Do Something. Buy Nothing.
One day in 1997, I took a day off. I went out and bought absolutely nothing.
It's actually harder than you think. It doesn't sound like that big a deal -- to just not buy anything for a day. But then you realize that it means no coffee, no going out to lunch, no picking something up quick from the store. If you don't have something, you're just going to have to figure it out and make it through. If you're serious about it, nothing means NOTHING. Give the credit card a break.
It happens every year on the day after Thanksgiving. Which isn't a big deal until you remember that it's THE shopping day of the year. And the only day that Apple stuff goes on sale. Maybe you've heard about it -- it's promoted by Adbusters, the same folks that had a pretty good brainstorm a few months ago.
I read about it in a magazine. Remember those? It was before everyone had a cell phone, digital cameras didn't fit in your pocket, and Yahoo was still having actual people sort the internet. But there was a pretty good culture of consumerism.
I figured it wasn't really enough to sit at home and just not buy anything, so my brother and I decided to take it the streets. We needed to get some other folks on board if it was going to have an impact. So we copied some posters and headed down to the pinnacle of consumer culture in the Bay Area: Stanford Shopping Center.
We didn't exactly win anyone over to our cause at the time. But we did have some interesting conversations with people as we tried to explain why consumer culture wasn't exactly meeting their needs. And some interesting conversations with the security guards and management as we were escorted off the property.
I can't say that we changed anything. But those were the days before anybody thought that Wall Street would need occupying. These days it's time to send a louder message. Go out there this Friday and join me in taking a stand: Buy Nothing.
And for the rest of the year, when you buy something, try to buy it local.
Mar 18, 2013
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