Buy Nothing Day
There's an interesting grassroots movement afoot that you won't hear about on any of the major U.S. TV networks or print media. Apparently it's because the movement goes against American policy. Since when has the major media been concerned with abiding by
The policy of consumerism. That's right, the media outlets that are forever covering the plight of the poor, the homeless and the disadvantaged will NOT sell advertising time or space to a group promoting a day to buy nothing. The Buy Nothing crowd are predominately environmentalists, socialists and assorted pinko wackos that we all know are hated and reviled so much by the major media. NOT. So what's the deal?
Buy Nothing Day is simply a designated day to stay home and buy nothing. In the
I'm a conservative, but I see some real merits of Buy Nothing Day beyond saving the environment, releasing the slaves from sweatshops and generally trying to hurt Wal-Mart.
First off, it's definitely better for personal finances. The hoards busting down the doors of malls and stores everywhere are primarily using plastic to snatch up all the "bargains." Do you really need that plasma screen TV? Even if it is 50% off, paying late fees, interest and other financial costs over the next 25 years hardly seems worth it as you will be paying back that 50% and then some. Sorry, but an iPod is not a necessity of life. All this frenzy encourages personal debt. We have gone from a national savings rate of 7% in the 80's to 0% (or even negative) today. We are not doing the economy any favors by being on the brink of bankruptcy. We need to have several Buy Nothing Days.
There is also a less economic reason to Buy Nothing. Think about the clutter of a typical household. We buy bigger houses with more storage for all of our junk. That junk represents parts of our lives, so it's only natural we would be reluctant to part with it. Yet the stuff rules over us. We have to insure the stuff that can be replaced or be prepared to haul the stuff with us that can't in the event of a hurricane or other impending disaster. We buy burglar alarms and security systems to keep others from swiping our stuff. We buy other stuff to keep the stuff we have clean, safe, secure and convenient: Shelves, hangers, containers, closets, organizers, bins, and conveyer belts.
The clutter and junk take a spiritual toll on us as we have to work Sundays in order to pay for the stuff and the interest. Our kids have attention deficits because they have so many choices of toys. They run from one to another, making a huge circuit. If they played with each toy for 10 minutes, how many days would pass before they played with all their toys? Too many choices equals too little demands on their imaginations.
The holiday season is a real spiritual battlefield. The baby Jesus may have your heart, but will you be putting your real cash towards not being embarrassed by a paltry offering under the tree? Santa is an anagram for Satan! The pressure is ENORMOUS. I have 6 people who work with/for me. If I don't come up with something impressive, my reputation as a generous supervisor is questionable. Can I really buy their respect? What about clients? Heaven forbid we neglect them! A teacher of children? Pay up baby, you need to give them something fun and educational. And parents, you'd better come up with something nice for your kid's teachers if you expect teachers to see you as anything other than a poor cheapskate. Then there's the postal carrier, the paper boy, the hairdresser, the auto mechanic, your doctor, nurse and bus drivers.
This is not limited to the secular, heathen crowd. There are Sunday school children and their teachers to show gratitude for. Pastors and choir directors. If you have a group, such an adult Sunday school, there are parties to go to, many involving gift exchanges. This is not to mention a host of worthy causes such as Toys for Tots and the Salvation Army and the adopting of poor families.
I haven't even mentioned our own relatives and immediate families. This gets into some serious money, time and trouble. My wife has already put in her order for family passes to the new aquarium.
A Buy Nothing Day sounds like a good idea, to me. Perhaps because I'm frugal at heart and generally a cheap bastard. But if it weren't for our personal debt, I'd be able to divert a lot more towards the causes of world hunger, the homeless and the environment.
Big corporations, big media, big government and most of all, big banks, want you to keep spending and consuming. And they eschew the concept of a Buy Nothing Day. I believe in capitalism, but capitalism ungoverned by a proper conscience and perspective becomes a carnivorous and insatiable cannibal that feeds on its own young. WE are the ones with the power to decide on what sort of society we want to live. Do the next 30 days truly symbolize a society that we want for ourselves and our children? Could we collectively resolve to keep ourselves under control and behave as if we possessed some degree of reason?
A Buy Nothing Day won't change things much unless we take the time to think about our purchases and do so wisely. Keep things in perspective and exercise moderation. The hangover from this season is usually severe.
Checkout Buynothingforchristmas. This has a more spiritual and Christian-friendly take on all this.
BTW, Capitalone just doubled my credit limit. YeeHaw!