Friday is Buy Nothing Day, and I'm really excited for it this year.
Every year, I do my best not to buy anything on national holidays, like Thanksgiving. Buying things on days like that tells retailers that yes, people will buy if you are open - and they say to themselves, "Why aren't we open more?" That leads to employees having to work Thanksgiving Day, which should be a day spent with family and friends.
This year, my sister works 8:30 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day to 5 a.m. the next morning. That means trying to sleep all of Thanksgiving, waking up for a rushed meal at my grandparents' place, and running back home to get ready for work.
Her hours are all thanks to Walmart, the leaders in corporate holiday ignorance. They open at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving this year. This year, their workers are striking to protest such ridiculosity. It's about time.
Buy Nothing Day was started by the group Adbusters, who also started the Occupy movement. The idea is to boycott the greed of Black Friday through not buying a single thing that day - it's extended, I'm sure, to sales that begin on Thanksgiving.
Buy Nothing Day isn't about being a scrooge; it isn't even about hating corporations (though it is pro-small business). It's saying yes, I need stuff... but at what cost?
Every year, I suggest to readers that they give Buy Nothing Day a try, though by the time this post goes up, many have already made up their minds as to whether they're going or not. This year, if you don't want to give it up all together, try this: don't shop at retailers who open their doors for Black Friday on Thursday. Especially avoid Walmart; not only do they take people away from their families on Thanksgiving, they are also the reason all retailers open their doors earlier and earlier each year. As Walmart goes, so go other retailers.
Tell them this year that enough is enough. Retail workers are tired of being mistreated, yelled at, and sometimes even injured on Thanksgiving and Black Friday. They're facilitating an air of tension and greed - all to kick off the Christmas season.
The thing I'm most sick of at this time of year is the illusion that the retail Christmas season starts on Black Friday. Yes, there's a whole shit-ton of shopping that day, but I saw Christmas displays in July this year. It's time to stop pretending any of this is about Christmas to big-box retailers. It's just about money, and it's not worth it.
Put up some posters. Protest with Walmart workers. Even a simple act like sharing this blog or replacing your Facebook picture for the week will help spread the word and make more people ask the question...
"At what cost?"