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The Anti-Black Friday Day – Buy Nothing Day, November 28

The day after Thanksgiving, Black Friday, is one of the busiest shopping days of the year. This year, with the credit crisis, the shops might be a little quieter. Or maybe not, as retailers slash prices even more than usual to attempt to get the customers in their stores and spending money.

Black Friday is also national “Buy Nothing Day“, a day organized by activism and anti-consumerism group Adbusters to raise awareness of over-consumption and to encourage shoppers to be more thoughtful about what they actually buy. Do they really need that? Is it replacing something that could be repaired? Would it be cheaper to buy it second-hand?

Are you planning to go shopping on Black Friday? Toys, and electronics are often the most heavily discounted. Expectant parents need a digital camera for baby photos – and how could even the harshest anti-consumerist argue with that?

Babies are the easiest people to buy for. Stores filled with racks and racks of the most adorable baby clothes, nursery decor, toys that promise to teach baby to count and spell and speak Spanish and learn her animals, most baby stores make it super-easy to start a baby registry, and most baby websites have a checklist of things you need to buy for your baby. And then there’s the pressure to be a yummy mummy and have the latest stroller, most fashionable baby carrier, and designer baby clothes, just like the celebrity moms.

I’m preparing to move house, and I’m looking through my son’s baby stuff. I’m marveling at how little I used some of the items we bought or received. Some of his clothes have tags still on, or are pristine and barely worn. There’s so many toys he didn’t care for.

My finances have been trashed this year – I became a single mom – so initiated by necessity, I’ve had to work out what I really, truly need to buy. So now I haven’t bought a toy for my son for months. Yes, you read that right. He’s been very happy playing with random non-toy objects and it’s so neat to watch him invent new uses for things, and it’s using my grey matter thinking up ways to reuse objects like empty food pots (train garage, frog castle, bath toy) and other things that hitherto would have gone in the trash. We were playing at being bats in a cave underneath the duvet this afternoon, then I rolled him up in it like a burrito which he thought was hilarious. Adding in getting all our books from the library, the total cost of toys = $0.

I’ve bought him winter clothes, including a couple of things from a local consignment store, and new mittens for me, and that’s about it. Looking through the barely-used baby clothes reminded me how fast they grow and to just buy what he needed, not lots of cute outfits because they were cute.

And I did get a new digital camera. Well, kinda new – it was $50 second-hand from Craigslist. Craigslist is also a great source of baby bargains. When my son was a baby I got an exersaucer for $5 and a brand new swing for $20, and a great big bagful of baby Gap clothes for $15. And in keeping with the ethics of Buy Nothing Day, buying second-hand is very green, it doesn’t use any of the planet’s resources, and it saves the items from the landfill.

Black Friday is a great day to get a discount on something you really need, and many internet stores are already discounting prices and have special offers in preparation for a Thanksgiving shopping marathon. I found my son’s new winter coat 40% off and free shipping at Amazon, much cheaper than at my local mall.

But after hearing about Buy Nothing Day, I’m also resolving to be more thoughtful about what I buy, and to consider what we actually need before I buy anything.

Are you going shopping on Black Friday? What are you looking for? Or are you going to be having a “Buy Nothing Day”?


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  1. Turning your Black Friday into Pink Friday | Current Events | Babies Online The Blog
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