Friday, November 28, 2008

I'm buying nothing today

While some have been out since before sunrise to scoop up bargains and begin their holiday shopping, I am going to adhere to a small but growing movement that has taken Black Friday and turned it into something smarter and less stressful: Buy Nothing Day.

In the Western World, especially in the Unites States, we consume and throw away an obscene amount of stuff. The Internet video called "The Story of Stuff" does a nice job demonstrating how unsustainable our current path is. Buy Nothing Day attempts to ween us from our corporate-marketing driven impulse to collect more stuff -- of at least the day symbolically highlights the issue at a time when Americans are hitting the malls and commercial sites online.

One of the problems that is currently facing our financial system is that many people in this country are in debt. With our SUVs, plasma TVs, iPods, cell phones and all kinds of other gadgets, we are eating up the planet's resources, poisoning our environment and burying ourselves in debt. On top of that, some people went out and bought houses that they couldn't afford.

As I said, today is symbolic -- so don't shoot me if you see me out getting an espresso (I will not, however, be at any mall, big-box retailer, chain store, etc., for now or the foreseeable future) -- but it's what we do day-to-day and throughout the year that matters. I personally have a number of things I do to live a less throwaway life, but I will let today serve as motivation to do even more.

Update: On Long Island a Wal-Mart employee was trampled to death by the savage crowd that entered the store at 5 a.m. Meanwhile, in Southern California, two men killed each other when a gun battle broke out in a Toys R Us. Looks like the holiday spirit is upon us.

I saw a woman who had been waiting outside a store since Thursday afternoon the Newshour last night, and she said that her family was angry with her for missing Thanksgiving dinner, but she felt that shopping for bargains was more important. Consumerism has robbed many of us of our humanity.


acf said...

In eleven years in retail management at the department store level during the 70s and 80s, I never once heard the expression 'Black Friday'. I certainly knew that a retailer had to have a big weekend after Thanksgiving, and a big month leading up to Christmas to have any chance for a successful year. About 4 or 5 years ago, the term came to life, and each year it has been beaten to death by the media, print and broadcast, in an attempt to sound hip and with it. This year, it's taken an almost viral turn, arguably challenging 'bailout' for word(s) of the year, some reporters saying in 3 or 4 times in a single piece. I wish the media would spend more effort trying to craft an effective story than trying to use the latest buzz word in an effort to show how trendy they are.

N.starluna said...

Sorry Jim, but I had to buy an extension cord for our new stove. And a Snapple.

Anonymous said...

Yes, these news stories are all so sad. My family doesn't really give gifts during the holidays unless inspired. Instead we cook, eat, tell stories, play games and enjoy each other's company.

And don't believe the hype that you have to spend money to save the fact it is part of why our economy is in shambles today.

As you can imagine, I didn't buy anything the day after Thanksgiving.