Buy Nothing Day: Protest Against Consumerism

Every year, on the last Friday of November, the citizens of 65 countries around the world protest against consumerism. For 24 hours, people are urged to ‘Buy Nothing’.

Buy Nothing Day is held on the same day as the Black Friday sales. It also falls on the day after Thanksgiving in the USA.

Black Friday Somee Card

Unfortunately for already struggling Australians, Black Friday is another overseas spend-more-money tradition slowly seeping its way into Aussie culture.

Don’t think this couldn’t be true: consider, last year Australians spent $3.9 billion on Black Friday sales.

The US forked out $50.9 billion, and globally, $717.5 billion was splurged.

Black Friday sales implores us to SPEND, SPEND, SPEND, which often means people end up in debt to buy things they don’t need. Debt then requires us to work longer hours and leaves little time for family and friends.

It’s time to break the cycle of over-consumption for the sake of your relationships, your finances and the environment.

Resist the urge to splurge.

Buy Nothing Day History

Buy Nothing Day began in 1992 in Canada to address the growing environmental problem of overconsumption. Since then it has been an annual day of protest.

Avoid scenes like this at all costs

In 2000, Adbusters filmed Buy Nothing Day advertisements which – surprise, surprise – were denied by all major television networks except for CNN.

Adbusters Buy Nothing Day commercial from 2009

So, apart from buying nothing, what else can you do?

Gatherings and Protests

According to Wikipedia these gatherings and protests are part of Buy Nothing Day:

  • Credit Card Cut-up: Participants stand in a shopping center or store with a pair of scissors and a poster that advertises help for people who want to put an end to mounting debt and extortionate interest rates with one simple cut. Namely, by destroying their credit card by cutting it with scissors.
  • Sit-in: a peaceful organised protest in which a group of people disrupt by occupying and refusing to leave a premises.
  • Whirl-Mart: Participants silently steer their shopping carts around a store in a long, baffling conga line without putting anything in the carts or actually making any purchases.
  • Public Protests
  • Wildcat General Strike: A strategy used for the 2009 Buy Nothing Day where participants not only do not buy anything for twenty-four hours but also keep their lights, televisions, computers and other non-essential appliances turned off, their cars parked, and their phones turned off or unplugged from sunrise to sunset.
  • Buy Nothing Day Hike: Rather than celebrating consumerism by shopping, participants celebrate The Earth and nature.
  • Buy Nothing + Critical Mass: As the monthly Critical Mass bicycle ride often falls on this day or near, rides in some cities acknowledge and celebrate Buy Nothing Day.

Challenge Yourself

If being involved in a gathering or protest is not your thing, you can still challenge yourself, your family and your friends to switch off from shopping and tune into living.

Save the environment and your finances at the same time!

You could even extend Buy Nothing Day to other days of year.

What do you do on Buy Nothing Day? Please scroll down to the comments box and share what you do on Buy Nothing Day.