International 'Buy Nothing Day' Is An Effort To End The Black Friday Madness

A Black Friday shopper at a Toys-R-Us pushes a shopping cart in Fairfax, Virginia on November 24, 2016. / AFP / PAUL J. RICHARDS (Photo credit should read PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)
Source: PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images

Every year, Black Friday is the biggest shopping day of the year in the U.S., often featuring long lines and scary stampedes — but you already knew that. What you might not know is that there's a much less scary alternative with global support. International "Buy Nothing Day" is an anti-Black Friday celebration for consumers who dread the post-Thanksgiving shopping craze. 

Buy Nothing Day reportedly began in Canada in 1992. Now, it takes place on the day following Thanksgiving — the day you know as Black Friday — and it is billed as the way for consumers to "participate by not participating." According to Adbusters, a Canadian magazine that promotes Buy Nothing Day, the holiday will be celebrated this year by millions of people in more than 60 countries, including the United Kingdom, Sweden, and Japan.

To celebrate Buy Nothing Day, Adbusters recommends bold moves like offering to cut Black Friday shoppers' credit cards and wandering stores as a member of the "cheerful dead." While Black Friday shoppers try to find the best deals on the best holiday gifts, Buy Nothing Day is meant to to take the commercialism out of the holiday season. As it turns out, though, there are several reasons why a concerned consumer may want to participate, even with commercialized holidays. 

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For one thing, skipping Black Friday can undoubtedly save time and money. That's ironic, since the whole point of Black Friday shopping is to find unbeatable deals on big-ticket items. But do you really need to go all out? You may not feel a moral obligation to take the commercialism out of the holidays, but you can certainly feel a financial obligation to do so. (Or, perhaps it's your obligation to a good night's sleep that will convince you.)

For another, boycotting Black Friday could actually do great things for the economy. As xoJane has reported, celebrating Buy Nothing Day can show solidarity for American employees, jobs, and manufacturing. In the long term, supporting American industry can create a stronger economy. 

Finally, you may not even miss out on all that much by skipping Black Friday this year. According to projections, fewer Americans planned to shop in brick-and-mortar stores on the day after Thanksgiving. In fact, just 23 percent of shoppers reported planning a Black Friday trip this year. Whether it's the deals that aren't compelling or the potential for stampedes, the lower Black Friday participation could give Buy Nothing Day an opportunity for greater visibility. 

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