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Buy nothing, give something

I’ve never understood Black Friday or our seemingly insatiable urge to be the United States of Buy. This year I’m formally joining a movement I’ve unknowingly participated in for years. It’s making sure to buy nothing on Black Friday.

BND_classic_NAThere’s a couple different campaigns. As Cory noted out in an excellent post, Reverend Billy and The Church of Life After Shopping has Buy Nothing Day!, “[w]herein we refute, rebuff, and rebuke the mad-dash junkie rush of holiday shopping sin.” In Minneapolis, it’s being celebrated with a screening of the documentary What Would Jesus Buy?

Another comes from Adbusters, a social activist network which has an International Buy Nothing Day. Although it’s main goal is a 24 hour moratorium on consumer spending, this year it is calling for what it calls a Wildcat General Strike. It’s asking people to not only stop buying for 24 hours, but to shut off their lights, televisions and other nonessential appliances; park their cars; and turn off their phones and computer for the day. That may be going to a bit of an extreme but so is our consumption, particularly in the U.S.

Cory has the right idea. Rather than participate in the shopping frenzy, spend your money where it can really count. It’s a perfect time for charitable donations to things that matter to you and your community. Cory’s blog has one such charity. My “spending” Friday is going to Community Food Banks of South Dakota, Children’s Home Society and Words Without Borders.

And if you are going through withdrawal, here’s a way you can satisfy your urge to shop and still buy nothing.


Mammon, n.: The god of the world’s leading religion.

Ambrose Bierce, The Devil’s Dictionary

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3 comments to Buy nothing, give something

  • Tim –Two points. First, I have made it a point to buy only beer on Black Friday. Second. I know the Rev. Billy. He and his family used to live in Watertown. I used to be especially good friends with his younger sister, Ruth.

  • I had no clue he was from Waterville! How long did they live there?

  • I honestly don't remember. It was when we were in grade school. Perhaps 5 years? But his parents and my parents were friends and we stayed in touch when they moved to Green Bay and later to Northfield Mn. I still get a Christmas card from Billy's dad, Bill every year.