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Annals Of Excellent Ideas: Buy Nothing Day

December 2, 2011

#BuyNothingDay. Well, it didn’t really work since Black Friday and Monday turned into an orgy of consumerism (is there no marketing gimmick Americans can resist?).

But it is a great concept, and part of a growing #OccupyXmas movement (you can imagine what a feast that will be for Bill O’Reilly and his “War On Christmas” meme). Here’s the #OccupyXmas pitch:

This years’ Black Friday was a resounding success. Fifty-five billion dollars chimed through cash registers across the USA. Two hundred and fifty-thousand people went into the malls and spent on average 400 hundred dollars each, the biggest shopping day ever. Some notable purchases included ten limited edition Ferraris with matching luggage from Neiman Marcus’s exclusive holiday catalogue, $395,000 each, gobbled up in under an hour.

We in the 99%, alongside our sympathetic friends in the 1%, need to challenge this “normal” way of doing Xmas and come up with a new normal. The holidays need another paradigm.

So what are we occupiers going to do different this season? For starters, we’re going to take the personal plunge and move our money. We’re going to take it away from the big banks and put it into our local credit unions. And that will be the one great first step in breaking beyond the encampments and into the new Xmas imagination.

Ok, that’s not the most compelling pitch ever. Move our money? But it’s a start. And the underlying message against consumerism is absolutely critical. You don’t need to buy more crap just because it is Xmas. You can give the money you would otherwise spend to a worthy cause. You can try cutting the number of gifts you give to your kids and family in half or more (and explain that Christmas and the holidays really aren’t about buying things).

Part of reinventing our economy and culture is to change our idea of what we really need (or want), and abandon the idea that our economy and future depends on consumers buying more and more stuff. There is another way. Buy less. A lot less.


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