Blogs & Comment

It's time to buy nothing

Really, though? But that's the annual message of Buy Nothing Day, thoughtfully timed to coincide with Black Friday shopping sprees.

“This year, nothing seems right. Give the gift of nothing.”
— poster on

Buy Nothing Day is this Friday, November 25. Founded by Vancouver artist Ted Dave in 1992, and subsequently promoted by Adbusters Magazine and others over the past 20 years, the event has since spread to over a dozen countries.

The basic idea is to abstain from shopping and spending for the day (which is also Black Friday, the start of the busiest shopping period of the year in the U.S.). This year, promoters are hoping to take the event to the next level, marrying it with the Occupy Crowd and their tactics. Activities they hope to see include:

• Sit-ins at shopping malls
• Credit card cut-ups where participants stand in a shopping mall with a pair of scissors and a poster encouraging people to put an end to their mounting debt problems with one simple snip
• Zombie Walks, where participants wander zombie-like around shopping malls with a blank stare, buying nothing and promoting Buy Nothing to all who ask
• Whirl-marts, where participants steer their shopping carts around a shopping mall or store in a long conga line without putting anything in the carts or actually making any purchases

One day of “un-shopping” may not have much of an impact in itself, but “if we stop and think about it for a day, we might find out that we’re more deeply tangled in the dragnet of consumerism,” says the Buy Nothing Day website. In turn, the promoters hope that we may reflect on how “rampant consumerism” has impacted the environment and fuelled excessive levels of debt. Perhaps such reflections will lead to a lasting change in spending and borrowing habits.

Works for me; not sure about my wife, though.