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Buy Nothing Day


Buy Nothing Day

Buy Nothing Day demonstration in San Francisco, California, November 2000

Buy Nothing Day (BND) is an international day of protest against consumerism. In North America, Buy Nothing Day is held on the Friday after U.S. Thanksgiving, concurrent to Black Friday (on Friday, ; ; ; ); elsewhere, it is held the following day, which is the last Saturday in November.[1][2] Buy Nothing Day was founded in Vancouver by artist Ted Dave[3] and subsequently promoted by Adbusters magazine,[4] based in Canada.

The first Buy Nothing Day was organized in Canada in September 1992 "as a day for society to examine the issue of over-consumption." In 1997, it was moved to the Friday after American Thanksgiving, also called "Black Friday", which is one of the ten busiest shopping days in the United States. In 2000, advertisements by Adbusters promoting Buy Nothing Day were denied advertising time by almost all major television networks except for CNN.[1] Soon, campaigns started appearing in the United States, the United Kingdom, Israel, Austria, Germany, New Zealand, Japan, the Netherlands, France, Norway and Sweden.[5] Participation now includes more than 65 nations.


  • Activities 1
  • Criticism 2
  • Renaming 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


Various gatherings and forms of protest have been used on Buy Nothing Day to draw attention to the problem of over-consumption:

  • Credit card cut up: Participants stand in a shopping mall, shopping center, or store with a pair of scissors and a poster that advertises help for people who want to put an end to mounting debt and extortionate interest rates with one simple cut.
  • Free, non-commercial street parties
  • Sit-in
  • Zombie walk: Participant "zombies" wander around shopping malls or other consumer havens with a blank stare. When asked what they are doing participants describe Buy Nothing Day.
  • Whirl-mart: Participants silently steer their shopping carts around a shopping mall or store in a long, baffling conga line without putting anything in the carts or actually making any purchases.
  • Public protests
  • Wildcat General Strike: A strategy used for the 2009 Buy Nothing Day where participants not only do not buy anything for twenty-four hours but also keep their lights, televisions, computers and other non-essential appliances turned off, their cars parked, and their phones turned off or unplugged from sunrise to sunset.[2]
  • Buy Nothing Day hike: Rather than celebrating consumerism by shopping, participants celebrate The Earth and nature.[6]
  • Buy Nothing Critical Mass: As the monthly Critical Mass bicycle ride often falls on this day or near, rides in some cities acknowledge and celebrate Buy Nothing Day.
  • Buy Nothing Day paddle along the San Francisco waterfront. This event is promoted by the Bay Area Sea Kayakers to kayak along the notoriously consumptive San Francisco waterfront.
  • The Winter Coat Exchanges that started in Rhode Island and now have locations in Rhode Island, Kentucky, Utah and Oregon in which coats are collected from anyone who wants to donate, and anyone who needs a winter coat is welcome to take one.


While critics of the day charge that Buy Nothing Day simply causes participants to buy the next day,[7] Adbusters states that it "isn't just about changing your habits for one day" but "about starting a lasting lifestyle commitment to consuming less and producing less waste."

Other campaigns, such as Shift Your Shopping, attempt to redirect spending away from corporate chains and online giants toward locally owned, community-based businesses as a means to combat consumerism. Even some independent business advocates, such as the American Independent Business Alliance, recognize "Black Friday" frenzy does little for independent businesses and instead encourage people to consider giving gifts but not necessarily "things."[8]


Adbusters has recently renamed the event Occupy Xmas,[9] a reference to the Occupy Movement. Buy Nothing Day was first joined with Adbuster's Buy Nothing Christmas campaign. Shortly thereafter, Lauren Bercovitch, the production manager at Adbusters Media Foundation publicly embraced the principles of Occupy Xmas, advocating "something as simple as buying locally—going out and putting money into your local economy—or making your Christmas presents".[10] Previously, the central message of Occupy X-mas and Occupy Christmas differed in that Occupy X-Mas called for a "buy nothing Christmas"[11] and Occupy Christmas called for support of local economy, artists, and craftspeople in holiday shopping. The union of these ideologies calls for a Buy Nothing Day to kick off a season of supporting local economy and family.

See also


  1. ^ a b "Buy Nothing Day"The
  2. ^ a b "Buy Nothing Day"
  3. ^ Crook, Barbara. "Can you say bye to buying 1 day a year?" The Vancouver Sun. September 25, 1992.
  4. ^ Click Here to Buy Nothing. Joanna Glasner. Wired, Nov 22, 2000.
  5. ^ Jonas Lindkvist (1998). "1998, köp-inget-dagen" (in Sweidsh). En köpfri dag. Retrieved 16 August 2015. 
  6. ^ Buy Nothing Day hike announcement
  7. ^ Why I Shop on Buy Nothing Day,, 24 November 2006
  8. ^ """Great Gifts Don't Have to Be "Stuff. American Independent Business Alliance. Retrieved 23 November 2012. 
  9. ^ Occupy Xmas, Archived May 17, 2014 at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ An interview with Lauren Bercovitch
  11. ^ Buy Nothing Christmas

External links

  • The Buy Nothing Day site through the Adbusters Media Foundation
  • BND UK information and support for UK campaigners
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