Discussing
Black Friday vs. Buy Nothing Day

Joshua Walters

Laura's Last Ditch
November 25, 2011

I rarely by anything. For me, practically every day is Buy Nothing Day. When you buy a new thing that will just be thrown away later, money is changing hands, but ultimately you're causing destruction of natural resources, which are, ultimately, more important than money. <br><br>We need to consider how employees are treated, but also the waste created when we choose to buy products and subsequently dispose of them. <br><br>I pump plenty of money into the economy by paying for health care, education, services, and charitable contributions, in addition to minimal purchases. Other non-consumers do likewise.<br><br>If people were to not overbuy and overspend, fewer would have to work, and others would be able to cut back their hours, leaving plenty of jobs available. As it currently stands, the cycle of work-spend causes people to chase after the wind.

Barry Hill
November 25, 2011

Hey Josh,<br>I'm with you! I think there is a way to be in the world but not of the world. I try to use black friday to purchase gifts that has a redeeming quality to them... Like a ministries that sell to continue their ministry. Good stuff keep up the great work!<br><br>PS- I wen to Eastern and I have a ton of friends that went/go to Palmer.

Xioc1138
November 25, 2011

I've spent a lot of time reading stuff from the people who are running the Occupy movement and one thing is clear: this is one greedy group being angry at another greedy group.  <br><br>If these folks really want to make for better work places with better pay and benefits and whatever else they decide they want to improve, the only way they are going to accomplish this is to start their own corporations that do what they want to do.  Protesting Wall Street, which only represents a minority of corporations as most corporations aren't traded on the public market.<br><br>In other words, this is all just a big show.<br><br>"Buy Nothing Day" is just more of the same.<br><br>I totally agree with the idea that such a move, if it were to be successful, would totally destroy what the Occupy movement says that they want to accomplish.<br><br>I'm also against the idea that the only people that get hurt are the middle class.  When the economy fails, everybody gets injured.  Including the super rich.  The idea that they are somehow immune from these troubles because they have more money is just a different kind of racism.  It is the same kind of prejudice that allows one race of people to think that another race is somehow lesser or different.   Only in this case, instead of the line being one of skin color, it is about something even more frivolous, the amount of money in one's bank account.<br><br>Those soap boxes aside:<br><br>Christmas is a time of year when we were blessed by a gift, Christ.  Jesus himself was given stuff, expensive stuff.  So why not carry on the tradition and bless our friends and family in the spirit of the season?<br><br>Sure there are going to be abuses.  But how is that unlike anything else we venture to do as a group?  Abuse of anything good is part of being broken human beings.

Jamesggilmore
November 25, 2011

<i>If these folks really want to make for better work places with better pay and benefits and whatever else they decide they want to improve, the only way they are going to accomplish this is to start their own corporations that do what they want to do.</i><br><br><br>The problem is that the contemporary environment, which is set up almost entirely for the profitability of business, makes it very difficult for a corporation that <i>does</i> act ethically towards its workers and the environment to remain competitive. Furthermore, even if such a corporation were capable of competing with the others, those other corporations (who would still be able to undercut in price, unencumbered as they are by any sense of morality, decency, or responsibility to anything other than pure profit) would continue to exist, and thus continue to do damage to the lives of workers, our national morality, and our planet.<br><br>We need government to be representing the interests of the people, the <i>whole</i> people, in restricting business from exploiting its workers and destroying our planet; this is all but impossible when those corporations are allowed to buy politicians and spend unlimited money on propaganda.<br><br>We need Christianity to be standing against irresponsible corporations, making it clear that any business that puts their greed for profit ahead of paying their workers a fair wage, respecting the environment, or being a force for good in the community, is standing against the clear commandments of God.<br><br><i>I'm also against the idea that the only people that get hurt are the middle class.  When the economy fails, everybody gets injured.  Including the super rich.  The idea that they are somehow immune from these troubles because they have more money is just a different kind of racism.</i><br><br>First, that's not true at all; in fact, in the recent economic downturn, the wealth of the wealthiest has <i>increased</i>, even as the wealth of the people continued the steady decline it's been suffering over the last 3+ decades.<br><br>Second, to compare the people's completely-justified anger against those who have profited while the people suffer—an anger echoed by the prophets of the Old Testament, unless of course you don't think they spoke with God's voice—to the system of terrorism and oppression that has been and is racism, represents an attempt to turn the victimizers into the victims. It's like saying that Bull Connor and George Wallace were the <i>real</i> victims of Jim Crow. It's an utterly sickening sentiment.<br><br><i>It is the same kind of prejudice that allows one race of people to think that another race is somehow lesser or different.   Only in this case, instead of the line being one of skin color, it is about something even more frivolous, the amount of money in one's bank account.</i><br><br>Except that it's the exact <i>opposite</i> of something frivolous; whereas it's a racist lie to suggest that ethnicity has some kind of moral dimension to it, it is a bedrock principle of virtually every single system of morality known to us—<i>especially</i> Christianity—that wealth has a moral dimension.<br><br>Further, unlike those of oppressed ethnic groups, it's easy for the rich person to escape the people's justified anger. If they'd like people to stop resenting them for living lives of opulence while so many live in dire need, they could always do what Jesus commanded the rich ruler to do: Sell all that they have and give it to the poor.

Jamesggilmore
November 25, 2011

Oh... I also want to take issue with this:<br><br><i>Christmas is a time of year when we were blessed by a gift, Christ.  Jesus himself was given stuff, expensive stuff.  So why not carry on the tradition and bless our friends and family in the spirit of the season?</i><br><br>If you'll notice, when the Magi brought gifts to Jesus upon His birth, they gave the gifts <i>to Jesus</i>—not to one another. Thus, if we're going to be "carrying on the tradition" of the Magi, we should also give gifts <i>to Jesus</i>—not to one another. Jesus isn't in earthly form anymore, so giving gifts to Him directly isn't an option, but Jesus makes it very clear in Matthew 25 how to give gifts to Him:<br><br>"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'The King will reply, 'Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.'"<br><br>If you want to "carry on the tradition," don't give anything to your family and friends, unless they truly are in need of whatever you are giving them. Rather, take the money that you were going to spend on them, and give it to the economically oppressed directly, or to organizations that help the economically oppressed of the world and work for justice, organizations like <a href="http://www.heifer.org" rel="nofollow">Heifer International</a> or <a href="http://www.amnesty.org" rel="nofollow">Amnesty International</a>. And ask that they take the money that they were going to spend on you, and give it to Christ in this way as well.When we celebrate our birthdays, we are the ones who get the gifts; when we celebrate Jesus's birthday, <i>He</i> should be the One getting all of the gifts.

Mara
November 25, 2011

How about "THINK FOR YOURSELF DAY"?<br><br>The gifts of the Magi were prophetic symbols of office not an XBox 360, a Wide screen TV and Gift card to the Cineplex in Bethlehem.<br><br>The Wise Men were the descendants of the Magi who had been led by Daniel in Babylon if I am not mistaken and although likely Zoroastrian represented a link to the past and the first covenant of non Jewish peoples with the new King of Judah and further foreshadowed the inclusion of Gentiles in the covenant.<br> <br>Gold because he was the King of Judah<br>Frankincense because he was priest and healer<br>Myrrh because in his death he would be saviour to his people<br><br>Perhaps we should think less about what gifts cost and more about what gifts mean, both to the giver and the receiver.<br><br>While you are thinking about gifts... think about becoming an organ donor if you aren't already. It costs $0 and gives the ultimate RAOK.

Melayton
November 25, 2011

You know, I had a similar thought when I heard about the move to get everyone to leave the big banks for credit unions. It seems that unless you're willing to say all consumer businesses (or banks, in that case) are bad - and even *equally* bad - there's a strong case to be made for ethical consumption. It's not even a case of "best of all bad options" - by rewarding good behavior you encourage it in those not yet acting well. It's the carrot in the carrot/stick analogy.

Jason Erik Summers
November 25, 2011

James,<br><br>Consider your statement: "if they'd like people to stop resenting them for living lives of opulence while so many live in dire need." To whom does this apply? Certainly almost every American. Moreover, it is simply not true that populist anger is directed toward opulent living; it is directed toward earnings and assets and, at its most subtle, at the means by which those things have been gained.<br><br>In any case, you and X are trading caricatures here.<br><br>X is wrong in claiming that the wealthy suffer in the same fashion as everyone in an economic downturn. Certainly it is disastrous for some and they may have a larger percentage of income or assets lost (or not), but far fewer risk loss of basic life needs like shelter or food. When the credit-card insurance marketing caller asks "what would you do if you lost your job?!? How would you make you payments?!? " it's not a question for the high-net-worth members of society.<br><br>At the same time, you are wrong in your claim that the corporate environment necessitates unethical behavior. Many companies are doing quite well while doing good. It comes at a cost, but quality and ethics are differentiators that serve many companies well. Some trade in exploitation, to be sure, but American consumers are complicit in it (e.g., the prices of everyday clothing goods of my childhood, if inflation adjusted, are almost the prices of luxury goods today, yet consumers protest that they "need" these low prices). Why is it the common assertion that situation is justifiable as an excuse for consumers but disposition (evil hearts) is the only plausible cause for executives in corporations? (a rhetorical question: this is a well-known cognitive bias called "fundamental attribution error")<br><br>Moreover, the claims for corporate political influence are not quite matched to the reality. While the current law is problematic, many corporations fully disclose contributions that 501(c)4/PAC arrangements would allow them to hide. I forget the title of the recent report on the topic, but the reporting rate of fortune 500 companies it finds is quite high. Ironically, among the worst offenders is Berkshire Hathaway.<br><br>js

Adrienne
November 25, 2011

Buy Nothing Day is hardly new. It's been around for 20 years. The point is to question blind consumerism as the centerpiece national and religious celebration.<br><br>It is sad to me that people are leaving family gatherings early to stand in parking lots in hope of beating everyone else to a $200 flat screen. We're not only shopping, we're so competitive about it that we're starting to pepper spray other people to grab up the most of the bargains (as if trampling people to death wasn't bad enough).<br><br>Buy Nothing Day is a step toward intentional living. It's a wake-up call that we're neglecting what we all say we value (family, friends, human connections, rest, time in nature) to pursue material goods.<br><br>Since I've been aware of BND (1997), someone always says it's a threat to the economy- but if it means that grandparents are giving their kids piano lessons instead of something plastic made overseas, doesn't that mean more money is going into American coffers? If I bake my friends apple spice cake instead of buying geegaws or bath salts (and do I think my friends need bathing), does it really hurt our national bottom line?<br><br>We have more to offer the world than the mindless offerings selected by some corporate buyer with a "one-size-fits-all" mentality.<br><br>Though I'm hardly in that stage of life now, I am still utterly charmed by the mix tapes my friends made me in high school and college. There's something deeply personal in their creation ("This song makes me think of you" or "This song speaks to me"). Those tapes offered me a feeling that someone really saw who I was or who I wanted to be.<br><br>In some ways, I think the modern desire is to be clearly seen and heard through all the noise that surrounds us. If we could give people that recognition (strangers as well as those we love), we would really be doing something.

Nop
July 23, 2017

well, you still had to buy the ingredients to the apple spice cake, Adrienne. it's just a difference of when you brought the ingredients. If I do not have the ingredients, I will go out and buy them on Buy Nothing Day. If I do have the ingredients, that means I went out and brought it someother day. It does not matter, because it was brought. Therefor, the approach of Buy Nothing Day is not the way. We should educate more on better ways to spend. If BND stays celebrated by a small group of people, more power to you. But on a large scale, this could do damage. Shopping is necessary. Just like electronics are necessary if you want to be able to find a high paying job.

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