Black Friday … or Buy Nothing Day?

I don’t usually do blog posts two days in a row, but a letter to the editor in our local morning paper made me decide to make an exception. Its message is so worth sharing. Full credit to its author, Tom Reddin. Why had I never heard of Buy Nothing Day? Here’s the letter:

Today is Buy Nothing Day

Today, the day after American Thanksgiving, is known as Buy Nothing Day, an international day of protest against consumerism. The things we buy can often have a big environmental impact, and in our present “climate emergency”, we must face the ethical consequences.

In our “developed” countries, 20 percent of the world’s population consume over 80 percent of the earth’s natural resources, so our economy has to quickly transform away from gross consumerism and our reliance on a growing gross domestic product.

Buy Nothing Day means ignoring the Black Friday sales and online purchases, and reflecting on our daily spending habits.

Various public protests have been used on Buy Nothing Day to draw attention to the problem of over-consumption, e.g., Zombie walks around a shopping mall or ‘Whirl-Marts’ of silently steering shopping carts in a long ‘Buy Nothing’ line. Some people will not only not buy anything, but also not drive their car, and keep televisions, computers and other non-essential appliances turned off for 24 hours.

Sierra Club Atlantic Canada Chapter encourages residents to consider a “Buy Nothing Day Walkaway” by getting outside for a walk to celebrate the great outdoors, while walking away from consumerism and unnecessary shopping.

The message behind Buy Nothing Day is far more than a day protesting consumerism; it can be the start of a new lifestyle for citizens, and a societal change to lessen our impact on our precious, beautiful earth.

Tom Reddin
Co-chair, Sierra Club Atlantic Canada Chapter
Bonshaw, PEI

————————————————————

So, what do you think?! I googled Buy Nothing Day and discovered that this movement first started way back in 1992 in Vancouver and now, apparently, is “celebrated” in 65 countries. Since I hadn’t heard of it until now, I’m thinking that the movement hasn’t moved as far as it would have liked!

That having been said, we should all be concerned that the economies of our “developed” countries seem to rely almost entirely on encouraging us to buy things we don’t need with money we don’t have. Isn’t that what led to the crash of 2007-8? Has anything changed? For those of us older boomers, who are being blamed for everything (and considering that I am the same age as Trump, Clinton, and George W, there are some things we should be blamed for), when we started our adult lives the first credit card – American Express – was just starting to appear. You needed to have an established credit rating (job, mortgage, references) in order to apply for one. In that kind of environment, you thought about your purchases in advance and bought what you could afford. Boy, has that changed. Decades later, banks were plying unemployed students on college campuses with promos to obtain their own credit cards. Sorry, but who is claiming responsibility for that? No-one any longer asks, “Can I afford that?” before purchasing. It’s a scary, slippery slope. And our economies are relying on that “strategy” to keep “growing”!

So, on Black Friday, and also on Buy Nothing Day, maybe we should at least be working hard to be responsible consumers. Buy what you need and what you can afford, period, and get some great deals within those parameters on Black Friday!

Thanks to Tom Reddin of the Sierra Club in PEI for giving me some food for thought this morning. Fortunately, I have no reason to join the crowd at the Black Friday sales!

This entry was posted in History and Politics, Just wondering, Leadership and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to Black Friday … or Buy Nothing Day?

  1. Jean says:

    I did buy something –$20.00 jeans last wk…motivation to help me keep fit so I can still wear them. And underwear which is bit difficult for me, since I am small hipped.
    In the past, most years I didn’t pay attention to Black Friday at all.

  2. I spun a long yarn recently with a nephew of mine about the antiquated “charge cards” (which I suppose still exist in the form of mostly store cards). The context was how at one time all of us carried cash way in excess of what we carry now. I can still recall in my teens and twenties, checking and re-checking my wallet several times when I was out on a date in a restaurant. So, yes, buy what you need and what you can afford.

    • Jane Fritz says:

      Hear, hear! The financial industry makes it so easy for people to get in debt, and then they happily charge them huge interest rates, making for more debt. A vicious cycle that works well for the finance industry.

  3. Over Soil says:

    I bought nothing today, it was there “Grab a bargain” in posters and emails and I just totally ignored it.

  4. Jane Fonda was in the news lately because of her personal ‘buy nothing’ stance on clothing, in an effort to fight climate change. You might find this article interesting: https://www.harpersbazaar.com/celebrity/latest/a29741997/jane-fonda-red-coat/

  5. Inkplume says:

    I’m in for Buy Nothing Day! Some people have made a national sport out of shopping and spending. I’d rather save my time, money and contribute to saving the planet by doing so.

    • Jane Fritz says:

      Thanks for chiming in, Linda. It seems that there is a small but mighty band of us Buy Nothingers! This movement probably won’t destroy Black Friday in a big hurry, but you never know! 😏

  6. I’ve heard of Buy Nothing Day & have spent nothing on such days in the past – but today I made 2 necessary purchases ( well, I guess we could have waited another day for them), but I was out walking the dog through the town so dropped in on our local market, then hardware store ( 2 purchases) then to pick up meds in the pharmacy where they welcomed the dog and made a fuss of him. So there’s been no blackness here on Black Friday as everyone I encountered whilst out had clearly read your previous post about being kind!

    • Jane Fritz says:

      Lol. I don’t think those purchases count as Black Friday shopping! Very glad to know that you live in an environment of kindness, as do I. Even better if they’ve read my blog! 😏

  7. I didn’t know about Buy Nothing Day, but I can totally support this movement.

  8. LA says:

    I agree. Unless you’re buying a necessity that’s at a good price, this day is ridiculous.

    • Jane Fritz says:

      You nailed it, LA. And it should be a necessity at a good price that you can purchase without having to fight for hours for a parking spot and without having to line up forever to pay for. Hmm, not likely!

      • LA says:

        Exactly. I bought weatherproof boots, 30% off but 10$ reward, ordered online, picked up at store. No beating people with boxes required

  9. I like this idea for buy nothing. If we really needed it we would have bought it perhaps waiting for a markdown price is not a bad idea but to just go and buy because it is in a sale is a waste of money. Good idea walkaway day enjoy the environment it is free.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.