted Elmo Giggle & Shake Chair?

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Never too young for the joys of a vibrating chair.

 

Or will you wake up at noon, cover your turkey-bloated face with zombie makeup, and stagger around to scare the consumers?

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Braaiiins…..J Crew Scarves…… Braaiiiiiiiiiiinnnnnnnnsssss……Stuuuuffff…..

 

It’s like, it’s never really a good time to Buy Nothing. That’s the whole point, right? And it’s not that we shouldn’t EVER buy ANYthing. It’s that sometimes, it’s easy to get lulled, so absolutely buying nothing on the most buy-happy day of the year is a way of taking a stand. It’s like deciding to start your crash diet on the day of the Iowa State Fair. You will miss out on lots of bargain-priced Fried Oreos, but you will have proved something important to yourself.

They even have a facebook group!

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I didn’t know what they were called, I just knew that every kid I saw the last bunch of months was wearing them. The little kids in my building run up and down the stairs on their toes like little birds and I am so afraid that they will catch their wheel(y) on a stair and fall the fuck down. But I haven’t seen that yet.

The Village Voice fashion blog Threadster just informed me that there are Heelys for adults too! (relatedly – are there LA Lights for adults?)

 So I checked out the Heelys website. Their slogan is “freedom is a wheel in your sole.” Ha! A masterful pun like that could only be intended for a worldly adult audience, not some stupid kids. Some of their shoes go up to Mens size 10. Which means that if you know a dude with average sized feet, he too can experience the freedom of a soul wheelie.

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“catching air”

On the website they also have a bunch of video clips of the Heelys pro team (you can join it!) doing tricks. One kid rides a skateboard down and up a ramp and then jumps off the skateboard and slides along a picnic table on his heelys! It was cool in a fucking terrifying way.

Next time you see some kids in your building cruising for a bruising encourage them to go for it and direct them towards a Heelys Recruiter. This could be their ticket to the big time.

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Yes, I know I’m flagrantly biting Pizappas’ schtick, but I’d like to take a moment to discuss a new, fulfilling relationship I have in my life. I’ve fallen deeply in love with the Park Slope CSA. It nurtures my body with crazy, fresh, organic produce I would never be able to afford otherwise and it nurtures my soul with fruity politics and community spirit.

For those of you who are not familiar, CSA is “Community Supported Agriculture.” Basically, one neighborhood teams up with a farm and buys one season’s worth of produce up front. For the next 5 months or so, the farm carts the produce down to a single location once a week. On the designated pick-up day, all of the neighbors who signed up for a share come get their heap of vegetables or fruit or flowers or eggs or meat or whatever they signed up for.

This is a nice thing because:

1. You eat and learn how to prepare vegetables you’ve never heard of before (i.e. garlic scapes or butter lettuce).

2. It’s cheaper than buying organic or even regular produce at a grocery store and most farmer’s markets. I’m just saying, it’s like $5 for a bunch of asparagus in my grocery store.

3. The farms are committed to organic, sustainable agriculture. So you know the food you’re getting is safe to eat (no e. coli for me!) and is not overly aggressive to the land it’s raised on.

4. It’s an energy efficient method of getting food. All of the food is grown reasonably locally (like 100 miles, as opposed to 4000 miles away). No need for airplanes, boats, etc. Additionally, because it’s delivered to one central neighborhood location, there is no wasted gas for deliveries and most people can walk their food home.

5. It’s good for independent farming because farmers get money when they need it (at the beginning of the season) and have a guaranteed market for their produce.

Okay, that is all I have to say about that. But if you’re interested in finding a CSA, the following Brooklyn neighborhoods have one:

Bed-Stuy
Brooklyn Heights
Carroll Gardens
Clinton Hill/Ft. Greene
Cobble Hill
East New York
East Williamsburg (845-943-8699)
Greenwood Heights
Kensington/Windsor Terrace
Park Slope
Prospect Heights
Prospect/Lefferts Garden
Red Hook
Williamsburg

And if you’re a sucker and you live somewhere else, you can find a CSA by state or ZIP code here.

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Nothing says “New York” to me like consumerism and touching multiculturalism.

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