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Black Friday? Buy Nothing Day? How About Buy Something Responsible Day?

| Wednesday November 25th, 2009 | 5 Comments


The idea of waking up at the crack of dawn the day after Thanksgiving to go shopping for trinkets among hordes of what seem like crazed zombies strikes me as a horrible kind of torture. Nonetheless, millions of Americans consider “Black Friday” a kind of celebratory tradition, with this year expected to be the biggest and craziest yet. Understandably, retailers and other merchants are delighted at the opportunity to cash in.

As an antidote to the madness, some folks stay home or actively participate in anti-shopping movements such as “buy nothing day” – a clever, mostly symbolic, attempt to reign some sense into the consumptive lifestyle.

But why can’t progressive-minded business people suggest a saner alternative? After all, folks who understand the appeal of shopping locally, buying organic, and taking the time to understand where products come from and who makes them, already recognize that we vote with our dollars. When consumers line up at 4am at a big box store to buy next year’s landfill discards, they are voting approval of an economy based on thoughtless consumption, materialism and waste. Only by casting competing votes can we, and responsible business owners, change that tide.

I propose “Buy Something Responsible Day”.

Actually, someone could probably come up with a better name. Green Friday? But the idea is to make a concerted effort to encourage spending some extra money the day after Thanksgiving at businesses who are making sustainable efforts – be they sourcing and employing locally, producing ecologically minded goods, or just making an honest effort at reducing their footprint on the earth. Or just buying up everything at a farmer’s market and making a feast? There are dozens of companies we’ve profiled over the years here at TriplePundit, over at TreeHugger, and elsewhere, that ought to qualify. The point is to actively stimulate a new, greener economy a “BUYcott” could accomplish much more than a “BOYcott.”

Just watch Carrotmob’s awesome video and you’ll get the idea…

Start a carrotmob if you can, or better yet, tell the world why your business deserves to be patronized. Either way, go out and spend some money on Friday, just be sure to do it mindfully, with an eye toward rebuilding the economy the right way–not the old way.

Any other ideas?


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  • http://www.plaidfriday.com Rebecca Graham

    In the San Francisco Bay Area, we’re celebrating Plaid Friday, a mixed up weave of local businesses!

  • Tom Foremski

    Nick, why can’t we have a Buy Nothing Day just for one day? It’s the greenest thing you can do. The other 364 days are all Buy Something Responsible Days anyways. Why restrict it to one day? Just declare that every day is a Buy Responsible Day except Buy Nothing Day – that way we can have both :)

    • Nick Aster

      Hey Tom, good to hear from you! Indeed, you’re right. Buy responsibly day should be all the time, but the idea of a responsibility mob – specifically to stimulate the right kind of business/economy really appeals to me…

  • http://www.gina-mariecheeseman.com Gina-Marie Cheeseman

    I’m with Tom. I like the idea of not buying anything one day a year. Plus, tomorrow it will be a zoo no matter where you go.

  • http://envisionGood.tv katrinah

    Great post, Nick! When you consider that our purchases can support people who really need support, consumerism is a good thing. I just interviewed an amazing social entrepreneur, Eve Blossom, who founded Lulan.com. This wonderful company helps prevent human trafficking by creating jobs and strengthening communities in southeast Asia. The best part? You can avoid the crowds by buying online ;-) http://bit.ly/8XLrc4 Awesome.

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