Buy Nothing Day – [.or.continue.to.kill.the.earth.and.your.wallet.]

week-10-us-corporate-flagI couldn’t find a better way to start this blog off than that picture. Sure there were some neat clips about consumer consumption and some informative videos about large corporations, but this picture just sums it all up. I don’t want to make Canada look innocent here either; this was just a very clever way of portraying North Americans.   

Ever since we were little kids, we wanted an allowance so that we could buy the things we wanted. Our parents gave us everything we needed, but we still insisted on having more. Very few teenagers today have a job to invest in their future but have one so that they can purchase the newest crazes and most up to date gadgets. Malls are never found empty, and outlet centers are always packed. How is it that no matter the occasion, we find a reason to whip out the plastics and start shopping? The problem is that “real wealth is not a sufficient lien to guarantee the staggering outstanding debt.”[1] Banks give us a false hope with credit cards because we are spending money we technically don’t have. That is only one step into why consumer debt has sky-rocketed.  

Buy Nothing Day “is a day to just stop shopping.”[2] It seems like an easy concept to follow. Come on, 365 days of the year, and we still can’t put aside one day and find something better to do? Of course, big brand stores don’t support this 16-year tradition, but why would they? This only turns people away from purchasing into their name and buying their un-needed products. Buy Nothing Day is made to inform the public about: week-10-points-1-21

 

The interesting thing about Buy Nothing Day is that it “falls on the day after the American Thanksgiving,”[3] meaning there will be huge blowout sales everywhere. Just like in photoshopped magazine covers, the eye is easily fooled. We are immediately drawn to items that have a huge sale sign above them, even if those weren’t our initial shopping list items. Consumer adviser Clark Howard says, “If you just go by what the advertising says, you’ll be totally misled.”[4] Shopping has become a hobby for most people, meaning their homes are cluttered with unneeded things.

I love it when I walk into a store and see something completely pointless and hideous. Whether it is a toy or an outfit, you can find a few of these items in any store. Then by looking at the price tag of these useless things, they usually get put over the top. The creator of the Hello Kitty Hell website agrees by saying it is “truly amazing the crap that people are willing to buy and how much they are willing to pay for it.”[2]

This video made me laugh because of what happens, but it has a bit of more meaning behind it as well.

[5]

 

Did you see all those shopping carts? IN ONE LOAD! That’s insane! Also, these were new shopping carts meaning more than the hundred or so they have already were needed. It is just shocking to see the amount of buggies stores have. Now imagine every single item that gets placed into those buggies on a daily basis. Also, something to keep in mind is how often food is being thrown out because it went moldy at the back of the fridge or frozen foods being tossed because they are frost bitten from being in there so long. Yet somehow, we are still able to look in the fridge and yell, “Mom, there’s nothing to eat in this house!”   

Feel free to watch this quick video before reading on. [6]

I liked this video quite a bit because when we look at ourselves, we really are rats running around in circles. We are told that happiness is just around the corner and so is Wal-Mart. No matter the season or the sale we purchase, and purchase some more. Some people feel that Buy Nothing Day has no effect because people just go back to their old habits the following day. However, it is more of a day to inform, and hopefully inspire others to calm down on the purchases in the future. Some people feel “Rather than tak[ing] my money out of the marketplace for the day, I’ll get a fair trade coffee at a locally owned shop [or] pick up a few Christmas gifts made by independent artists and crafters,”[7] which is totally acceptable as well. Shop smart!  

[1] The Crisis. 19 Nov. 2008. Adbustures. 24 Nov. 2008 <http://www.adbusters.org/magazine/81/the_crisis.html&gt;.

[2] Celebrate Buy Nothing Day (no purchase necessary). Greenliving. 24 Nov. 2008 <http://www.greenlivingonline.com/business/celebrate-buy-nothing-day-no-purchase-necessary/&gt;.

[3] Buy Nothing Day. Media Awareness Network. 24 Nov. 2008 <http://www.media-awareness.ca/english/resources/educational/teachable_moments/buy_nothing_day_tm.cfm&gt;.

[4] Dratch, Dana. Is that store’s sale really a sale? MSN. 24 Nov. 2008 <http://articles.moneycentral.msn.com/savinganddebt/consumeractionguide/isthatstoressalereallyasale.aspx&gt;.

[5] A Day In The Life Of A Target Employee. 23 Oct. 2008. YouTube. 24 Nov. 2008 <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=acWfossz1rc&gt;.

[6] Rat Race (live more!). 17 July 2008. YouTube. 24 Nov. 2008 <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X4OPFl2Kxhs&gt;.

[7] Why I Shop on Buy Nothing Day. 24 Nov. 2006. The Tyee. 24 Nov. 2008 <http://thetyee.ca/views/2006/11/24/bnd/&gt;.

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