my two cents worth

So today is celebrated by some as “Buy Nothing Day” a financial protest of sorts against what is seen as the first shopping day of the Christmas season… A “A 24 hour moratorium on consumer spending – participate by not participating” day.

I want to throw my two cents into the ring.

“Buy Nothing Day” is about as effective as those “Don’t buy gas days.” Why is that– because retailers know, just as much as the oil companies know, that people who protest the Day after Thanksgiving sales will still spend their money either before or after Thanksgiving– so in the long run, money is still being spent. And if asked, shoppers probably appreciate a few less people for them to deal with amidst the chaos of the sales.

I personally find the whole ‘Day after Thanksgiving’ sales with their “We will open at 4am for special deals” rather amusing. I find the fact that people do wake up to wait in line for the special 4am opening a bit amusing too.

But some people are into it– Apparently there are some good shopping deals out there and if a person wants to go through the hassel for the savings, so what.

Christmas is not about presents and blatant capitalism- I know, I know… I agree: spending, materialism, and etc are all out of hand. That too many people go into debt for Christmas. I am not talking about what Christmas really is, I am merely commenting on the whole idea of protesting something– something that I am sure most of these “buy nothing day protesters” have just post-poned and are going to go do a couple of days later. Maybe they should just be honest and call the day “I am buying nothing today because by not buying anything today it makes me feel like I am better than you, but I will go buy it tomorrow because I have no real commitment to the long-haul of this idea.”

Sure there are those folks who truly have avoided the whole ‘go and buy’ thing through the whole Christmas season. I applaud that –not because it is what I do, but because it is showing commitment, it is actually doing something. (You can learn more about these type of folks here.)

What does not spending money today, when they are just going to spend it a week from now prove? Not much. What has a person proved by spending $100 on an item that they could have bought today for $35? I guess they proved that they are not very good at math. I guess they showed the retailers by giving them an extra $65.

But I do propose a different kind of “buy nothing day.” I propose that we all refuse to buy anything on holidays– It is a shame that stores make their employees work on a holiday instead of being at home and spending time with their families. But they do this because apparently there is quite a bit of money to be made from people who have not planned ahead to make sure they have everything they need for a holiday. And I point the finger at myself first, because I am one of those gotta-make-a-quick-trip-to-the-store-on-a-holiday-people.

This will involve a little planning ahead– make sure you have everything your going to need before the holiday arrives. Check your cupboards… This is not a protest, this is supporting the employees so that they too can be home with their family as opposed to waiting at a cash register because you forgot to buy beer. And FYI: complaining to the person working in a store while you shop that it is a bummer that they have to work on a holiday is not really supportive– because if you were not there, they would not have to be there.

Let’s make it NOT cost effective for stores to be open on holidays. That is the kind of “buy nothing day” I can support.

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3 Responses to “my two cents worth”

  1. libbie Says:

    so here I am in Germany and for the first time in my life I feel I am really getting a chance to experience christmas for what it was meant to be.
    Germans take this holiday very seriously. Nothing is open on this day the whole village shuts down and i say village and not town because the locals here have nicely corrected me on the fact that a town is a place of individuals where a village is a place of family.
    Every years since the 14th century Germany has held a christmas market where the villages gathers for food, drink and lighting of their christmas tree. Of course now you can buy things from the locals like a farmers market but most of the village goes to enjoy hot spiced wine.
    it starts in November and goes until December 24th with each village doing their on personal thing. it really shows you just what this holiday can be. i must say i am enjoying it.

  2. Cynthia Says:

    I agree with you about these people who protest by not buying on one day and buying on another. When I get those gas e-mails, I delete them. I didn’t go shopping yesterday on purpose, though. It wasn’t to protest the Black Friday or anything, it was just because I already have most of my gifts (I start buying in the summer or sometimes even earlier because you get bargains that way and don’t have to buy it all at once) and also because I don’t like crowds and didn’t want to get out in the traffic. I also had lots of other things to do around the house.

    I wish Christmas wasn’t so commercialized. I love the holiday, but I like going to Church and singing and midnight liturgy and all of that. I love being with my family on that day, also. It’s not about what king of flashy toys you can get your kids or what kind of nifty kitchen or garage tool you can get your inlaws, it’s because “Christ is born”.

  3. herman Says:

    Libbie- How wonderful your Village (and family) sound! Your Village here in Walla Walla waits for your return home, until then we will enjoy continuing to hear and learn about all of the new things you are experiencing, seeing, and doing.

    Cynthia- My wife is like you; I think she probably had all of the Christmas presents bought long ago and has them hidden around the house somewhere.

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