Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Buy Nothing Day 2009

There's just over a fortnight to go until Buy Nothing Day 2009. What will you be doing on Saturday 28th November this year? You can keep it simple and just buy nothing all that day. Or you can print out and display a poster from the BND website, or join the Facebook group. There are videos to watch on the BND website too.

If you are feeling a bit more energetic you can join an event, or even organise your own. I like the idea of:

Credit card cut up
Volunteers stand in a shopping mall with a pair of scissors and a sign offering a simple service: to put an end to extortionate interest rates and mounting debt with one considerate cut. Be careful though: in some first-world countries, carrying scissors in public can get you arrested as a "terrorist".

Zombie Walk
The cheerful dead wander around malls, marveling at the blank, comatose expressions on the faces of shoppers. The zombies are happy to be among their own kind, but slightly contemptuous of those who have not yet begun to rot.

This activity has the advantage of being most likely to piss off security personnel. You and nine of your closest friends silently drive your shopping carts around in a long, inexplicable conga line without ever actually buying anything.

I love Buy Nothing Day because it makes me smile. We're bombarded with advertising telling us that the way to happiness is through buying stuff. So it is easy to characterise anti-consumerists as being cheerless killjoys (I'll let you in on a secret - some of them really are). But it shouldn't be like that. In truth, the pursuit of happiness through buying stuff is guaranteed to end in misery and dissatisfaction. If you ever actually bought the holy gizmo that made you feel fulfilled and happy you would stop buying stuff, and the businesses don't want you to do that. Wandering through a shopping mall dressed up as a zombie sounds way more fun to me than rushing through a shopping mall trying to find the perfect pair of bootcut low-rise stonewashed jeans in my size before the shops shut.


our friend Ben said...

Ha!!! I love the conga line idea, Melanie! I think my New Year's resolution for 2010 will be to see how many "buy nothing days" I can rack up! (Not as easy as it seems when we have so many kinds of animals. Seems like one or another is always running out of something!)

Yellow said...

I love the idea of But Noting Days being a permenant idea. I saved a fortune last year using weekly menus and shopping lists, to cut down on waste and impule buying, and it kept me out of the shops for the other 6 days. I turned it into a game, taking flasks of water & packed lunches on daytrips with the kids, and grinning when I saw the prices in the cafes we passed.
I also make a point of buying most books in the used section of Amazon, instead of new. But I should use my library more. Maybe I'll set a target of 100 books from the library and see how long it takes me to reach it.

Anonymous said...

I often have days when I spend no money, partly because I don't have that much to spend and partly because I hate shopping and avoid it whenever possible.
But. I have a season ticket to the swimming pool, I love the bookshelves in charity shops, and Pound shops are financially lethal.

I like the idea of a national (or is it international?) day of not spending, and I love the idea of cutting up credit cards. If we all used debit cards instead, we'd all be so much better off. I shall give that one some serious consideration.

Thanks, Mel.


Bill of Ballaugh said...

I fail miserably on this 'Buy Nothing Day' idea but am reasonable good with credit cards. On a recent trip to the UK found a letter from my bank saying that as I had not used my card for over five years they were going to take it off me unless used. Now, as I do like it in my pocket 'just-in-case', I took my young grandaughter, Ellie, and her mum, off to the Trafford Centre in Manchester and kicked a big hole in the card. Ellie loved it, and I'm sure her Mum was a bit tickled too. But that's it for another five years I hope.