Black Friday overshadows Buy Nothing Day

by | Nov 23, 2012 | News

By Helen Surgenor

Adbusters magazine is encouraging Buy Nothing Day participants to print and post reminders from their website. COURTESY ADBUSTERS

This time last year, it was all about Buy Nothing Day. This year, it’s Buy Everything Day.

On Nov. 23 last year, the Occupy Toronto camp in St. James Park was in the process of being dismantled and dedicated demonstrators were calling on the 99 per cent to “Occupy Christmas” as a way to continue the movement.

Ousted occupiers like then-19-year-old Roxy Cohen, brought their message to the Eaton Centre calling out messages like, “We wish you a meaningful holiday season full of conversation.”

They were going to embrace Buy Nothing Day, have a homemade holiday season, and boycott corporate Canada.

Toronto’s Eaton Centre opened its doors at 6 a.m. to a lineup of “Black Friday” sale-seekers this morning, CBC reports.

Vancouver artist and activist Ted Dave is credited with starting Buy Nothing Day—a 24-hour shopping hiatus— in the early ‘90s as a countering force to the Black Friday shopping frenzy.

On Nov. 7 of last year, the North York Central Library posted a blog, highlighting Buy Nothing Day- themed books that could be borrowed from their Society and Recreation Department.

The library confirmed it does not have any similar displays or events planned for this year.

In contrast, the Toronto Public Library has a blog post alerting shoppers to the Black Friday sales they can look forward to.

Optative Theatrical Laboratories aims to create social change through the arts, and in previous years has staged special Buy Nothing Day performances to encourage viewers to think about their shopping.

“In doing that, it causes you to reflect upon your consumption habits. You start to realize, ‘wait a minute, where’s my habit? Where’s my latte?’ and you start to realize maybe you don’t need that anymore.”

But this year, “beyond buying nothing, we’re not actually planning interventions,” Donovan King, co-founder of the Montreal-based group, told Humber News.

Occupy Christmas is perhaps something else people feel they don’t need anymore, its eponymous website hasn’t been updated since Jan. 20 of this year.