Wednesday, November 21, 2007

My Thoughts On “Buy Nothing Day”

If we choose to participate in “Buy Nothing Day” by not shopping on “Black Friday”, November 23, 2007, does it accomplish anything?

Here is a blog post of mine from March 2006 which addressed boycotts.

My Thoughts on Boycotts in General

The issue here is that if we don’t shop on that one day, but instead Christmas shop and spend money on another day, before or after November 23rd, then what is the point of participating in Buy Nothing Day? If you still are spending the money and being just as much of a consumer what is the point? Is it just so that your dollars are not counted in the tallies that are done on that day, to mess with the calculations of the economists?

If you are participating to take a stand to consume less, a better plan would be to overall reduce any extraneous spending you do on Christmas. Cut back from what you currently do. Cut back overall, don’t just not shop on one day but shop on some other day.

Last week a friend mentioned the idea of not shopping on Wednesdays. As my husband said, if you need to grocery shop and choose to not do it on Wednesday, you still need to do it, so you do it on Tuesday, Thursday or some other day. So what was accomplished by pushing the shopping from Wednesday to some other day?

Can someone please explain to me why this makes sense, to move the shopping off to another day but to still shop? I see this as illogical thinking.

Here is the AdBusters site where you can read about their Buy Nothing Day. You can also view two ads they are showing on television to promote Buy Nothing Day. I find the pig ad ridiculous. For example a comparison of American consumption to that of a person from India is ridiculous and is not ‘apples to apples’ if you ask me. (Plus, Mexico is a part of North America, so they have a little error in there. If they wanted to attack Canada and the United States they should have just said 'Canada and the United States'.)

Me and Black Friday
In case you’re wondering, 2006 was the first time I ever went shopping for anything on Black Friday. I usually like to relax and just stay home and stay out of the madness that takes place. But last year I bought some items at a deep discount in the early morning and then went home to relax. These were things I was going to buy anyway but by purchasing it on that day I saved money. I had planned fully what I'd buy, had a 'plan of attack', went and got what I had on the list and then went home. I am undecided about whether to go out this year as I don’t yet know what is on sale that I had planned to purchase anyway. I have my list of what I am going to buy this season (it is short) and if any of this is on sale then I will go brave the phenonemon that is Black Friday (by going to stores when they open at 4:00 am).

Family Traditions
Our family has a lot of traditions which we enjoy, many of which cost nothing or next to nothing. One way to simplify Christmas is to spend time doing things with your children and spouse and extended family which are tradition centered rather than focusing more on buying stuff and exchanging gifts.

The Attitude
I realized that one thing that bothers me about the "Buy Nothing Day" is the attitude and the attempt to guilt and shame others. With my own family for multiple reasons from desire to necessity we have scaled back Christmas to simplify the parts that have to do with buying too much. We did this for our own reasons, we were internally motivated. I don't shame others for what they do. I didn't do any of this because outside parties were shaming me in books, magazine ads or articles, or with commercials. I don't like the attitude of these ads, especially the pig ad. I resent someone calling me a pig to be honest especially when they know nothing of my life or how much or how little I spend.

Hat Tip: A local homeschool mom posted about Buy Nothing Day on a homeschool discussion group, promoting it.

If you need some ideas for simplifying Christmas check out the book “Unplug the Christmas Machine”. Oops, if you buy it you’ll be a consumer. And now my blog post is turning into a commercial. If you’d like to save money you can see if your public library has this book in circulation.

Also books about simplifying your life by Elaine St. James can be very helpful (they were to me), she has a whole series of them.

(My retort to the statement in the AdBusters pig ad):
People Think India Is a Poor Country, It is Not article in Time magazine published 3/07/05

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Sebastian said...

I think the problem with these sales is when they create wants, which then become needs, which then become purchases that wouldn't ordinarily have been made.

Sandy said...

I agree that it is the attitude and the attempt to guilt and shame that bothers me about most of the Christmas controversies. I enjoy an informed discussion, but would like the final decision making to be left up to me.