Buy Nothing Day

My mind is on Thanksgiving. The cooking, the eating, the sleeping. Even the cleaning. Man, I love this holiday. My husband loves Thanksgiving, too, but since he doesn’t do much for it except bring up the heavy folding tables and eat, he doesn’t spend a lot of time dwelling on it. His holiday is Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving’s Boxing Day. While I scour cookbooks and recipe folders this week, he’s leafing through the glossy ad slicks that came in last Sunday’s paper. I make my longest grocery list of the year, and he figures out a strategy to abscond with the largest catch of freebies, deals, super buys, and rebates from the local retailers. Like me, he’s not much of a consumer. But my husband is a scavenger, and this is his season.

On Black Friday, before the sun even rises, hubby and his brothers will head out in the frosty, post-holiday darkness to join throngs of bargain-seeking shoppers. They will risk life and limb and auto insurance premiums for prime parking spaces, getting to the stores before most of the employees are there. They’ll make a beeline for the items they’ve identified as Super Steals during the planning phase, and before any of the other unsuspecting store patrons have a chance to begin comparison shopping, they will have already snagged their purchases and will be rushing the check-out staff along, eager to get to the next store. Their attack will be swift, efficient, ruthless. And it will be fruitful.

Hours later, when I’m just rubbing my sleepy eyes with onion-scented fists, still recovering from the physical travails of a two-day cook-a-thon, hubby will return. His hoard of pirate booty will stack up in the foyer, and he will gloat over it like a king in his counting-house. “Look at this!” He’ll point to three ergonomic keyboards, stacked neatly alongside two wireless mice and 10 pairs of miniature computer speakers. “I got all of this for nothing,” he’ll crow. DH is the king of free-after-mail-in-rebate shopping, you see. We have several closets full of such treasures to prove it.

To be fair, many of said treasures have come in handy. We do have a nice pantry of computer supplies: keyboards, memory cards, hard drives, mice, cables, etc. And when something has broken, it was rather convenient to be able to go into the Closet of Stuff We Just Might Need and retrieve a spare. We’ve gone through at least one stack of the endless supply of CDRs. And some of the tiny computer speakers have gone traveling with us. It just seems to me like a lot of fuss over, well, stuff. I hate fussing over stuff.

Myself, I’m not much of a shopper to begin with, and I shy away from crowds. I’m also not a morning person, so the thought of getting up early to shop on the busiest day of the retail year holds absolutely no appeal for me. Plus, what do I really *need* that badly? What could be out there that I just can’t live without, that would drag my tryptophaned body out of a warm bed and out into the mercantile mayhem of Black Friday morning?

Not a thing.

For years I have purposely avoided Black Friday shopping. Mostly because I like to be contrary, but also because of the aforementioned dislikes of shopping, crowds, and mornings. Unbeknownst to me, I have been participating in a sort of anti-shopping movement that is gaining momentum. This marvelous campaign of non-consuming is called “Buy Nothing Day”. That’s right. Buy Nothing. A whole day of buying Not a Thing. Clever sorts of the activist mindset walk around shopping malls with empty bags, offering free samples of Nothing on Buy Nothing Day. There are T-Shirts and bumper stickers (“ask me about Nothing!”) and pamphlets and buttons, flyers and balloons, probably even coffee mugs, all celebrating the notion of buying Nothing. People have even been arrested over Nothing. Imagine that.  Someone getting arrested over nothing.  But, I digress.
I think a discussion of why buying nothing (or Nothing, if you prefer) is a nice thing to do for our collective soul would be best left for a post of its own. Suffice it to say that this is what I will do come Friday morning. Probably Saturday and Sunday, too, come to think of it. My husband is still planning for Good Deal Tour 2006. I guess we’ll just karmically cancel each other out.

At least I’ll get to sleep in.

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