Archive for November, 2008

Happy ‘Buy Nothing Day’

Buy Nothing Day Ad

Buy Nothing Day from AdBusters

No doubt completely lost in news of Christmas sales and Black Friday specials is the news that today is in fact “Buy Nothing Day.”   Little wonder if you have never heard of it, no major media outlet ever built a successful ad-revenue-based business model by encouraging people not to buy things.  But nonetheless, the idea that happiness is not derived from consumption and consumerism is an idea whose time hopefully has finally come to the general population. 

Amongst all of the bad economic news we frequently hear, the US has been in an unprecedented period of economic growth for about the last 25 years (since 1982).  Yet bigger houses, more cars, and bunches of more “stuff” have done very little to change or improve our daily lives.   A McMansion is just a house, a big, expensive TV is just a TV, an iPod is just a record/cassette player and a gas-guzzling SUV is just a car.  So perhaps it is finally time to abandon the naïve notions pimped by manufacturers, advertisers, and the associated culture of consumerism.

Sure, it may be as ineffective as the “Great American Smokeout,” but “Buy Nothing Day” is certainly a step in the right direction.  And the first step to a cure is always to first acknowledge that you have a problem to begin with. 

Go ahead and spend a day cleaning your house and not buying more stuff.   Spend some time with friends and loved ones and reflect how maintaining those relationships will return far greater value than buying yet another sweater or purse.  Afraid that if you don’t buy that gift sweater that it may in fact hurt those relationships?  That is a valid concern, but there are plenty of alternate gift ideas that can be very personal and meaningful that don’t involve much spending.  These include such things as a family tree, a framed photo, an address book (with friends/family contact info already filled in), a self-assembled food basket, and many other things limited only by your creativity.

So, Happy Buy Nothing Day – now wasn’t that much more satisfying (not to mention warmer and safer) than camping in front of Best Buy all night – and your basement and/or garage may just be cleaner for it.

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