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Buy Nothing Day
November 17, 2000 10:03 AM   Subscribe

Buy Nothing Day is November 24th. What do you think? Is this the right way to protest overconsumption?
posted by snakey (27 comments total)

 
Personally, I think that protesting overconsumption on the busiest shopping day of the year can only be a symbolic gesture. Choosing another day might be more effective.
posted by snakey at 10:16 AM on November 17, 2000


I would do it, but I have to be at the mall early for the sales...
posted by owillis at 10:19 AM on November 17, 2000


Sounds like it will do as good as the great gas out.

We are too in love with shopping.
posted by john at 10:26 AM on November 17, 2000


Baby steps.

This year, it's simply not shopping on Nov 24. Next year, you avoid shopping and you slash out the tires of at least one neighbor that was planning on shopping. Year after that, we begin beating up popular mainstays of holiday shopping (CEO of hickory farms, whoever started the Foot Locker, Mrs. Fields, William H. Macy (to send a message to the Macy's chain), that woman from the Old Navy commercials...).
posted by mathowie at 10:35 AM on November 17, 2000


It's just crazy enough to work!

Seriously, though -- wouldn't that day actually be a pretty good day to pull a stunt like this? I say this because "the busiest shopping day of the year" is always news material, and it's one of the few days I can think of where the level of consumer sales in one day is actually kept track of and reported on in the media. So if enough people participated in this to make even a moderate dent in the numbers, might it have more impact than if they chose some random day in June?
posted by Byun-o-matic at 10:39 AM on November 17, 2000


It might -- but I don't think it would be reported as a protest, unless people picketed. Instead, it would simply be seen as a slower than usual day after Thanksgiving, and a harbinger of a slow christmas season.
posted by snakey at 10:43 AM on November 17, 2000


Hasn't the country got enought to worry about right now? The last thing we need is to have the media hyping up the nation's plummeting economy due to a lack of holiday retail trade.
posted by jaz at 10:45 AM on November 17, 2000


Let's do something different and vow to never shop at a certain store again. Contenders being GAP or OLD NAVY. For giving us bad commercials and sweatshop clothes. We can put one bad business out at a time. WALMART might be a good one as well, but I think they have brain washed too many people.
posted by john at 10:47 AM on November 17, 2000


I have never shopped the day after Thanksgiving. Did the media care? Did reporters come to my home to ask me why I wasn't shopping? Did Sears send any coupons to try to get me to come this year? Nyet.
posted by netbros at 10:55 AM on November 17, 2000


More effective: Steal Something Day
posted by gluechunk at 11:36 AM on November 17, 2000


I think if consumers would take one day a year and not shop it would send a pretty powerful message to retailers. It could demonstrate that the consumers are able to drastically effect the fate of these corporations through organized action. Or unaction, really. But most people are more concerned with having a new palm pilot or whatnot than actually reforming Americas pattern of consumption.
posted by Doug at 12:03 PM on November 17, 2000


my friend alison and i saw this adbusters thing about a week ago and, since she's spending thanksgiving at my house, we were discussing what we could do. my fav idea is to get a couple more people and have me and some friends set up a card table or booth promoting buy nothing day with fliers and stuff and then alison could have a protest protest posse encouraging people to shop, handing out five dollar bills and getting into shouting matches wiht us.
posted by palegirl at 12:20 PM on November 17, 2000


I fear the time when one could fight the market by ignoring it has long since passed. Not showing up at stores on the
24th will be all-but-unnoticable. We need more highly visible anti-shopping acts.
posted by grimmelm at 12:25 PM on November 17, 2000


couldn't we all just think through each of our purchases every day, spending our money only on things that truly *will* enhance our quality of life in a way that aligns with our values, and simply not buying those things that are unnecessary or that we know to be exploitive of people and/or the environment?

marketing is intensely powerful, but if we all rendered ourselves more immune to it by approaching every purchase in a thoughtful manner, rejecting wholesale consumerism, it really would cease to exist as the powerful force it now is.

I guess that would be far too radical an approach.

rcb
posted by rebeccablood at 12:35 PM on November 17, 2000


I went to the store to get a "Happy Buy Nothing Day" card for my wife, but they didn't have any. Do you know if Hallmark is currently selling these?
posted by milnak at 12:38 PM on November 17, 2000


palegirl's idea is a sound one, but I think it'd be better to sell your Buy Nothing Day merchandise. Ah, cruel irony and sarcasm!
posted by hijinx at 12:49 PM on November 17, 2000


That the day after Thanksgiving is still a massive shopping day surprises me, given that everyone knows it's a massive shopping day. Do consumerites have some kind of blocking mechanism which allows them to ignore the congealed traffic, the exhaust stench, the crowds of cranky, angry people, the pushing and shoving, the background roar of overexcited chatter, the inability to find anything you actually want unless you arrive before dawn? How do they stand it? Why don't they take the known fact that it is going to be the worst time of year to be in a mall as a signal to STAY HOME?

Or do they actually like it?

-Mars
posted by Mars Saxman at 1:40 PM on November 17, 2000


Mars,
Sales and a day off. A powerful combination.
posted by Doug at 1:47 PM on November 17, 2000


So do we also have our gas, electricity and water turned off for this day?

How far can this be extended? Your bank is using your savings in order to buy stuff to make money for themselves. Interest if your cut of what they make.

Bah.
posted by Su at 2:06 PM on November 17, 2000


With so many people planning not to buy anything November 24, it's up to the rest of us to make up the difference. Come on, folks, America is counting on you! Ready! Set! Consume!
posted by kindall at 2:27 PM on November 17, 2000


This may just be a scam so someone doesn't have to wait in long lines that day.
posted by john at 2:43 PM on November 17, 2000


I want to rage against overconsumption, but I'm surrounded by shiny gadgets that belie my so-called convictions. It's like being a vegan butcher.

posted by Byun-o-matic at 3:04 PM on November 17, 2000


Hey, I want in on some of that vegan butcher action. Vegans make for very tender, corn-fed steaks.
posted by Skot at 3:13 PM on November 17, 2000


There were people passing out fliers at this years halloween Red Moon Festival urging people to dress up like zombies and wander down State Street the day after Thanksgiving here in Chicago. I did not save the paper, but I recall it is not aligned with any cause, just performance art. I would love to see hundreds of zombies walking down the sidewalk(not the street, cause that would be wrong).
posted by thirteen at 3:23 PM on November 17, 2000


Overconsumption? What, would you all rather we didn't have a market economy? I know! Lets ask the government to give us everything we need! Then we'll never have to buy anything again. Yay! None of those pesky choices...Where's Mao when you need him?
posted by parvati at 3:32 PM on November 17, 2000


The problem with, okay, a problem with living in a society so ridiculously defined by market interactions is that it gets harder and harder to make a statement in any terms except those the market understands. Buy Nothing day is trying to make a statement about a cultural problem, one that is intimately intertwined with our relationship to the market. And what's the response? Not buying stuff: a market action gussied up with some symbolism sure, but still an action couched in the language of the market. Approaching event horizon.
posted by grimmelm at 4:17 PM on November 17, 2000


Don't even think of it as a protest, but rather as a kind of personal meditation. Just like TV Turn-Off Day, it lets you consider the role played by the act of buying in your daily life: the way in which it becomes as instinctive as lighting a cigarette when you're a 40-a-dayer. The first "statements" aren't to the world, but to yourself.
posted by holgate at 12:28 AM on November 19, 2000


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