Monday, November 26, 2007

Reclaim your soul.

In my peregrinations I came across an idea floated in the UK called "Buy Nothing Day." Here's some copy from their website:
"Saturday November 24h 2007 is Buy Nothing Day (UK), It's a day where you challenge yourself, your family and friends to switch off from shopping and tune into life. The rules are simple, for 24 hours you will detox from consumerism and live without shopping. Anyone can take part provided they spend a day without spending!"

Having a bit of the counter-culture in me, I live (almost inexplicably in 21st Century New York) below my means. I do not have a mortgage the size of a fat-woman's ass. I don't have a BMW, Mercedes, Bentley or even a Honda. I carry little or no credit card debt. And I don't define myself by shoes and clothes adorned with other people's names.

What's more, though I am not religious, the notion of a Sabbath, of a day of rest--a respite from getting and spending--has always appealed to me, at least theoretically. It would be nice if the days to honor our war dead or dead presidents or the birth of the US were more than excuses for sales and three-day weekends and football or some other foolish steroidally-agitated mayhem. I am not protesting the government or the fascism they propagate, any of the wars we are currently fighting, or anything else. I just think we all need time to think and talk and maybe hug our families.

That's my resolve in 2008. One day a month, I buy nothing. But the Times.


Tore Claesson said...

on my own in hongkong i spent more or less the entire time without buying anything other than lunch and dinner. Plus perhaps once a week water, shampoo, soap and shavers. i only spent money on laundry as there isn't a washing machine in my cell.
I didn't buy any magazines or papers as nothing on sale was worth reading. Read NYT online instead.
Back in the U.S I suddenly went shopping again. not just for food and water. Although we constantly keep buying more than we can consume in that area as well. we throw away tons every year.
More disturbingly i suddenly realized that most everyday involved some purchase of something not quite necessary for the home. Like new wine glasses, or some new bowls, or some new whatever decorative piece replacing something we had grown tired of. Then add the kids' needs and wants. New Pokemon cards, new games, another DVD, another webkinz, you name it. Shit, I'd need to work 28 hours a day to keep up.

Tore Claesson said...

just a reflection on the buy nothing logo: "why aren't the shopping bags upside down?"

george tannenbaum said...

agree about the logo. they should have bought better stock.

george tannenbaum said...

also agree that there is something sick going on in the good old USA. We have no needs any longer, just wants. We want want want. And if you miss a sale, you might have missed a never-to-be-missed-deal. I guess my point is, we're all running amok. Getting and spending we lay waste our powers. We forget the things that are important and true. We've supersized consumption and downsized our souls.

Laura said...

When you think of how many choices you have to purchase 20+ different brands of cereal or soap or soda or types of coffee it is all so very unnecessary.

And I agree with Tore, what incredible waste. Just look at all of the catalogues we get in the mail each day. How many daily reminders do we need to purchase items? At least go electronic and save trees.