(and now is the time of year when i once again start nudging you to think about observing Buy Nothing Day/Buy Nothing Christmas….)
Filed in QOTD | Tagged with adbusters, banksy, BND, capitalism, consumerism, consumption, NaBloPoMo | Comment (0)
People abuse you everyday. They butt into your life, take a cheap shot at you and then disappear. They leer at you from tall buildings and make you feel small. They make flippant comments from buses that imply you’re not sexy enough and the fun is happening somewhere else. They are on TV making your girlfriend feel inadequate. They have access to the most sophisticated technology the world has ever seen and they bully you with it.
They are The Advertisers and they are laughing at you.
However, you are forbidden to touch them. Trademarks, intellectual property rights and copyright law mean advertisers can say what they like wherever they like with total impunity.
Screw that. Any advert in public space that gives you no choice whether you see it or not is yours. It’s yours to take, re-arrange and re-use. You can do whatever you like with it. Asking for permission is like asking to keep a rock someone just threw at your head.
You owe the companies nothing. You especially don’t owe them any courtesy. They have rearranged the world to put themselves in front of you. They never asked for your permission, don’t even start asking for theirs.
We can’t do anything to change the world until capitalism crumbles. In the meantime we should all go shopping to console ourselves.
once again…time for the annual rant against holiday consumption and nudge toward a smarter economy….
it’s not like i don’t buy things. i do. but i try to buy them conscientiously, knowing where things come from, who made them, and how they were made and what from. i support local fashion as much as possible, shop recycled/used clothing stores, and try to avoid “made in china/sri lanka/vietnam/indonesia” when i buy something new. when it comes to food, beauty, and cleaning products, i look for the most organic/fewest ingredients/greenest thing i can find. but this doesn’t make me anti-consumer. i certainly couldn’t go a year without buying anything. in fact, i think because i am always looking for the perfect thing, the greenest thing, the most sustainable, best choice, i probably end up shopping MORE than someone who just walks into Wal-Mart, loads up the cart and walks out. i probably go to 5x as many stores looking for the best alternative, and pay more for things too, further supporting the economy.
i say this because i don’t want people to get the wrong impression when i support things like Buy Nothing Day (no shopping the day after Thanksgiving) and Buy Nothing Christmas (a radical Christian idea!). i understand that these seem extreme, and many people think futile. does it really make a difference if you shop the weekend after Thanksgiving or a week later? and aren’t giving gifts a nice thing to do?
in my mind, it’s the mindset of these activities that bothers me most – that this ritualized consumption is now an expected part of American culture, so much that people put themselves through horrid situations at the beck and call of retailers like cattle through a gate – remember the people getting trampled last year on “black friday”? – and into financial debt they can’t afford to “participate”. and, in the end, what percentage of Christmas gifts are actually something people wanted?
go ahead, consume. i’m not going to pretend that isn’t part of all our lives. but i encourage you to do it as mindfully as you can. this saturday is the first ever widely organized Small Business Saturday, with companies like American Express giving huge promotions. so maybe instead of hitting up the Best Buy and Wal-Mart on Black Friday and filling up your cart, take some time to find some of the items on your shopping lists at small businesses in your community on saturday instead. if done right, this can turn our economy around. small family businesses will thrive, artists will make a living, communities will come together. in my mind, THAT is the American way.Filed in things you can do | Tagged with adbusters, BNC, BND, consumerism, economics, NaBloPoMo | Comment (0)
yes, my friends, once again i am advocating a BUY NOTHING CHRISTMAS and intend to spend black friday somewhere along the northern california coast between the pacific ocean and a grove of redwoods, not a shopping mall or wal-mart for miles.
IMNSHO, if you really want to celebrate CHRISTmas…in these hard economic times, put giving to the poor at the top of your list. food banks first. i started my giving early this year and last week sent a check to the Alameda County Community Food Bank. find a food bank near you.
if not buying any gifts seems too hardline for you, and/or, although i don’t empathize, i can understand, you LIKE shopping for your friends and family, and you want to express your love and admiration for them with gifts, i suggest buying handmade, local items. use ebay or etsy.com. visit a craft fair. or hey! talk to the people in your town. i bet some of them make things. people are crafty. now, these might not be the “hot gifts” everyone (especially children) has been hypnotized by television to want this year, but i thought it was the thought that counted? or maybe you’re one who believes that the way out of this recession is through consumer spending, and running out at 4AM to Macy’s on Black Friday is part of your patriotic duty….that leads me to another thought:
people keep saying that our Democracy runs on the Dollar, and lots has been written and said recently about our politicans being bought. if that’s true, then you have POWER. think more about where you send your dollars. there’s a lot of frustration lately about companies outsourcing work and manufacturing overseas while Americans are losing jobs. there’s something you can do about that: stop buying things from overseas, and from the companies that outsource. that means you might not get that huge new plasma screen TV, or your kids might not get the hottest Made in China toys for Christmas this year. but wouldn’t you rather have a job? Wal-Mart and other huge retailers take middle-class jobs away by killing small businesses and selling imported goods, yet everyone keeps giving them their money, usually for things they don’t need. why? long ago i pledged to stop buying anything with that MADE IN CHINA label unless i really, really needed it. sometimes, it’s unavoidable. but most of them time, you don’t need it. and america doesn’t need it either. america is losing the 21st century. as this great recent NYT Op-Ed points out, “Never cede a century to a country that censors Google.”
so this Christmas, support America. please give to the poor, and as for gifts, either Buy Nothing or Buy Local. i support both.
“If you wish to be perfect, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven.” Matthew 19:21
…what He said.Filed in things you can do | Tagged with adbusters, BNC, BND, wal-mart | Comments (2)
a friend of mine sent a link to this news story about a toy made in China that contains a chemical that turns into GHB when ingested (it’s not intended for ingestion, but kids eat things). she expressed concern that people are putting their consumer values ahead of their health and safety values. this news item is quite timely considering the holiday season is right around the corner, and so is BUY NOTHING DAY.
On November 23, we celebrate the fifteenth annual Buy Nothing Day. This year is going to be exceptional. The mainstream has finally woken up to the reality of the environmental crisis, and the responsibility that lies with us, the planet’s most affluent – the upper 20% that consume 80% of the world’s resources. Now’s our chance to do something about it.
i think that not only is buying american (or european, or canadian, or other places that have 1st world health and safety standards, not just for us but for them) is important, but more important than that i think is just plain NOT BUYING.
rampant consumerism is killing our environment, our children, our economy. it all just has to stop. whether it’s toxic toys from china or plastic disposable things made in the USA, we don’t need more crap – we need less. and the more people think they need, the more they’re willing to give up in terms of human rights and safety so that they can get cheaper and cheaper goods.
americans are so addicted to the instant-gratification response of consumerism (which is promoted and put into our brains by commercial marketing and the media) that we think it feels like “punishment” for american families to force themselves to stop buying toys and all kinds of cheap chintzy crap at Wal-Mart and instead save money for healthier, better things. WTF?
the money spent on material things we don’t need could be put to better use in our lives – better food, better homes, higher education, healthy activities, self-improvement, savings accounts for your kids … all kinds of things. for you AND your children. think about how much money you would save for your family if every time you went to the store you only bought things you really need, instead of things you think you WANT.
if we want to save our children’s futures, we need to stop feeding into a toxic economy NOW, and also be good role models to teach our children different and better consumer spending habits. there is just no way around it.Filed in environment, things you can do | Tagged with adbusters, BND, economics, plastic | Comment (0)
forget the jam-packed malls and streets
spend your friday cuddling at home with your loved ones
basking in sun or fog
reading a long lost book
taking care of yourself
remembering that in other parts of the world,
$100 buys 2 months of education
or a year’s worth of clean water
and be thankful that you are alive and well and loved
instead of wanting what glitters in the darkness.
friday, november 24th, is Buy Nothing Day. resist.
i’m trying to think of something to write about, but there’s nothing really compelling. we had a wonderful dinner yesterday with tons of great vegetarian food and my wonderful friends, and it felt good. there was a lot of warmth in the room.
today was buy nothing day. i did buy something: food. and home improvement supplies at the art and hardware stores. but not gifts. nothing i wouldn’t buy any other day of the year. berkeley was actually pretty empty, compared to other friday/saturday afternoons, with all the students gone. telegraph was half empty and most of the stores were closed. i know the madness is at union square and other such consumer hot spots, but i avoid those altogether. stop 1: ethiopian food. 2: art store for canvases. 3: hardware store for staple gun and scissors.
NanoWriMo is almost over and i think i wrote about 4,000 words. not exactly a huge accomplishment. i do not have the patience for fiction, that is certain.
my mom is coming to visit in less than a week. i’m excited. she is just as goofy as i am, and we are going to run around the bay area doing goofy things.
today we were going to take a long road trip, but instead we had to hang around in order to take Sahar to the vet because she scratched her cyst too hard again, and i wanted to make sure it was still OK. vets are worse than doctors, i swear. 10 minutes = $120. jeebus!
in other uninteresting news, i’m linking to this but i’m not telling why. later, perhaps. it’s not done yet.
i’m not sure if i wish the rest of this weekend is more or less exciting than the past 48 hours. as long as it’s good, either way is fine with me.Filed in things you can do | Tagged with BND | Comment (1)
picky.eater has reminded me that it’s already that time of year again when the GAP and MACY*S have about two hundred sales and stupid jingles ring in your ears at the bank and the grocery store and the pharmacy and advertisers go nuts trying to convince you that you NEED things you have absolutely no use for and make you feel GUILTY for not buying your special someone a glittery glowy sparkly rock or scented pillow or heated shoes or SOMETHING.
once again, i advocate boycotting the consumer mania and focusing on spending the time and effort and money you would’ve spent shopping on treating your friends and family as human beings that you love, not just gift recipients. make charitable donations, work a soup kitchen, give a heap of toys to the Goodwill. if you must buy something, buy something good and pure and USEFUL and productive, not some ugly sweaters or gadgets no one will use or toys that will break in 10 minutes, and above all else don’t buy it for yourself, even if it is on sale for 99.99% off.Filed in things you can do | Tagged with adbusters, BNC, BND, economics | Comments (3)
dear friends and family,
i’m writing to urge you to kick off this holiday season by laying off the credit cards. you already have enough debt, don’t you? instead of spending your Friday-After-Thanksgiving (how many free Fridays off work do you get a year? one!) wandering swarmed shopping malls, spending money on over-priced made-in-china consumer goods, why not take the day to actually spend it with your friends and family, get out and get some fresh air, take the kids to the zoo, or something else healthy and productive? and, in the meantime, save yourself some money and help to curb America’s consumption?
i know what you’re thinking: but what about all those sales?! holiday shopping will boost America’s slumping economy! it’s my patriotic duty to go shopping! that really is a false dream, and i urge you to literally not “buy in” to those kinds of capitalist, consumer-focussed arguments for holiday spending.
for more information, take the tour at Adbusters to learn more about Buy Nothing Day. OR – visit Buy Nothing Christmas, to learn about more alternatives for the holidays. especially check out the stories and comments section, which also includes comments AGAINST this campaign.
love to you all, and best wishes for a CALM, PEACEFUL holiday season.
p.s. i’m giving your permission to forward this on if you feel like spreading the word.Filed in things you can do | Tagged with adbusters, BND, economics | Comments (2)
it’s coming soon — a little over a month from today: the day after thanksgiving. to some, it’s a free friday off work, a day to spend with the family, the start of a three day weekend. to others (mostly women), it’s the “biggest shopping day of the year”. millions of consumers flood commercial districts, spending money on everything from children’s toys to fur coats — most of which is unnecessary and wasteful. this year, why not use the day for something more constructive, and less destructive? i’m sure most of you have credit card bills as deep as mine. Buy Nothing Day is an annual resistance to corporate gluttony and consumerism. i’m sure you can think of better ways to spend your day than crammed into an obnoxious shopping mall, going through sales racks. so how about it? want more info?Filed in things you can do | Tagged with adbusters, BND, economics | Comment (1)