The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
A Day To Buy Nothing
Every year, after Thanksgiving, our consumerist nation believes it should go shopping. Years ago, a shopping day was set aside, and usually extended to the weekend, in which several products that are usually more expensive throughout the year, are placed on sale, and sold at a reduced price. This day is known as “Black Friday”, but in recent years, has started as “Black Thursday”, as early as 6 PM on Thanksgiving day. Companies easily exploit people and get them to come out earlier and usually remain open until midnight or longer, in order to reap in as much as possible through the holiday weekend.
In the past, these sales have brought out millions of people to buy products from major stores who choose to sell them. While there is nothing wrong with what these companies are doing, some would argue that it is the consumer who fuels these stores to do what they do. Many sympathize with employees and believe they should not work on Thanksgiving, while many employees themselves might argue that making overtime on Thanksgiving is a good thing for them, as most companies still allow them to spend time with their families on Thanksgiving, but may require them to be into work at a certain time.
For the first time in 2016, online sales hit a record-breaking $3 billion from mobile shopping, which may take care of people ever having to leave their homes, but still encourages the consumer to spend spend spend and keep on spending. Every year, the want rises above the need, and people are more than happy to hand over their hard-earned dollars, or maybe they were easily earned, but nonetheless, freely giving money in order to get the goods they want.
Starting in 1992, a demonstration, known as Buy Nothing Day, began in Vancouver in order to protest Black Friday and consumerism on this day. It has received very little advertising and coverage from media. These protests began to spread, not just in Canada, but throughout the world, in the United States, Israel, Austria, Germany, New Zealand, Japan, the Netherlands, France, and Sweden, among other nations totaling around 65 nations. This protest is a stand against corporations that believe it is okay to take away time from family and commercialize every holiday.
Criticism of this movement is that while people might forego “Black Thursday” or even “Black Friday”, there are either people who simply do not care and will still shop on those days, or they will shop the next day afterwards, which would be Saturday or the weekend. This movement remains a stance against corporate greed and brings about the awareness of our own greedy habits out of our desire to want want want.
For a small minority who have decided to join in on Buy Nothing Day, the majority will continue to buy on Thursday evening and Black Friday. Ultimately, corporations open up shop early because of the supply and demand mentality and they know that after Thanksgiving, people will happily come to their store and spend plenty of money on discounted items and other goods in-store. The change must come from consumers, and although the protests may bring about an awareness, it is up to everyday people, including you, to decide whether they want to feed into being a consumerist nation.