For most Americans, the day after Thanksgiving is known as Black Friday, a day dedicated to shopping, a day to take advantage of one-day only deals. It's become controversial through the years, as customers crowd the stores and trample one another for cheap electronics and consumer goods. Few can argue that it's anything but crass.
So emerged the one-day event known as Buy Nothing Day, described as "An international day of protest against consumerism celebrated annually just after Thanksgiving."
I follow The Compact, and thus buy only used; although frankly at this point I hardly buy anything beyond consumables and the occasional second run movie ticket. So yeah . . . I won't be pitching a tent outside Best Buy as soon as the Thanksgiving leftovers are put away.
My problem with Buy Nothing Day is that, like Black Friday it's a one day event. Buy nothing this one day, but then shop normally the other 364 days. Yes, it gets people talking about our consumer society, and that's a good thing, but it's still just one day.
One day is not enough.
I propose that people treat the day after Thanksgiving as just another Friday. It's a day when you have the day off from work or school, so go ahead and luxuriate in bed a few extra hours and then eat pumpkin pie for breakfast. (Did I not just describe the perfect day?)
Buy Nothing Day should be replaced with 365 days of conscious consumerism. An entire year where consumers make deliberate decisions about the purchases they make and how those purchases effect this world we live in. Only buy products that are produced by companies that provide their employees a living wage and safe working conditions. Companies who do not engineer planned obsolescence into everything they manufacture.
So yes, go ahead and choose to buy nothing on Black Friday if that's your inclination, but please don't think that can shop without abandon the other 364 days just because you abstained for that single day.
Shop deliberately. Shop thoughtfully. Shop responsibly. Shop less.
"Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without."