Buy Nothing Day: Black Friday 11/25/2011

Archival Image: Buy Nothing Day 2006

Well, here, we are, a shopping site, telling you not to shop. Though, it is only for one day a year. We feel pretty sure you could just wait and buy it tomorrow or the next day. And, low sales figures for Friday, November 25th, will make the big stores and the 1% rethink how they sell to consumers, and exploit labor. (And, low sales figures on this one day might also cause prices to lower in time for the winter holidays!)

Peace Couple promotes compassionate shopping. That means standing up for people forced to work late Thanksgiving, or all hours of the day on Friday, because the greedy corporations that employ them are trying to rake in more cash.

So, please consider buying nothing today. But, if you do buy something, please buy it from a small business and/or union business.

Here are some thoughts from the folks at Adbusters:

“You’ve been sleeping on the streets for two months pleading peacefully for a new spirit in economics. And just as your camps are raided, your eyes pepper sprayed and your head’s knocked in, another group of people are preparing to camp-out. Only these people aren’t here to support occupy Wall Street, they’re here to secure their spot in line for a Black Friday bargain at Super Target and Macy’s.

Occupy gave the world a new way of thinking about the fat cats and financial pirates on Wall Street. Now lets give them a new way of thinking about the holidays, about our own consumption habits. Lets’ use the coming 20th annual Buy Nothing Day to launch an all-out offensive to unseat the corporate kings on the holiday throne.

This year’s Black Friday will be the first campaign of the holiday season where we set the tone for a new type of holiday culminating with #OCCUPYXMAS. As the global protests of the 99% against corporate greed and casino capitalism continues, lets take the opportunity to hit the empire where it really hurts…the wallet.

On Nov 25/26th we escape the mayhem and unease of the biggest shopping day in North America and put the breaks on rabid consumerism for 24 hours. Flash mobs, consumer fasts, mall sit-ins, community events, credit card-ups, whirly-marts and jams, jams, jams! We don’t camp on the sidewalk for a reduced price tag on a flat screen TV or psycho-killer video game. Instead, we occupy the very paradigm that is fueling our eco, social and political decline.

Historically, Buy Nothing Day has been about fasting from hyper consumerism – a break from the cash register and reflecting on how dependent we really are on conspicuous consumption. On this 20th anniversary of Buy Nothing Day, we take it to the next level, marrying it with the message of [the occupations].” – Adbusters

There is a great article on why Black Friday deals aren’t always so great, and things to watch out for, at Time: here.


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Summary and FAQ:

Question: What is Black Friday?

Answer: Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving. Many people think of it as the beginning of the Christmas holiday season, so stores try to have sales and specials and get people into the store. Also, the sales figures from Black Friday, and this weekend, are often used by retailers to gage prices, and to gage how much more inventory (if any) to purchase leading up the Christmas. Retailers and economists often look to Black Friday sales figures as a reflection of consumer confidence.

Question: What is bad about Black Friday?

Answer: It is usually not good when huge corporations and big box stores oversell items to the public. In addition, in order to create urgency and hype about buying on this day, many stores open early, wind people up with teasing offers, and then have crowd problems. In 2008, in Nassau County, NY, a Walmart worker, Jdimytai Damour, was trampled and killed during a Black Friday shopping stampede at Walmart. (Story: here.) In 2011, in LA, a shopper used pepper-spray on fellow shoppers, because of crowding and competitive shopping at a Walmart store. (Story: here.)

Question: What is Buy-Nothing-Day?

Answer: (Research and quotes from buynothingday.org) Buy Nothing Day probably began from the ideas of artist Ted Dave. It was then promoted heavily by Adbusters (the group that also inspired the Occupy Wall Street idea). And, has now spread to be its own holiday and international phenomenon.

buynothingday.org says:

Buy Nothing Day is your special day to unshop, unspend and unwind. Relax and do nothing for the economy and for yourself – at least for a single day. It’s a reminder to stop and think about why you’re spending…

Question: Why are there people standing outside the mall with signs today?

There are many times when activists will call a demonstration in front of a mall. On Long Island, there was a whole series of peace actions, held in front of malls in order to reach the general public.

On Black Friday, though, a mall demonstration is also to ask people to boycott Black Friday, stop shopping on that day, and celebrate “Buy Nothing Day”. On November 25, 2011, there are many demonstrations, all over the country, which are a mingling of the Occupy Wall Street movement and Buy Nothing Day activists. the overall message is that the 99% can affect their own world, by steering their money away from huge corporations and away from hyper-consumption.

Some local occupy-related, Black Friday events for today, 11/25/2011:

-On Friday, November 25th, Occupy Seattle will join Occupy Tacoma, Occupy Bellingham and Occupy Everett in a statewide protest at Wal-Mart in Renton, Washington at 2:00pm. (Story at OccupyWallSt.org: here.)

-In Suffolk County, New York, Occupy Long Island protesters will be in front of Smith Haven Mall from noon to 2pm. Info: here.

-The Occupy Boise movement in Idaho is planning a zombie occupation where protesters will silently mingle with shoppers across the state to protest what they see as “excessive consumerism.”

Question: Why is there a demonstration outside the mall on Black Friday?

(It’s probably a Buy Nothing Day protest. See details at answer above.)

Is Buy Nothing Day on Black Friday related to the Occupy Movement?

Buy Nothing Day was created before the occupy movement. Buy Nothing Day was the vision of an artist, got picked up by Adbusters, and is now an international phenomenon.

Still, this year, the Occupy Movement is breathing new life into Buy Nothing Day, because they have similar values. The relationship between Occupy Wall Street and Buy Nothing Day is similar to the relationship between Occupy Wall Street and Bank Transfer Day. The spirit, energy, and communications systems of the Occupy Movement is magnifying the good work of the other movement. And, since the Occupy Movement has empowered people, and given courage to the 99%, there are more people willing to support these other actions and causes.

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