“Black Friday”, the day after Thanksgiving, when highly-motivated holiday shoppers convene at their local malls starting at 4am, is also Buy Nothing Day in the U.S. and Canada. (The rest of the world will celebrate Buy Nothing Day on Saturday November 24th.) While its name strikes me as rather self-explanatory, here is Wikipedia’s description of the event:
Buy Nothing Day is an informal day of protest against consumerism observed by social activists.
The first Buy Nothing Day was organized in Vancouver in September of 1992 “as a day for society to examine the issue of over-consumption.” In 1997, it was moved to the Friday after American Thanksgiving, which is one of the top 10 busiest shopping days in the United States. Outside of North America, Buy Nothing Day is celebrated on the following Saturday. Participation now includes more than 65 nations.
While critics of the day charge that Buy Nothing Day simply causes participants to buy the next day, Adbusters states that it “isn’t just about changing your habits for one day” but “about starting a lasting lifestyle commitment to consuming less and producing less waste.”
My strong aversion to crowds of rabid shoppers is usually reason enough to avoid any place and time where they tend to gather, lemming-like. (No Macy’s Thanksgiving sales for me!) There is something about the mad rush to buy things, many of which will be abandoned soon after the holidays are over, that I find depressing. So if that impulse means I will participate by default in the statement that Buy Nothing Day represents, that is just an added benefit as far as I’m concerned. There will be plenty of leftover food on Friday, and whatever gift purchases the holidays require can wait.