This coming Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, is a bleak day in the United States known as Black Friday. I sadly felt compelled to write about it last year, and this year am hitting it ahead of the curve and hopefully with a piece of advice.
Black Friday, as many of you may know, is the day after Thanksgiving where prices are slashed and the official buying frenzy that is the Christmas shopping season begins. It will be marked by sales, hustling and bustling, and sadly, if prior years are any indication, a few injuries and perhaps even a few deaths.
I don’t know really where to begin in discussing how wrong Black Friday is, because it’s wrong in so many ways. We’re killing each other over a few dollars off on a doll? Seriously? As far as I’m concerned, it’s nothing more than a one-day event that shows corporations how we the people have bought fully into the concept that capitalism is king. It’s the day where we head out in droves and show them–yes, we believe your commercials and your ads, and are willing to empty our wallets and weapons in search of that all-elusive state we call happiness.
Sadly, nothing for sale on Friday will get us there. There is no product, no special, and no “thing” that will truly make us happy in the full sense of the word. Sure that new Wii will bring us a smile for a while, but only until we tire of it, or the next greatest game comes along, and then we’ll be jealous of those who have the new one, and wonder how we can jettison the old. It’s a vicious cycle–one that once you’ve bought into, you will have trouble getting out of.
So Friday, I along with the help of AdBusters, am asking you to step out of it all and stop. On November 27th (Nov 28th internationally), Adbusters is sponsoring their Buy Nothing Day, a 24-Hour Moratorium on Consumer Spending. The concept is simple. Don’t buy anything. Send corporations the message that you can’t be bought and you won’t buy in, and simply say no. Spend the day outdoors, with a friend, take a hike, even clean the house, just don’t buy anything. It’s that simple.
There are all sorts of easy ways to go about doing this on their site and many groups are sponsoring their own happenings, from sit-ins to credit card cut up events. Civil/Consumption disobedience at it’s finest I say. Adbusters has held these days in the past (for 20 years in fact), but this year, they have added a new twist. If you are already on the train, amp it up a bit and add in no driving, no flying, and no electricity. Step off the grid for a day and see how it goes. I’m a big advocate of this concept to begin with, giving yourself a little taste of going without is a great way to convince yourself to use what you’ve got more wisely. And the candlelight creates a nice ambiance to boot.
So this Friday, put away your wallets, holster those weapons, and turn off your lights. Step out for a day and let us know how it goes. I for one, am planning on not buying a turnip twadller, a sweater fuzzball remover, and the latest Mac laptop, just to name a few things.
How about you?