Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Remember To Buy Nothing On Friday

Supporting the consumer culture that encourages spending money we often do not have to buy things we typically do not need to buy supports globalization, White supremacy, sexism, addiction, and low self esteem. In fact, nobody wins but the rich guy. Is that the world you want to support? Buy nothing on Friday.


Elusis said...

My concern with this day is that many people, a large percentage of them people of color, work in retail jobs that rely on shopping taking place, particularly on "Black Friday." Many workers who are required on the job will have to spend money, even if it's just on things like public transportation, or parking, or lunch. Many POC live without cars and rely on daily small shopping trips to feed their families, particularly the day after a holiday has closed stores. I think the idea of a "buy nothing day" raises a lot of class issues, and of course in the US in particular, class is so intertwined with race that what affects the working class affects POC.

Changeseeker said...

I'm not sure you're quite understanding the point of "buy nothing day," elusis. If you re-read my mini-post, it might help. "...[T]he consumer culture that encourages spending money we often do not have to buy things we typically do not need to buy" isn't referring to a jug of milk or a ride to work on the bus. It's referring to the millions of dollars that U.S. citizens (rich and poor) will RUSH out at the crack of dawn to spend on Friday -- using credit cards and even rent money to snatch up "bargains" touted all week by capitalist merchants at malls and department stores (including Walmart). This is one time that both races, all ethnicities, and all socioeconomic classes in the U.S. seem to join together in a buying spree that typifies commodity fetishism of the worst kind. We need to take a hard look at this practice and I stand by my support of not participating in it.

Elusis said...

I did understand it; my comment comes from Adbusters promotion of the day as a day for ZERO spending. Given that this kind of flexiblity in use of one's money is, to me, tied in with class privilege, I have my issues with the promotion. And I stand by my comment on the reliance of POC on retail spending to provide jobs, no matter how poorly-paid and ill-benefitted.

I also know that, while I find it unimaginable to contemplate shopping at 4am for a bargain of any kind no matter how "good" (and while many such bargains rely on exploited labor of POC around the world), and even though the news media tends to portray such Black Friday shoppers as white middle class women intent on spending tons of cash on lavish holiday presents, I've known working poor folk who went to the early sales on that day specifically because it was one of the few ways they felt they could stretch their spending power to give their family even simple gifts.

I'm OK that we differ. :)

Changeseeker said...

Me, too, elusis. :^) I do agree that retail sales jobs are a primary source of income for poor families, but those jobs would not disappear because of one day of not buying. I also agree that poor folks who want to buy gifts depend on Black Friday. But again, why is it that buying gifts -- particularly electronics, "luxury items," and clothes that are all about keeping up with the Joneses -- appear to be the ONLY way we can show love? I think most of us in the U.S. are strung out on what amounts to a form of crack ("fancy" products we think we must have or die) and it just might be the death of us -- as individuals and as a nation.

On the other note, I didn't realize Adbusters was calling for zero spending. If that's the case, then you're right, it's a classist stance. Maybe my version would look more like "buy nothing you don't need and can't afford day". And for goodness sake, nothing you have to get out of bed at 3:00 a.m. on a cold night to buy!

Cool dialogue! Thanks for dropping by and commenting.

*tips hat*