I love shopping. Plenty of family members and friends can attest to my love for the mall. Neiman Marcus to Wal-Mart, I love it all. But after four housebound days watching hundreds of commercials touting Black Friday sales using crazy-eyed, emotionally over-stimulated women, I’ve been trying to figure out how to anti-shop, even if for just one day.
I want to anti-shop just to protest the sheer amount of mindshare the Black Friday shopping day is trying to take from me. It’s not just the commercials. It’s the lead stories about shopping on the news for days leading up to Thanksgiving. It’s the websites dedicated amassing store ads and deals. Its the articles on “how to survive” shopping on Black Friday. All of it seems to elevate Black Friday to a national holiday for a country in need of economic stimulus. As though if we just buy more GPS devices, more sweaters, and more DVDs, we’ll get the economy back on track. It’s a noble calling — be a savings ninja!
A little Internet research turned up Buy Nothing Day, a low key 14-year-old movement created by Canadian Adbusters Media Foundation. Its goal is to get us to take a break from the cash register and reflect on how dependent we really are on conspicuous consumption. And this year it is being picked up by the Occupy Movement as its December campaign. Planned activities include mall sit-ins, credit card cut-up sessions, zombie marches and shopaholic clinics. There’s an interesting juxtaposition that the Occupy protestors are tearing down their tents this week, while a whole different crowd sets up camp outside big box stores to get bargains on flat screen TVs and laptops.
If nothing else, I hope that the Buy Nothing Day at least tempers the breathless media coverage of Black Friday sales. The sales can be fun to go to, if you have the money to spend on the mostly non-essential items that are bought. But in the current economy, fewer people do. Let’s hear from them.