Alternachicks - Buy Nothing Day: Nov 28th

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11-22-2008, 11:03 PM
Hey peeps.

So I've seen a few threads about after Thanksgiving sales. The day after Thanksgiving I always celebrate Buy Nothing Day. Thought I'd share with those of you who haven't heard that it is beneficial to consume less and who might want to know more. It's an anti-consumerist movement that focuses on one day: Black Friday, but pushes for a lifestyle change. Buy Less. Live More. Spend Less. Give More. From Adbusters (

Suddenly, we ran out of money and, to avoid collapse, we quickly pumped liquidity back into the system. But behind our financial crisis a much more ominous crisis looms: we are running out of nature… fish, forests, fresh water, minerals, soil. What are we going to do when supplies of these vital resources run low?

There’s only one way to avoid the collapse of this human experiment of ours on Planet Earth: we have to consume less.

It will take a massive mindshift. You can start the ball rolling by buying nothing on November 28th. Then celebrate Christmas differently this year, and make a New Year’s resolution to change your lifestyle in 2009.

11-22-2008, 11:44 PM
I love that. I always hated black Friday, which probably explains why I never go shopping that day.

11-23-2008, 12:22 AM
Black Friday has always been Buy Nothing Day for my husband and I. This is our fifth "conserver" Christmas. The first was a month after a bankruptcy due to medical bills and job losses.

Now we're on a fixed income, and we do give gifts for our family members for Christmas and birthdays, but we often buy used and/or make gifts. Our families are still mostly blind consumers - for some reason a gift from ebay or a downtown antique shop is "cool," but the same gift from "Goodwill" or a yard sale is just junk. So we no longer disclose specific shopping locations, our friends and family just know that our hobby is vintage collectibles and "antiquing," and if someone asks we just focus on how when we saw "it" we knew it would be just perfect for them (which is usually true - second hand shopping does require a bit more care or you really are just passing along junk). If they push for a where, we usually say "hm, we bought it so long ago, I don't even remember - honey was it Door County or that cute shop downtown," (a bit deceptive, but also likely to be the truth. I've not only bought gifts months in advance, I've forgotten about them and had to give them to the person at the next occasion).

The consumerism and buying stuff just for stuff's sake really does have to stop. It's amazing how much pleasure a cheap gift can give - if you don't tell the person it was cheap. Why on earth does it matter. If you loved it when you thought it cost $50, why do you hate it when you learned it cost less than $5?

11-23-2008, 11:55 AM
insane, kaplods, that it matters where more than what or even why.

my husband and i do not buy each other gifts for birthdays, valentines, christmas, our anniversary, nothing. we both just think its really weird and a tad bit f'ed up that there are set days in which people expect something. i don't want to be one of those people. to me, if i wake up on our anniversary and look for a gift instead of remembering that i'm waking up next to it, well, something gets lost. same thing about christmas. instead, we do random acts of little things on days for no other reason than we love each other i.e. he tumbles and polishes rocks, so i'm always on the lookout or he stops after work and gets me dark chocolate b/c i like dark chocolate, not because the calendar told him so.

we've been celebrating buy nothing day for a few years as well. absolutely nothing is bought that day. gas, gum, books, nothing. we have yet to participate in a protest outside stores. not sure if y'all followed the link but there's a great slideshow of protests. it's a worldwide movement. it's beautiful.

and christmas is the absolute worst. how has a holiday that celebrates the rebirth of the Sun/birth of the Son/etc. etc. and centers around Joy, Spirit, and Family become one that is now focused on sales and credit card debt. :( last year, i got my side of the family to draw names as opposed to stressing out over gifts for everyone and it seemed everyone breathed a sigh of relief. i drew my grandmother's name and made her a collage of the matriarchs in our family transposed under Alice Walker's poem "Women". It turned out nicely:)
for our husband's side of the family we donated to a little cash to heifer ( in everyone's name and printed out little cards.

and, yep, i agree. our need/love/obsession with STUFF has to stop.

11-25-2008, 11:35 AM
no sales here anywho. but i will join in spirit!!!
also prefer to craft and/or bake as prezzies. naughty vouchers for mr. man and the like.......also enjoy using sinfully expensive non-useful "things" e.g. cosmetics. consumerism isn't a big thing in germany...frugality and downright stinginess are serious virtues but since moving here i was inspired and dumped most of my credit cards and canceled my overdraft! craziness!

11-25-2008, 05:25 PM
no sales here anywho. but i will join in spirit!!!
also prefer to craft and/or bake as prezzies. naughty vouchers for mr. man and the like.......also enjoy using sinfully expensive non-useful "things" e.g. cosmetics. consumerism isn't a big thing in germany...frugality and downright stinginess are serious virtues but since moving here i was inspired and dumped most of my credit cards and canceled my overdraft! craziness!

i'm with you on the crafting/baking. this year is 100% hand made christmas present year for me. at least it's personal.

11-25-2008, 06:32 PM
I think it can be difficult to get out of a consumer mindset. Even the family members who appreciate the hand made and hand-selected pre-owned gifts, don't always know how to respond. Some want to compensate for the perceived value of the gift. They know how much time and effort a hand-made afghan requires, so they are often apologetic about their perception of the value of their gift. Sometimes, I'd prefer to do without the gift-exchanging just to avoid the awkwardness when a person (on the giving or receiving side) feels that the exchange isn't equitable. Oh, for crying out loud - who cares!? but a lot of people do.

I think one of the most nutsy concepts is always having a bunch of small gifts available so that if someone surprises you with a gift, you have something handy to give them. Gosh, we can't allow an unreciprocated or later-receiprocated gift, we have to pretend that we never thought of not giving the person a gift. When hubby and I were shopping a few days ago, we were shocked how even the Goodwill was filled with frantic shoppers, often picking up gifts that were entirely of the variety of "I got a competely useless gift and now I've got to find something of equal lack of value to pass on to them in exchange." I mean look at the number of completely useless, generic Christmans gifts that are available. Don't know the person very well? Get them a box of nuts wrapped in a red box and hope they're not allergic.

This past Easter we visited my folks and it was around my birthday. Both of my sisters asked what I would like for my birthday - and I suggested we call it "even" and I wouldn't buy them gifts for their upcoming birthdays. We decided to do just that, although it took us all a few minutes to get past the novelty of the idea - ooh, we were in dangerous, uncharted waters.

11-25-2008, 10:34 PM
Ollie - I totally agree. My best Christmas celebrations were when we didn't have a lot and had to get creative. I try to shop at smaller stores - you get more interesting things, support small business and don't have to face the crowds at the malls. I like to make gift baskets/boxes too.

I used to work in retail and I hated working on Boxing day - once I got out of retail I vowed to not shop on Boxing day. I don't care how great the deals are - there is no way I am going to get up at 5 am to go stand in freezing weather for 3 hours to get into a store! :p When I was growing up the stores were closed on Boxing day and it was a day we spent at home relaxing or visiting friends and family.

Speaking of consumerism . . . I was in a store last weekend picking up some odds and ends for a shoebox program (Operation Christmas Child/Samaritan's Purse) that sends gifts of toys, toiletries, clothing to kids in war torn countries. I was in the toy section looking at some sticker book that was geared towards young girls - it was all about shopping. I thought, gee, how sad that we market consumerism to 6 year old kids when I am in this shop buying stuff that we take for granted for a kid that can't even get soap and some washcloths in their country :(

11-25-2008, 11:19 PM
Great thread! I rarely "buy" anything for my husband for Christmas (the only person I shop for.) The only things I
buy him are books on occasion since we're both big readers, I buy him gift cards to Shutterfly since he's an avid photog (he did buy a new DSLR a few years back) and sometimes rare books or magazines since he's a collector. This year I'm going to buy him a piece of art from a show a student at Pratt Art School in Brooklyn made. Its a piece about Freud, sort of conceptual. He'll love it. Last year I got him a gift certificate for a murder mystery dinner weekend/letterboxing expedition at a B&B in Vermont. It was too much fun!!! But we are by no means consumers. (I will admit I do need new pants.) What we do buy when we need them are things that support local artisans or parts of the economy that aren't mega international importers. We're lucky that in our neighborhoods in New York (West Village and Brooklyn) that we have those kinds of options.

BUT...I will say...I was a political science major in undergrad. Social sciences often rub together and I sometimes get a little curious about social psychology. So this year, I have talked my husband into going to outlet stores and a mall near where my grandparents live for Black Friday. I just want to SEE it. I somehow think it will be mildly entertaining albeit mildly depressing at the same time. I remember almost one year ago now when the Apple Store opened near where I work in NYC and there was a bona fide riot! The cops came was a mess. I was so fascinated by how people were acting...all over some stupid gadgets...that I couldn't look away. So this year, I'm going to see what black friday is all about.

I do have a mission though. I want to find a pair of winter boots made by either the Keen Company or Merrill. Both companies have a big commitments to social and environmental standards globally and locally and Merrill shoes (some) are even still made in America. Plus the last pair of boots I bought, Doc Martens in 1997, aren't working so good with holes in shanks.

But as far as buy nothing day...I'm philosophically in...but this one year I'm going to buy boots to keep my feet dry and watch the shopping freakiness for fun.

11-28-2008, 02:53 PM
i mean really. as uberconsumers we support this kind of stuff, regardless of whether or not we were in the stampede. happy buy nothing day.

a man was killed in a Wal-Mart stampede thanks to Black Friday. also a 28 yr old pregnant woman was knocked as well and suffered a miscarriage. full story here (

11-28-2008, 07:24 PM
Humans are f@@king nuts.