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.
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?
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?
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!