Friday, November 28, 2008

I bought something today

Today is, so I've heard, "Buy Nothing Day." I have no objection to this, but then I'm not a shopper at any time, much less on the biggest shopping day of the year. In a way, it's easy for me to support Buy Nothing Day, like it's easy for me to participate in Turn Off Your Television campaigns, or embargoes of shrimp. That's the easy part. The hard part is thinking it through and making it a consistent and comprehensive part of one's life -- the "it" here being any sort of value.

Buying, by itself, is not a value; consumerism is a value, as is abstemiousness. And what drives the buying? What beliefs lie behind our behavior? Which I think is a weakness in some of these programs. To be fair, it's a problem with Lent, too. We give up chocolate, but why? Simply from an overarching sense that Chocolate is BAD?

I'm sure the hope behind all of these fasts is to get us to think beyond the day or season and to change our behaviors. Not just to buy nothing today, but to recognize how much we buy and ask ourselves whether we need to do that or not.

I bought a newspaper today and so I cannot say that I participated in Buy Nothing Day fully, at least not in practice. But I do think that I felt the spirit of the thing as I recognized my purchase and asked myself questions about it. I didn't buy nothing, but for today at least I didn't buy mindlessly.

1 comment:

qoe said...

True confessions: The twins and I did purchase milk, because we were out, and while at the grocery store, a bit of cheese and a loaf to go with my homemade turkey soup. We didn't need the cheese or the bread, necessarily, but it did make a lovely addition to our modest and thrifty meal.

We did not, however, engage in any other shopping or purchasing.

I think the kind of shopping we (my crew and you) did is not the kind of shopping that the No Shopping Day was about... but the rampant consumerism that the mall sales attract us to.

I would have to additionally confess that shopping is not one of my favorite things, anyway. When necessity forces my hand, I am known to make Guerrilla-shopping forays into the shops, hacking through the aisles with my imaginary machete, list in hand, twins in tow... Quickly in, quickly out, with an assist or two to other shoppers, as the need arises. I get all the two for one offers on staple items, and the second one always goes to my neighbor.

The only danger for me ever comes when in proximity to BOOKS or a BOOK STORE. That is when I can be known to go off the deep end. But I have been very, very good, and the library has been very accommodating...