1. Commerce
November 27, 2017

Buy Nothing Day is the antidote to Black Friday — what’s it all about?

By Hannah Wright

Amongst the chaos and noise from Black Friday — the US pre-Christmas shopping day that’s been exported around the world — millions of people opted to instead buy absolutely nothing.

The Buy Nothing Day campaign — the same day as Black Friday each year — urges people to “lock up your wallets and purses, cut up your credit cards and dump the love of your life — shopping,” in response to alleged over consumption and excessive spending.

Buy Nothing Day, a “worldwide celebration of living lightly”, was founded in 1992 by Canadian artist Ted Dave.

Intended as an international day of anti-consumerist protest, the day gained momentum throughout the 90s when Adbusters, the non-profit organisation behind the Occupy movement began to promote it.

Adbusters said:

As the Christmas season approaches, keep in mind that buying something will never make you happy. It might lift your spirits for a few hours, maybe even a day or two, but in the end (especially the real end) your connections, your friends, your family, your human experiences are really all you’ve got.

According to its website, “the rules are simple”; consumers only have to last 24 hours without buying anything.

Several ideas for other “cheerful” protests or activities are also suggested — cutting up a credit card, a zombie walk; where people walk lifelessly around shopping malls, and a whirlmart; encouraging people to form a long conga line with their shopping trolleys in Walmart, without ever buying anything.

Amid accidental Black Friday deaths and existential threats to humanity in the form of North Korea and climate change, the campaign labels Black Friday as an “absurd dystopian phenomenon”.

Black Friday is creating a brand of shoppers who will trample and fight each other to get their hands on next years landfill.

The organisation argues that small business are also left behind as they “cannot compete against this ruthless price cutting”.

The team behind Buy Nothing Day hope that the idea will extend beyond just one day. They said: “We want people to make a commitment to shopping less and living more”.

According to Greenpeace, who support the message of Buy Nothing Day, so-called fast fashion is one of the highest selling product categories on Black Friday — adding to the environmental strain rampant consumerism is putting on the plant.

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