On Thursday night, Americans are thankful for what they have, and on Friday morning, many will go out and get more of it. It's crazy, especially in these economic times, to be shovelling money into big box stores. Kalle Lasn of Adbusters thought so, and explains the logic behind Buy Nothing Day:
Our headlong plunge into ecological collapse requires a profound shift in the way we see things. Driving hybrid cars and limiting industrial emissions is great, but they are band-aid solutions if we don't address the core problem: we have to consume less. This is the message of Buy Nothing Day.
Last year I suggested that the day should be renamed after the store employee who was trampled to death in Valley Stream, New York: Forget Black Friday or Buy Nothing Day, it should be Jdimytai Damour Day
Ever since Buy Nothing Day started, I have expressed some ambivalence about it, noting that it was "a nice idea, if you don't work in a shop." Other TreeHuggers expressed the same, noting that it is "an important day for our eco-gift maker friends." That is why I like the idea of this new initiative, the first Small Business Saturday:
A day to come together in support of the small businesses we love. The shops and restaurants that employ our neighbors and reinvest our money close to home. The businesses that are the heartbeat of our communities and local economies.
One can overlook the fact that it is sponsored by a very big business, American Express, because it is such a good idea. The Boston Herald notes the contradiction:
American Express and the National Trust for Historic Preservation launched the concept of Small Business Saturday nestled in between Black Friday and Cyber Monday. For Amex it's a chance to win customers and shine its image. The National Trust wants to support businesses that have moved into historic buildings.
Regardless of the motives, the groups seem to have tapped into what many see as a real need to support small businesses.
Small businesses and viable main streets are key to developing a walkable, low carbon lifestyle. Celebrating both Buy Nothing Day and Small Business Saturday may well be the best of both worlds.
More on Buy Nothing Day
Forget Black Friday or Buy Nothing Day, it should be Jdimytai Damour Day
Don't Forget about Buy Nothing Day
Thoughts on Buy Nothing Day