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Sundries
...a sweatshop of moxie

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Buy Nothing Day

Didn't know that this Friday, November 25, the United States' so-called Black Friday, has been declared by self-appointed corporate-busters, as

International Buy Nothing Day



Yes, it's true.

The biggest US retail shopping day of the year, traditionally the day after Thanksgiving Day, will be ixnayed by the anti-globalisation, anti-corporate, anti-everything Capitalist crowd.

I love it!

It's difficult to make these umbrella-groups of disaffected peoples look even more humourless, curmudgeonly, and as full of the warm cheer of blankets dripping in baby poo, than they do already.

But never fear.

Just when you think they can't possibly get more absurdly Ebenezer Scrooge-like, shouting bah humbug to no one in particular, but to every corporation in general, they do.

From the aptly titled blog, These Impossible Days:

November 25th is International Buy Nothing Day, a day in which thousands of people all over the world will take a stand to show the corporate machine that we are not ruled by their glitz and glamour marketing schemes. Can you do it? Can you go an entire day without spending a single dollar?

Groups from all over the world will be organizing events and demonstrations to mark this special day. You can find out more by visiting
Adbusters' website and learn about events that will be going on all over the world.

Because it's not just the United States they target, despite the pertinent reference to not "spending a single dollar", oh hated currency of the Evil Free-Market Empire.

It's a world-wide protest day, despite very few turkeys being sacrificed the day before in Cambodia.



Journée Sans Achat... Entire Day Without Buying -- the inelegant syntax aches. "Allons enfants de la patrie" it ain't.

You know, if it were JUST one day, a day to pause and reflect about the status quo of modern life, I wouldn't be so sarky in my dismissal of this movement.

Who amongst us has not been sick to death of the commercialisation of beloved holidays, which bring to mind so many cheerful tension-filled childhood memories en famille?

I love giving and receiving presents, despite groaning inwardly whenever I see a very early Christmas tree display, as I did in my local public library on 1 November.

There's something unseemly about bandwaggoning unto the holiday season, such as QVC or the Home Shopping Channel do, which probably upsets you too.

And I'm well aware it is we women especially, who jump on that bandwagon with the desperation of marauding pioneers, more often than not.

But if you think this day is an one-off protest against commercialisation, you've got another thing coming.

It spills over to other days, like Christmas, and where the wheel of disdain'll stop, nobody knows!

And therein lies the rub, as my old masseuse used to say.

The type of person who is anti-globalisation, is almost invariably, anti-any public expression of religion, as well.

They are no less nonplussed by the significance of Christmas, the birth of Our Lord, than by the free-for-all buying spree that results from it.

O, irony of ironies.

If people were MORE religious, than less, they wouldn't be so greedy, breaking limbs to get to that last Cabbage Patch doll for their assorted rugrats.

On the contrary -- they would have to pay more attention to the true meaning of Christmas, its spirit of birth, renewal, and of wonder that the birth of Jesus Christ means.

But these people don't want that either. If they want a holiday, it can't be Judeo-Christian. Indeed, it must be secular. And if it's secular, it becomes earthy.

And there is no more earthy a desire, than greed.

So screw yourselves, you impossibly humourless, impractical, and illogical little people. And stick your bloody Zenta posters up your collectivist ying-yangs.

Subliminal message: Christianity bad; Zen Buddhism good

I'm dropping a wad on my parents, my friends, and my dog this Christmas, and afterwards, we'll sing Hosannas to the Federal Reserve and drink mulled wine in honour of The Gap.

Amen.

16 Comments:

  • Right on, Victoria, you rebel you!
    I'll shop till I drop in support of shiny eyes at Christmas and greedy hands at Visa. If that ain't America, what is?

    By Blogger Paul, at Thu Nov 17, 09:16:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Oh, Victoria, your blog is our present! But I could use some new socks, while you're out buying stuff.... ;-)

    By Blogger Ron, at Thu Nov 17, 09:41:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Oh. Oh dear.

    I have avoided shopping that day like the plague, as long as I have been old enough to do my own Christmas shopping because there are just too darn many people in the shops and malls that day and my losing my sanity and temper isn't worth the little money I save.

    But now this.

    Am I actually going to have to shop that day as an anti-protest? Do I have the moral fortitude, the physical stamina and the emotional self-control to take a stand? Am I willing to make the sacrifice after 27 years of opting out of the Black Friday crush?

    If you say I should, Victoria, I will do it. For you, I will.

    But I WON'T bring the 5-year-old with me ... A bridge too far, that is, and I must confess that don't love you that much. Forgive.

    ;)

    By Blogger reader_iam, at Thu Nov 17, 11:44:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Right on, Victoria, you rebel you!

    A Rebel With A Cause. Film at 11.

    I'll shop till I drop in support of shiny eyes at Christmas and greedy hands at Visa. If that ain't America, what is?

    Good for you, Paul!

    Let us all bow before the Great Dollar Bill, from whose teat we all suck.

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Fri Nov 18, 03:12:00 am GMT-5  

  • Oh, Victoria, your blog is our present! But I could use some new socks, while you're out buying stuff.... ;-)

    I'll buy you anything but my love, which is free for all.

    Although I do love buying tidy-whities for my menfolk.

    Well, one does.

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Fri Nov 18, 03:14:00 am GMT-5  

  • Oh. Oh dear.

    Oh-oh.

    Do I hear the resigned tones of a catalogue shopper getting ready to break out the SUV keys?

    I have avoided shopping that day like the plague, as long as I have been old enough to do my own Christmas shopping because there are just too darn many people in the shops and malls that day and my losing my sanity and temper isn't worth the little money I save.

    I'm with you so far, sister.

    But now this.

    EXACTLY.

    Am I actually going to have to shop that day as an anti-protest? Do I have the moral fortitude, the physical stamina and the emotional self-control to take a stand? Am I willing to make the sacrifice after 27 years of opting out of the Black Friday crush?

    Good Lord! 27 years. I have teeth younger than that. ;)

    If you say I should, Victoria, I will do it. For you, I will.

    Don't do it for me! Do it for Wal-Mart!

    But I WON'T bring the 5-year-old with me ... A bridge too far, that is, and I must confess that don't love you that much. Forgive.

    ;)


    *waves like Mother Teresa*

    All is forgiven, my child, as long as you get into debt, and stay that way until July.

    Or until your old man finds the Visa bill you've cleverly hidden under your 5-year old's Playstation.

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Fri Nov 18, 03:19:00 am GMT-5  

  • I fear that you have completely missed the point of Buy Nothing Day. While it is common for Chrisians to believe that any anti-comsumer/capitalist/corporate action around the Christmas holiday is meant to undermine the religious significance of the holiday (although that signifigance becomes harder and harder to see these days)...you are gravely mistaken.

    The truth is, this issue goes way beyond this. The real issue is the fact that millions of people around the world are working in sub-human and slave labour conditions to make the crap that everyone is so eager to buy over the holiday season. It was decided to deem Black Friday BND simply because it is the busiest shopping day of the year. It is the time of the year when people go out in hords and spend thousands upon thousands of dollars on things without thinking about where that money is going or who that money is supporting.

    I have no problem with Christmas. I celebrate Christmas with my family (who is deeply religious) every year and I imagine I will continue to do so for a long time to come. What I have chosen to do is be aware of where my money is going and how it is spent.

    So go ahead and sing your praises to The Gap, but ask yourself this: what do you thing your Lord God would have to say about you supporting a company that regularly uses child labour to make the junk they sell? It always amazes me how Christians who claim to be about doing the right thing can so blindly support the mistreatment and exploitation of the poor - and then brag about it cheakily afterward as if the stories of child labour and sweatshops is some sort of silly bedtime story. I hate to break it to you, but it's real, it happens and the proof is well documented and rather easy to find.

    So don't worry, we don't care anything about your holiday and whether or not it's about celebrating the birth of Jesus on a formerly Pagan holiday. It's about the millions of poor people all over the world that are exploited so that you can buy your crap and write your "light hearted" rants about how great the whole system really is.

    Cheers

    By Blogger J. Parker, at Fri Nov 18, 04:20:00 am GMT-5  

  • Victoria: Heheheheh.

    No SUV here, not even a mini-van--we do have a "regular" conversion van, which has a truck base, though. I resisted mail order for a lot of years, but it came in darn handy last year when everyone around here was sick. Also, ALL of our relatives are out of state, so shipping direct does save time & money.

    Can't hide the Visa or Amex bill under the game system though. It's a Playstation 2 that belongs to dear hubby, and he'd be deeply suspicious if ever saw me anywhere near the darn thing (commenting on blogs is MY equivalent of gaming).

    YIKES! Lemme see, my oldest existing tooth must be, what? 39 years old? I think I got my first permanent one a little early, around 5, and I still have that one. Now I'm REALLY depressed.

    PARKER: Not going to go point by point or address the cap vs. anti-cap issues, but I do want to note that it is possible to spend money AND shop (on Black Friday or otherwise) mindfully. I, for example, do it all the time. The two aren't mutually exclusive, you know. You're making a whole lot of assumptions ...

    By Blogger reader_iam, at Fri Nov 18, 10:26:00 am GMT-5  

  • I fear that you have completely missed the point of Buy Nothing Day.

    You know, Parker, I was at pains to mention in the brief comment I left on your blog, that this post was a "light-hearted look from the other side".

    This meant it was going to be a satirical piece, a bit of fluff really, like many of my blogposts.

    Now, despite all this, you reply in a vein that isn't rude, at all.

    But it IS deadly serious -- thus all but confirming the sad stereotype of the anti-corporate crusader I so joyously poke fun at in my piece.

    So you leave me no choice but to drop my gauntlet of sarcasm, and join you in your morose tone, to parry just a few of your more pertinent comments.

    While it is common for Chrisians to believe that any anti-comsumer/capitalist/corporate action around the Christmas holiday is meant to undermine the religious significance of the holiday

    No, that's not what I meant.

    I said that many who are anti-capitalist have a world view which includes being uncomfortable with religiosity in general, Christianity in particular.

    If you scroll your mouse on the Zenta poster, you'll see I wrote what I feel the poster is meant to convey (as well):

    Subliminal message: Christianity bad; Zen Buddhism good.

    (although that signifigance becomes harder and harder to see these days)...you are gravely mistaken.

    Precisely. It's harder and harder to see these days because in this country, religious holidays and symbols are under attack.

    And they're not under attack by people from my mindset, Parker.

    They are by people who hail from your side of the aisle.

    Why, if we had our druthers, we would encourage every single person to celebrate Christmas by going to Mass on 25 December.

    But since we can't (because that would be wrong, seeing as how not everyone is Christian), we need to make the holiday as innocuously as possible, for the largest number of people to enjoy.

    The truth is, this issue goes way beyond this. The real issue is the fact that millions of people around the world are working in sub-human and slave labour conditions to make the crap that everyone is so eager to buy over the holiday season.

    Stop right there, please.

    Who do you think you're addressing?

    Have you lived in the Third World? I have. I've lived with real misery around -- the kind that comes from the corruption of the officials who are meant to rule over it.

    That isn't the Great Evil Satan of Corporation's fault -- it's the fault of every single person who would treat their compatriots and let the wallow in conditions which you and I in the West would blanch at.

    Whenever a Vietnamese factory foreman slaps a Nike drone to work harder, that isn't Nike's fault FIRST AND FOREMOST -- it is the nation's fault which tolerates the infliction of such corporal punishment on workers, because it's part of their cultural traditions.

    Instead of being all out-of-joint with Nike EXCLUSIVELY, you should boycott Vietnam, and lay siege at their embassy in Washington.

    But that never happens.

    It was decided to deem Black Friday BND simply because it is the busiest shopping day of the year. It is the time of the year when people go out in hords and spend thousands upon thousands of dollars on things without thinking about where that money is going or who that money is supporting.

    I think reader_Iam put it best when she said, you are making a lot of assumptions.

    Personally, it is this condenscending attitude which I find most galling about the anti-globalisation/anti-corporation crowd.

    It's fairly obvious they have little respect for the intelligence of their fellow man, believing almost everyone is an unthinking rube, who is forcefed to buy whatever advertising tells them.

    If they weren't, they wouldn't support these vile corporations -- as the more superior-intelligence of the ones who protest, boycott and ban, don't.

    You will NEVER win the hearts and minds of the people you target, if you take this track.

    They can feel your disdain for their intelligence a mile away.

    I have no problem with Christmas. I celebrate Christmas with my family (who is deeply religious) every year and I imagine I will continue to do so for a long time to come. What I have chosen to do is be aware of where my money is going and how it is spent.

    In the mere 250 years since capitalism arrived in the world stage, the world has gone from 6,000 years of the same cruel, bitter, violent and painful existence it always had, to one where people like you exist, and people like me remember.

    The free-market system has elevated people from the worst excesses of an illiberal world, and yet, people refuse to acknowledge this advance.

    That's alright. You know who love corporations the most?

    The people who you think are exploited. They know what alternative they would have, if not for them, and they choose without blinding themselves to the rigours of their life, the path they have.

    So go ahead and sing your praises to The Gap, but ask yourself this: what do you thing your Lord God would have to say about you supporting a company that regularly uses child labour to make the junk they sell? It always amazes me how Christians who claim to be about doing the right thing can so blindly support the mistreatment and exploitation of the poor - and then brag about it cheakily afterward as if the stories of child labour and sweatshops is some sort of silly bedtime story. I hate to break it to you, but it's real, it happens and the proof is well documented and rather easy to find.

    Again, don't lecture anyone about the Third World, let alone me.

    I have seen more misery first-hand than you'll see in a lifetime of posters at World Bank protests.

    So don't worry, we don't care anything about your holiday and whether or not it's about celebrating the birth of Jesus on a formerly Pagan holiday. It's about the millions of poor people all over the world that are exploited so that you can buy your crap and write your "light hearted" rants about how great the whole system really is.

    I loved the little backhanded slur at the "pagan holiday".

    Subliminal message: You are all worshipping a faulty starting premise, and thus, you're unthinking rubes too, but not me

    Ick. The condenscenscion drips.

    Off you go, Parker. Have a good existence doing what you do. Fight the good corporate fight.

    Unlike what you may think, people don't entirely disagree with you, including myself.

    But it's the methods, attitudes, and manias your side employs, that will be your undoing.

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Fri Nov 18, 01:41:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Victoria: Heheheheh.

    Ooh, I love your giggle. It sounds like mine!

    No SUV here, not even a mini-van--we do have a "regular" conversion van, which has a truck base, though.

    I am a completely n00b when it comes to SUV talk.

    Not sure what a conversion van is -- did it have to have catechism with a nun for 10 weeks?

    I resisted mail order for a lot of years, but it came in darn handy last year when everyone around here was sick. Also, ALL of our relatives are out of state, so shipping direct does save time & money.

    My mother has never ordered via the catalogues (and thus, I wasn't raised with that tradition, either) BUT she loves QVC and esp. the HSC.

    But sometimes she turns her head to one side, and asks in a little voice, whenever some suits or dresses are being sold:

    "Who would buy clothes without trying them on?"

    And I reply, mum, you live in a city with 201 malls around you.

    Many women do not. They live in rural areas, or they're so tired to shop, that at least seeing them on a model live, is better than a catalogue shopper.

    I know she understands that now. But she still doesn't get it. :)

    Can't hide the Visa or Amex bill under the game system though. It's a Playstation 2 that belongs to dear hubby, and he'd be deeply suspicious if ever saw me anywhere near the darn thing (commenting on blogs is MY equivalent of gaming).

    Me too! Although I had a close call with getting a Playstation 2 earlier this year...

    YIKES! Lemme see, my oldest existing tooth must be, what? 39 years old? I think I got my first permanent one a little early, around 5, and I still have that one. Now I'm REALLY depressed.

    Nah, don't feel that way. You're only as young as the man you feel. ;)

    PARKER: Not going to go point by point or address the cap vs. anti-cap issues, but I do want to note that it is possible to spend money AND shop (on Black Friday or otherwise) mindfully. I, for example, do it all the time. The two aren't mutually exclusive, you know. You're making a whole lot of assumptions ...

    Well said, without a trace of bitterness or exasperation.

    You're a great gal, reader_Iam. You can grace my blog any time, and I'll be proud of it.

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Fri Nov 18, 02:00:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Supraliminal message: Bless you my child, for you have shopped.

    By Blogger Meade, at Fri Nov 18, 02:17:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Bless you my child, for you have shopped.

    I think I have a new tattoo!

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Fri Nov 18, 02:22:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Why, thank you, Victoria! What a lovely thing to say. You're welcome at mine, too, which I've just started this week. (And no, I wouldn't have mentioned that except you sort of set it up, wouldn't you agree?)

    Good luck with whatever weird technical glitch you're working on. Me, I'm still trying to figure out the basics.

    By Blogger reader_iam, at Fri Nov 18, 04:11:00 pm GMT-5  

  • And when in the history of mankind have the most pious not been exceptionally greedy? If no one were greedy, then what would happen to capitalism? Or is there an acceptable level of greed that can maintain capitalism and still be amenable to your religious pieties?

    I suppose that, being über-religious, you and your ilk can squeeze in all the requisite omphaloskepsis about the commercialization of religious holidays into one day.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Mon Nov 21, 10:45:00 am GMT-5  

  • And when in the history of mankind have the most pious not been exceptionally greedy? If no one were greedy, then what would happen to capitalism? Or is there an acceptable level of greed that can maintain capitalism and still be amenable to your religious pieties?

    I think this paragraph shows a complete lack of regard for those who profess themselves religious.

    And there are many, too many assumptions expressed as well.

    Greedy=Capitalism
    Greedy=pious
    Religious=hypocrites

    I'm just not going to go there. You choose to post anonymously. I choose to disregard your arguments.

    Life is all about choice.

    I suppose that, being über-religious, you and your ilk can squeeze in all the requisite omphaloskepsis about the commercialization of religious holidays into one day.

    Oh can it, you boring little person.

    This is not a question of "my side" "your side".

    In fact, it's that mindset that people who think themselves progressive or alternative to the status-quo, which just reemphasises that they are not offering any new attitudes.

    It's the same old degrading attitude offered up as something new.

    Ech.

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Tue Nov 22, 12:45:00 am GMT-5  

  • Nice. very true... If we anti-commercialize Christmas it turns back into the Judeo-Christian holiday it once was, which would be a nice thing.

    And for the record I do hate giant corps, but only when they do something evil. [coughmicrosoftcough]

    By Blogger KirbyMeister, at Tue Dec 06, 04:55:00 pm GMT-5  

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