Forget #BlackFriday and join the world in #BuyNothingDay

While the world gets sucked up into crazy Black Friday over-consumerism, there is a large group of people who are taking up a better cause with a different perspective called Buy Nothing Day.


Global – Black Friday is all about shopping, but you can do nothing about it and the world is calling it #BuyNothingDay.

When was the last time you went a whole day without buying anything? In this day and age, is it actually possible to buy nothing for twenty-four hours? Supporters of ‘Buy Nothing Day’ think it is. And what’s more, they think we should all try it. At its core, Buy Nothing Day is a protest against the consumerism the organisers felt was necessary in our world, governed by the need to “have things”.

Buy Nothing Day or #BuyNothingDay was founded in Vancouver, Canada by artist Ted Dave in September of 1992. It is celebrated on the Friday after American Thanksgiving (the day also infamously known as ‘Black Friday’). And anyone who has ever seen what happens during the Black Friday sales understands all too well why it was high time that we take a step back and look at ourselves, our behaviour, and contemplate the meaning of all of the Black Friday madness.

The first Buy Nothing Day was organised in Canada in September 1992 “as a day for society to examine the issue of overconsumption.” In 1997, it was moved to the Friday after American Thanksgiving, also called “Black Friday”, which is one of the ten busiest shopping days in the United States. In 2000, some advertisements by Adbusters promoting Buy Nothing Day were denied advertising time by almost all major television networks except for CNN. Soon, campaigns started appearing in the United States, the United Kingdom, Israel, Austria, Germany, New Zealand, Japan, the Netherlands, France, Norway and Sweden.

Participation now includes more than 65 nations.

Forget #BlackFriday and join the world in #BuyNothingDay

People who observe ‘Buy Nothing Day’ can do many things to express their objection to our consumer-based culture. They may simply stay at home with friends and family rather than going shopping.

Some organise a so-called “zombie walk”, during which all of the participating “zombies” lurch around stores, supermarkets and shopping malls aimlessly, buying nothing, and staring ahead blankly. This is used to raise awareness about Buy Nothing Day, as the “zombies” will inevitably be asked what they are doing and why, and then can proceed to explain their point of view.

Some participants have also been seen silently steering their shopping carts around a shopping mall or store in a long, baffling conga line without putting anything in the carts or actually making any purchases.

Some people have taken advantage of the lack of shopping on that day and used the time to instead celebrate nature and the immense amount of beauty it offers us, free of charge. This can be done by spending the day in the countryside or the mountains, or even in a park, resting in the sunshine and enjoying the breeze.

Some other participants stand in a shopping mall with a pair of scissors and a poster that advertises help for people who want to put an end to their mounting credit card debt and shopping addiction with one simple cut.

A strategy employed by a group of participants in the 2009 Wildcat General Strike was to not only refrain from shopping, but keep all of their electric appliances off during the entire day as well, not travel anywhere by car, and not use their cell phones.

Some argue that ‘Buy Nothing Day’ can be the start of a life-changing lifestyle commitment, where others claim it’s meaningless, as observers simply buy more the following day. Either way, there’s no doubt that going without buying anything for an entire day is quite a challenge in the modern world, and will serve to make you think about what your life is really about.

Sources: #BuyNothingDay 
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Brent Lindeque is the founder and editor in charge at Good Things Guy.

Recognised as one of the Mail and Guardian’s Top 200 Young South African’s as well as a Primedia LeadSA Hero, Brent is a change maker, thought leader, radio host, foodie, vlogger, writer and all round good guy.

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