Friday, November 23, 2007

Buy Nothing Day 2007

Vancouver's Adbusters says: buy nothing tomorrow

Emma Gilchrist
November 22, 2007

This has to be the easiest call to action of all time: do nothing.

Well, you still have to wake up, go to work, walk the dog and feed your kids, but you can leave your shopping list at home. Today is the day to take a break from the Christmas madness that's beginning to creep into your life.

Instead, for the 15th annual Buy Nothing Day, make a conscious effort to participate by, well, not participating.

Environmentalists, social activists and concerned citizens in 65 countries will hit the streets for a 24-hour consumer fast today (in North America) and Saturday (internationally), marking a global cultural phenomenon that originated in Vancouver and has now gained attention worldwide.

The day is timed to coincide with the Friday after American Thanksgiving - one of the busiest shopping days of the year.

The brainchild of Adbusters magazine, Buy Nothing Day has picked up speed alongside concern for the environment, as average folks seek greener alternatives to unrestrained consumption…

Lasn, the Buy Nothing boss, says the message is bigger than a single day.

"It's about finding out how addicted you are to consumption," he says. "Everyone has their own way of waking up to the fact that 'my lifestyle really stinks' . . . It's about having that epiphany."

Lasn insists there really aren't any rules. What's really important is a mind shift - and not just a personal one, but a cultural one, too.

"It's really not enough anymore to change your light bulbs. You need to change your lifestyle, not your light bulbs," he says, pointing out that the richest one-fifth of the world's population consumes four-fifths of the world's resources.

"The real message is to take it seriously. You are one of the lucky one billion people on the planet. What part can you play, besides changing your light bulb? In that spirit of seriousness, go on a fast. Really go deep that day and come out of it transformed," says Lasn.

"What I'm really hoping is that millions of people participating in Buy Nothing Day will have a spiritual awakening."

"Buy Nothing Day isn't just about changing your routine for one day. It's about starting a lasting lifestyle commitment."

Buy Nothing Day survival plan

Here are five things to do today instead of buying stuff.

1. Pack a lunch. Put yourself to the test and see what you can come up with. And don't forget coffee. We don't want you heading to the mall for food, and then breaking your Buy Nothing promise.

2. Get outside. Explore somewhere you've never been before.

3. Catch up with friends and family. Stay in and call some people you should've called long ago, or invite a bunch of friends over for a Buy Nothing party.

4. The other three Rs: Read, relax, reflect. Take this day as an opportunity to take stock of your life and consider your consumption, and then make it an annual tradition.

5. If you find yourself in a stitch, thinking: "Oh no, I really need to buy this," take a second to think about what the word 'need' means. Could you get by without it? Re-evaluate what you require. You just might find abstaining from your consumer craving a liberating experience.


  1. It's been more than 5 years since I shopped on black Friday. But today I broke the tradition, because my daughter needed a Christmas tree and all the trimmings. I had fun treating her to ornaments and and decorations for her home and was happy that we saved 50%. After three hours, I was ready for a nap. It's grueling out there with those frantic shoppers.

    I like the concept of "Buy Nothing Day". No problem here, but the majority of Americans have a shopping sickness.

  2. That's an easy one for me.-I don't like shopping any way. The only one I failed on was number 3.

  3. I went out and explored somewhere new, instead of shopping! But then I've never done the day after Thanskgiving thing anyway.

  4. Oh, I like this idea! I took this a step further (without realizing it) and didn't even hop into my vehicle to go *anywhere*, as my small rebellion against gas prices.

  5. Anonymous2:10 pm GMT-5

    I try not to go shopping for another week or so! They have good deals on a few items but not worth my time waiting all night to get them!

  6. Mary- I have shopped on Boxing Day which must be as bad as your Black Friday! Shopping for something you need can be fun if you find it right away, grueling if you don't!

    Larry- I am not sure what a "Buy Nothing" party is like! Everyone's friends and family may be out shopping ;-)

    Laura- I get the impression from your blog that you are not a material girl. I like your walk post.

    Pam- I do drive somewhere most days, but that is a good extension of the Buy Nothing principle.

  7. I dislike shopping to begin with and never venture into stores when they are busy. I always try to have my Christmas shopping done early so I don't have to fight through the crowds and stand in line. Once a year, near Christmas, my hubby and I take a look at the Christmas decorations that are for sale, but often buy nothing.

    I really like the buy nothing concept. There's nothing that we need.


  8. Mary- Planning makes a big difference. Impulse buying is sure to be tempting for last minute shoppers or those out for bargains. You are right... we really don't need much after a certain point in life.

  9. I've blogged about this in the past, but the trouble is that the day sneaks up on you, and there are no reminders for most of us.

  10. AC- It always coincides with Black Friday, but as Canadians, we don't experience that day so it is easy to miss it. I read your excellent post on the same topic back on Dec 1/04!


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