www.RogerWendell.com
Roger J. Wendell
Defending 3.8 Billion Years of Organic EvolutionSM
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Buy Nothing Day Bar Code
   Friday - November 25, 2016
In the United States
Buy Nothing Day is always
the day after Thanksgiving.

Spend a day without spending!
 
(It's also Fur Free Friday and Cruelty Free Day - but that's for another webpage!)

Arrow Pointing Right Click Here for my page on Voluntary Simplicity...
Arrow Pointing Right Click Here for my page about Capitalism...
Arrow Pointing Right Click Here for my page on the concentration of wealth and power...

Economic collapse and the idea of buying less:

Okay, I'll have to admit that I got a little "sweaty" advocating BND (Buy Nothing Day) during the 2008/2009 economic crisis. Although BND is easier to adhere to when things appear to be going well, the pressure to spend, from government, business, and everyone else, increases when the economy and our way of life begins to falter. How bad would things get before those (like me!) advocating BND would throw in the towel and start pushing for more spending and consumption?
Down Chart Well, this particular note was added a month after BND '08 (and near economic meltdown*), at year's end, and things seemed to be only getting worse. However, most of us, by then, also had had a lot of time to think about business, economics, and the economy in general - with most of us coming to a similar conclusions: Clearly, a major contributor to the crisis had been not only the mindless borrowing, but the mindless spending that was fueled by such wild lending practices. So, maybe BND, and less spending in general, really isn't such a bad idea in the longrun? Maybe if we'd spent less, borrowed less, and even wasted less (and recycled more!) our economy and way-of-life would be more sustainable without such huge swings in economic activity?

*It may be interesting to note that the U.S. Government's policy on home loans and mortgage securities
  (Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) was the biggest contributor to the 2008 financial and economic crisis...

Back when I was in college, taking some required economic courses, there was an old saying that if you lined-up all of the world's economists end-to-end you still wouldn't get the same answer! So, there's probably a world of opinion out there with nobody really knowing for sure - especially about the future! However, I do know, on a personal level, that my own consumptive ways not only helped increase debt (reducing sustainability), but they didn't bring me much satisfaction, either. So, I hope you'll join me in an attempt to live in a way that has a little less impact on not only our wallets and balance sheets, but our precious little planet as well - there's a lot more satisfaction in having less!
- Roger J. Wendell
December 27, 2008

 

"The junk merchant doesn't sell his product to the consumer, he sells the consumer to the product.
He does not improve and simplify his merchandise. He degrades and simplifies the client."

- William S. Burroughs, 1959

 

"We live in an acquisitive society where it is impossible to survive without participating, indirectly at least, in thievery. This cannot be helped. We can only begin with ourselves to express our compassion for all creatures and things. Though even picking a flower is a kind of stealing, we pick it as we accept food for our table.

"Like the Precept of No Killing, 'No Stealing' has its application both in the immediate Buddha Sangha and outside in the workaday world. The Buddha's injunction in "The Eightfold Path' regarding 'right vocation' urges a life of minimal exploitation. But our habits of consumption support massive and irredeemable exploitation of people, animals, tress, earth, water, and air. Great power is generated in support of this precept when people gather in a community and agree to conserve the energy of the universe and protect its beings and elements."

- Robert Aitken - 1982
Taking the Path of Zen, p. 82

 

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Appropriately, Buy Nothing Day is also know known as "Black Friday!"

"NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The Black Friday 2007 bargain frenzy kicked off just after midnight as throngs of shoppers shrugged off Thanksgiving Day fatigue to grab early bird sales on flatscreen TVs, clothes, jewelry and toys."

 

Holiday Money 2007
Shoppers start holiday marathon

Shoppers Black Friday crowds spend an estimated $20 billion. The big question for the economy: Will they keep buying?
By Parija B. Kavilanz, CNNMoney.com senior writer

Analysts worry that tired Black Friday early bird shoppers will give up midday, causing the sales momentum to sag later in the day.

From coast to coast, Americans gathered in the early hours to hunt down Black Friday bargains.

Worried retailers and mall operators breathed a sigh of relief after the 2007 holiday shopping marathon off to a robust start Friday.

 

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The China Syndrome
What's behind a brand name? Less and less every day.

"When corporate America tied its future to globalism, it made a deal with the devil. The record profits reaped by outsourcing U.S. manufacturing abroad came at a high price: the risk to the good names of the country's biggest companies."

"Last year nearly 4 million toys and pieces of costume jewelry were recalled after they were found to be contaminated with lead. Some were gumball-machine trinkets, but others bore top-of-the-line names. In addition t the nationwide recall, California filed suit against Mattel, Fisher-Price, Toys "R" Us, Wal-Mart, Target, Sears, and many other manufacturers, importers, and retailers un Proposition 65. That citizen initiative (which I coauthored 18 years ago) requires companies to warn customers about toxic products.

"The defendants will doubtless argue that they had no way of knowing their products were toxic. Many are strongly motivated to keep lead paint out of their goods, having spent years cultivating reputations for safety and quality for their valuable brand names. It used to be when I saw a Mattel toy, I presumed that Mattel made the toy in a factory the company built and manages, with workers it hired and supervises, and that it would not be so crass or dumb as to save a fraction of a penny on a $30 toy by using lead paint.

"But Mattel and other businesses know something they are not willing to tell us: In today's globalized economy, top companies have lost control of the quality of the goods that display their logos. They are powerless to prevent a recurrence of the toxic-toy tragedy - and they are terrified that their brands could be dragged through the mud when the next epidemic of dangerous products strikes.

"The problem is not China. The problem is a business model in which companies outsource manufacturing under short-term, low-cost contracts to the firm that will follow their design standards most cheaply. All that is really Fisher-Price about Dora the Explorer is the design - the product itself is made in a factory over which the company has almost no control. It doesn't manage the working conditions, environmental standards, or safety practices. As a result, it no longer controls the product itself."

- Carl Pope, Sierra Club Executive Director
March/April 2008 Sierra magazine, p. 7

 

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The Problem:

Our consumptive, hectic lifestyles are taking their toll not only on the natural world, but our own lives as well! We consume all kinds of goods, services and entertainment only to find that there's no time left to really savor and enjoy our friends, family and life. We work longer and harder to make even more money to buy us things that bring even less satisfaction to our lives. Plus, buying all of this stuff takes even more natural resources and energy that pollutes and depletes our world that much faster!

The Solution:

Actually, there are a bundle of solutions that address everything from our population and sprawl problems to excessive wealth and the concentration of power. Nevertheless, the thrust of this page is Buy Nothing Day and things we can do, as individuals, to improve the quality of life for all.

So, as the name suggests, Buy Nothing Day (BND) is a chance for us to slow down a bit, for at least one day out of the year, to bring a little more value and sanity to our lives. Obviously I'm not the "inventor" of BND, however, I liked the idea so much I thought it worth devoting some of my own web page in support of it. Also, in addition to this page, my family and I have done a pretty good job of not only not shopping on Buy Nothing Day, but reducing our overall consumption levels throughout the year as well.

Buy Nothing Day is a great opportunity to separate ourselves from consumerism for at least one 24 hour period out of the year. BND is a good time to slow down and just be with friends, family, nature, or anything else you happen to hold dear - as long as it doesn't require spending money!

Some people have suggested that, in preparation for BND, you make your purchases a day or two prior the big day or even wait until the day after. Nope! My philosophy is that you simply use BND as part of your overall strategy to reduce those nasty consumer habits we've all become slaves to. For example, let's say that you normally use the day after Thanksgiving to purchase Christmas gifts. Not only would you not buy Christmas gifts on BND, but you'd also try to find ways to reduce gift purchases throughout the overall holiday season - maybe your father would appreciate just spending more time with you, over the holidays, rather than receiving another tie and cufflink set. Or, maybe you and the kids could spend more time together outdoors instead of shuffling around a crowded mall or throwing money at an expensive video game or designer sneakers - the possibilities are endless!

Instead of me just giving you a laundry list of "dos" and "don'ts" why not use your imagination to think of fun (and free!) things to do on Buy Nothing Day? Tailor the day's activities to what you see as important while using the rest of the year to buy and consume even less than the year before!

Caution!

It is okay to spend money for emergency situations during Buy Nothing Day. Maybe there's been an accident, or the children are in urgent need of food or medicine - there are countless other examples as well. The main thing is don't be stupid - do the right thing, even if it means some emergency spending on BND!

- Roger J. Wendell
Golden, Colorado

 

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Mark your calendar!
Future Buy Nothing Day Dates:

  • 2015 - November 27
  • 2016 - November 25
  • 2017 - November 24
  • 2018 - November 23
  • 2019 - November 22
  • 2020 - November 27
  • 2021 - November 26
  • 2022 - November 25
  • 2023 - November 24
  • 2024 - November 28
  • 2025 - November 24
Buy Nothing Day Money

 

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Black Friday

Black Friday: An Odd Start to the Season of Lights

First published November 15, 2010 at AiInSite by Laura Jerpi

(reproduced here with permission!)

Many Americans look forward to Thanksgiving Day as a time to relax, feast on turkey, and spend time with loved ones, but after the pumpkin pie has been eaten, serious shoppers channel their efforts into preparing for their biggest day of the year.

In the United States, the Thanksgiving holiday not only kicks off the season but falls on a Thursday – thus providing most people with an extended weekend if they're fortunate enough to have the next day, Friday, off,” says anti-consumerism activist Roger J. Wendell. “Black Friday affords people an extensive shopping opportunity in preparation for the holiday gift-giving season.”

Black Gold

“This is the day the retailers generally turn a profit for the year, which is why it's called ‘Black’ Friday. Black is the accounting term for moving from loss to profit,” says Mike Dunkin, founder of BlackFriday.Org, a site that gives information on Black Friday sales.
“There's always a bit of excitement and anticipation associated with the day that helps satisfy many people's sense of adventure,” Wendell says.

Wendell believes the hype around Black Friday has grown in recent years.

“Baby boomers, and people of older generations, easily recall a time when the Friday after Thanksgiving was simply an extra shopping day with Christmas holiday bargains,” Wendell says.

Dunkin says that Black Friday’s online popularity began in 2006, when ads began to get leaked out early and were made accessible to the general public.

“The media made everyone aware of the websites when they did their annual stories,” Dunkin says. “The media loves to do stories about people camping outside of Best Buy or other retailers starting Thanksgiving Day morning.”

“Merchandising is all about self promotion and the excitement around sales does draw customers in,” says Lyn Caponera, a Fashion Merchandising & Marketing instructor at The Art Institute of New York City.

Caponera says that she has a friend who shops at upscale department stores like Neiman Marcus for Black Friday sales on designer goods.

“She has gotten beautiful Prada garments,” says Caponera.

Regardless of this, Caponera believes that Black Friday sales are not necessarily the best of the year.

“Those deals are to be had all of the time, you have to devote the time to finding them though,” Caponera says. “It’s better to get out there at the beginning of the season if you really want a particular size boot/shoe.”

Black Ops

Dunkin disagrees.

“The best deals on just about everything can be found on Black Friday,” Dunkin says. “These deals are usually only good on this one day a year, but as Black Friday is quickly moving online, the deals are usually available online on Thanksgiving Day (online only) and in-store and online on Black Friday.”

Dunkin says that large retailers such as Walmart, Target, Best Buy, and Sears usually have the best Black Friday deals.

“Since they're so large, they can purchase their items in bulk and pass on the savings to their customers,” says Dunkin.

For Black Friday this year, Dunkin says that there will be great deals on laptops and televisions, as usual.

Black Sheep

Though some people love to be in the middle of Black Friday madness, others can’t get far enough away from it.

Caponera says she doesn’t shop on Black Friday, because she doesn’t like all of the confusion and crowds. She describes herself as more of a cautious shopper, preferring to research items online prior to making a purchase.

Wendell does not shop on Black Friday either; instead he chooses to participate in “Buy Nothing Day” (BND).

“‘BND’ was started as a protest against consumerism that was promoted by Adbusters magazine in the early 1990s,” Wendell says. “Although there was a lot of commercial resistance to advertising ‘BND’, the campaign eventually spread throughout many western countries.”

Wendell has been participating in “BND” since the late 1990s.

“I've always made it a point not to purchase anything on ‘BND’ unless absolutely necessary,” Wendell says. “I've also made a personal point of not ‘stocking up’ in advance of ‘BND’ or trying to catch up a day or two later. I simply try to make no purchases, of any kind, on ‘BND’ even if it means missing a meal, a great movie, or filling up the car for a ride.”

Despite his support for “BND,” Wendell cautions people not to ignore emergencies and to act responsibly regarding any health and safety concerns.

Wendell suggests that people relax on “BND” and spend it with friends and family.

“Most of our friends, family, and neighbors would agree that we all have too many ‘things’ and that what's really lacking is an enduring quality of life that's more rich in experience and meaningful relationships than what simple shopping can bring us,” Wendell says.

The day after Thanksgiving provides traditions for people of all types, from shoppers searching for Black Friday deals to anti-consumerists supporting “BND.”

 

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Links:

  1. Adbusters and their Buy Nothing Day campaign
  2. Appropriate Technology
  3. Big Box Toolkit - Countering Mega-Retailers
  4. Buy Nothing Day United Kingdom
  5. Buy Nothing Day USA
  6. Capitalism and its failures
  7. Deep Ecology Living as if Nature Mattered
  8. Earth Day and Earth Hour
  9. Economics
  10. Fossil Fuels and Peak Oil
  11. Inflation Data
  1. New Rules Project - Designing Rules as if Community Matters
  2. Recycling
  3. Seeds of Simplicity - Take Back Your Life!
  4. Simple Living Network - Dave Wampler
  5. Simplicity Circles - Cecile Andrews
  6. Sustainability by Dr. Albert Bartlett
  7. Sustainability by me!
  8. Things you can do for the Earth
  9. Thoughts on Voluntary Simplicity - Clay and Judy Woods
  10. Voluntary Simplicity
  11. Wealth, the concentration of!

 

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