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Buy Nothing Day

While turkey and cranberry gelatin are still digesting from Thanksgiving, Black Friday hits with a vengeance, filling shopping malls and department stores with people whose appetites have moved quickly from food to sales.

But there is an alternative to braving the malls on Black Friday, and it is as simple as staying at home and keeping your credit card tucked safely away.

Buy Nothing Day is a 24-hour campaign that coincides with Black Friday in which consumers are encouraged to refrain from purchasing anything in an act of solidarity against consumerism, and to send a collective message to corporations that we don’t need them as much as they need us.

The idea was Ted Dave’s, a Vancouver-based artist, and was quickly promoted by Adbusters, an anti-corporate, anti-consumerism magazine known for its “culture jamming” (www.adbusters.org).

The concept quickly went global, with dozens of countries participating in last year’s Buy Nothing Day including Finland, Taiwan and the UK.

In addition to simply refraining from buying more stuff, many activists take to the streets and malls with signs, skits and some gumption, encouraging others to resist the marketing campaigns and sales, to “participate by not participating,” according to Adbusters.org.

Last November in Providence, R.I., a group of activists displayed a “bad Santa” who wandered around Providence Place Mall yelling, “Hurry up and get in the mall, because the war [isn’t] going to pay for itself,” and whipping a “sweatshop elf” who “never seemed to work fast enough.”

And in Bristol, England, a group went to a prominent shopping center and sang “altered anti-consumerist Christmas carols.”

Indeed.

If you are concerned about the corporate grip on our holidays, or if you simply want to allow more time for your Thanksgiving meal to digest, there are a growing number of people who are spending their Black Fridays unplugging from the shopping culture and saving a few bucks in the process.

For more information, go to adbusters.org

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