The day after Thanksgiving is the biggest shopping day of the year. Last year retailers brought in 7.2 billion dollars. It's known as Black Friday - when retailers go from being unprofitable, or "in the red," to being profitable, or "in the black", referring to a time when accounting records were kept by hand and red indicated loss and black profit.
In the 1940s Thanksgiving was actually moved back from the 4th to the 3rd Thursday of November to give shoppers more time to buy stuff before Christmas. Post-depression, this was a way to boost retail shops and the economy. But where have come to since then, and where are we headed?
At first it was the appeal of a growing number of home conveniences in the 1950s, then a car for everyone, resulting in the gradual erosion of public transit, "then the ubiquitousness of things and chemical products technologically unimaginable a few decades earlier, then growing availability of consumer credit and debt, the over-dependence on labor-saving devices, total dependence on the car and absolute necessity of full time work, the two income household to pay for more and more, then the importation of cheaper and cheaper goods and the disappearance of manufacturing jobs and now the decline of service work with professionals next to be downsized.. The ongoing disenfranchisement of people from their community, replaced with commercial transactions.."
from: http://www.verdant.net/index.html (which is loaded with articles, calculators and helpful links about resisting consumerism).
What impact does your lifestyle have on the earth? Take this quick and simple quiz to get an idea of your "Ecological Footprint" http://www.lead.org/leadnet/footprint/intro.htm
I got 11 acres, which is 43% of the US average, but it would still require several earths to sustain this footprint globally.
Consider buying nothing on Black Friday. Join thousands of people concerned about the unsustainable consumerist course our culture is driving on (in a gas guzzling SUV). Read below about AdBuster's coordinated and creative efforts for Buy Nothing Day worldwide.
wishing you a thankful thanksgiving,
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 26 2004 IS BUY NOTHING DAY (BND)
For 24 hours, millions of people around the world do not participate -- in the doomsday economy, the marketing mind-games, and the frantic consumer-binge that's become our culture. We pause. We make a small choice not to shop. We shrink our footprint and gain some calm. Together we say to Exxon, Nike, Coke and the rest: enough is enough. And we help build this movement to rethink our unsustainable course.
In its 13 years, BND has become a flashpoint, a day when people of all stripes come together in symbolic protest.
Victoria’s Dirty Secret
In New York activists will be dressed up as Angels with Chain Saws to protest the deforestation of the Boreal Forest for the production of glossy catalogues. It's a spoof of Victoria's Secret's recent ad campaign: ‘Angels Across America’.
Imagine rush hour commuters bombarded with BND anti-ads. In L.A. Culture Jammers are reclaiming radio with low-power FM transmitters.
Become a Zenta: put on a Santa costume and meditate in front of HANKYU department store, Kyoto, 2pm - 6pm.
Trade coffee fairly: one cup costs 100g of rice, 5 sheets of seaweed or 200g of flour.Enjoy a free meal and some conversation at one of Japan's "biggest and most colorful homeless communities" in Kamagasaki.
Throw a temper tantrum in a shopping mall.
Visit a fast food chain in a chicken or cow costume with a banner proclaiming things like "You're not having my chicken wings."
Stage a classic conga to finish off the festivities. Reverend Billy In New York
Look out for the Ten Commandments posted on CEO Headquarters in Times Square, and listen up for radio interviews preaching the good word of anti-consumerism.
AND. . .
Radio Spots on community stations in Whitehorse Yukon, Chicago, San Diego and Redway California.
Parade in New York, also www.freegan.com is doing a dumpster diving tour.
Seattle is cycling with Critical Mass, and cooperating with Church of Stop Shopping.
"Nothing" billboards in Auckland New Zealand.
Fake barcodes in Manchester England, with "Economic Zone" mocking NAFTA Free Trade Zones.
Take a break from shopping in Oxford England. and relax in the "Fun is FREE Zone " with music, entertainment, juggling, face-painting and arts and crafts.
Street theatre performances: "Dresses of Mass Seduction" in Melbourne Australia. Oil barrel sculpture in Raleigh North Carolina. "Death By Latte" in Montreal.
Improv. actors in Madrid Spain are poking fun at the 'Culture of Consumerism' and holding a concert and storytelling sessions.
Shopping vultures in Flagstaff Arizona. Creative minds in Austin are coming up with jams like. . . a shopping cart grand prix.
Dallas does Boycott Bush.
Philadelphia: Black Spot, Black Friday.
Food court potluck in Victoria, BC.
Memes in Sacramento shopping bags. . . BND slogans slipped into pockets of new clothing and bags.
Massive street party in Halifax, NS. Radical cheerleaders in Denver. Money drop in Salt Lake City.
Public Forums on the "Culture of Consumerism, and Reclaiming Public Space" are being held in Anchorage Alaska. Across campuses Internationally University Students are having a clothing swap, free-market stores, fair trade coffee, book swaps and spreading the word about the Barefoot Economics Manifesto and World Peace Week events.