You likely won't see much advertising about it around town, online, or on TV, but this Friday is Buy Nothing Day. This annual day is a form of protest. The target? Consumerism, or buying things.
The day asks people to reconsider what and how much they buy every year by challenging them to buy nothing for one day.
Buy nothing on THIS day?
Of course, Buy Nothing Day tends to get overshadowed by something else that happens on this day: Black Friday.
For decades, Black Friday has been one of the top ten busiest shopping days of the year in North America. It began because the day after American Thanksgiving (which is today, by the way! Happy Thanksgiving!) was when a lot people started their holiday shopping. Why not? You often have the day off, and you just had a chance to ask what everyone wanted over last night's big meal. Let's shop!
Stores figured this out, and Black Friday gradually became crazier and crazier. Today, most shops open very early and have massive sales. Lineups and buying frenzies are common with people clashing over prized products.
Definitely on purpose
All of this is a big reason why Buy Nothing Day exists. Some people feel that we only buy these things because our culture says that we should, when in truth, these are not things that we need to survive or even be happy. What better day to have this kind of protest than the biggest shopping day around?
Buy Nothing Day is actually a Canadian invention. It was started in Vancouver in 1992, and held in September. Five years later, it was moved to be on the same day as Black Friday, where it has stayed. And today, Buy Nothing Day is held in over 65 countries around the globe!
Is it possible?
Critics of Buy Nothing Day suggest that it's not realistic to stop buying things completely. Eventually, we need to buy stuff. And besides, it keeps the economy going, so what's the problem?
The organizers of Buy Nothing Day are more concerned with overconsumption, or buying too much stuff. After all, how many of us have things we no longer use, read, play with, or wear? Where do those items go when we don't need them? In the trash?
These questions are the real aim of Buy Nothing Day. Maybe after thinking it, you and your family members might decide to buy fewer things, too? Or maybe only buy things that are made locally or from smaller businesses?
It never hurts to think about how and why we spend money!