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What I bought on Buy Nothing Day. November 29, 2009

Posted by ourfriendben in wit and wisdom.
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Silence Dogood here. As most of you know, the Friday after Thanksgiving has come to be known as Black Friday because it’s America’s biggest shopping day of the year, the day when merchants hope that consumer frenzy will take them out of the red and put them in the black for the year. Much of the nation has the Friday after Thanksgiving off (except for those luckless souls in retail sales), so they’re free to shop, and stores offer huge sales, deep discounts, and other enticements to lure people out to the malls, outlets, and other retail establishments.

Apparently, the marketing effort works beautifully. Long lines form at favored stores before dawn, with people waiting in the cold for hours so they won’t miss the hugely discounted gadgets, clothing, and etc. In previous years, people have been trampled and even killed in the stampede to get inside the stores and grab the precious whatever-the-hell-it-is before they’re all gone. Many people try to do all their Christmas shopping on Black Friday; others buy items they’ve been coveting but haven’t been able to afford.

Our local paper interviewed shoppers yesterday, ranging in age from the 20s through the 50s, to see what they had bought, and the results were rather dismaying to me: In every case, the shopper reported buying something on impulse, as opposed to something they needed or had wanted for a while, “because the price was just too good to pass up.” Yikes.

Anyway, this herd-mentality consumerism proved to be too much for a Canadian man named Ted Dave, who in 1992 founded Buy Nothing Day as “a day for society to examine the issue of over-consumption.” (Thanks, Wikipedia, for the specifics.) In 2009, 65 countries worldwide participated in Buy Nothing Day, which is celebrated on Black Friday in America and the following Saturday in the rest of the world.

So, okay, what did I buy on Black Friday, our Buy Nothing Day? Yes, I did indeed buy something. I bought two tickets to the marvelous movie “Coco Before Chanel,” about, obviously, the early life of Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel. Not only did I want to see this gorgeous film, but I wanted to treat our Thanksgiving-week guest Sasha to the film. Sasha, a college freshman, is the son of my best friend, and the rest of his family is out of the country, so he came to stay with me and our friend Ben for the holiday. (And, I think, fell in love with our black German shepherd puppy Shiloh.)

If you’re wondering why on earth I’d think an 18-year-old college freshman would give a damn about a movie about Coco Chanel, here’s why: Sasha has already created his own clothing line, Anso, with men’s and women’s lines (Anso Mann and Anso Merie), models, logos, and a defining symbol. (It’s ([])., Anso period, because after Anso, there’s nothing else. Clever, yes?) Sasha tells me there’s an Anso site on Facebook, so you non-Luddites can go check it out.

Needless to say, Sasha loved the movie, which I also highly recommend to viewers of all ages who love beautiful scenery, fabulous French chateaux, gorgeous horses, and fantastic costumes, not to mention, of course, incredible acting. See it on the big screen if you can, since the amazing visuals demand larger-than-life viewing. Aaaahhh!!!

But to return to the point. I felt great about buying those tickets on Buy Nothing Day, supporting the fine arts, giving enormous pleasure—and possibly genuine inspiration—not just to myself but to someone I love. Did I have anything tangible to show for my Black Friday purchase? Nope. But to me, it was priceless.

          ‘Til next time,

                     Silence

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Comments»

1. Lzyjo - November 29, 2009

I’m so happy you posted about Buy Nothing Day! It’s my new favorite holiday!! I first read about it this Buy Nothing Day. You are so right about the ”price was just too good to pass up” complex. I caught myself browsing through the Wal-Mart circular, exclaiming, “oh my a food processor for $4, a crock pot for $4! A laptop for $198″ DH kept retorting, we already have one of those, we don’t need that, we already have enough tupperware/clothing/everything else. I’m glad I listened to him and didn’t get suckered into spending money on things I don’t need, need. Hope you all have a Happy Thanksgiving! :D

I tell you, Lzyjo, my goal for 2010 is to see how many days I can turn into “Buy Nothing Days”! With a second goal of seeing how much stuff I already have I can give away. And, though I admit I’ve never heard of a food processor for $4, I’ve bought a really classic, totally functional Crock-Pot for $4 at a Salvation Army. Reduce, reuse, recycle, right?!!

2. Jen - November 29, 2009

And to think I’ve been participating in Buy Nothing Day for years and never knew it had a name! Great idea to extend it, Silence. It really bugs me how stores are advertising “doorbuster” sales after last year’s WalMart tragedy, too. I’d rather save the $30 and go when it’s less crowded anyway.

Good for you, Jen! And yes, the issue of excessive consumption aside, I’d do anything to avoid being stuck in parking-lot jams and crowds, no matter what the payoff might be. It’s just not worth it!

3. deb - November 30, 2009

We don’t ever go out on Black Friday. I figure I have bought plenty of stuff I don’t use and I don’t need anything else.

I wouldn’t go because of the traffic and crowds even if there weren’t other good reasons, Deb! But I’m one of those people who wouldn’t stand in line for a half-hour to eat at the greatest restaurant on earth. Lines, crowds, and traffic jams are the ultimate annoyances. Nothing could be worth that!

4. Daphne Gould - November 30, 2009

For years I never would go into a store on this weekend. I knew nothing about buy nothing day, but I hated the crowds and the lines. It was just too much for me. This year for the first time in ages I went. On Thanksgiving our microwave died, so on Friday we were on a mission. Now I know you live without a microwave, but I have trouble living without one. It means I would have to plan what was for dinner early enough to defrost something. Like that will ever happen. Saturday night I was running across the street to my friend’s house to use her microwave. Then I had to go back because I still forgot something.

When we were in the store we did see something else we bought. My husband needed new pants as half of his now have holes. The brand he likes was on sale. Sadly they only had one in his size.

We didn’t get sucked into anything else, but we certainly bought on Black Friday for the first time in years and weirdly there were few lines and fewer people than I remember in the past.

Well, I’m glad you got two things you really needed and didn’t have to combat lines, Daphne! I was afraid my toaster oven had died yesterday (thank God, false alarm), so I know what you mean. Yow, defrosting. I’ve never had to do that! I just toss my frozen veggies or fruits into the pan and go with it. Geez, I guess there are a few advantages to being vegetarian I’d never thought about!


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