In the following 30 days of posts we’ll see how much I can try and avoid buying. And what are some of the traps and remedies………
I’m new to Buy Nothing Month, and think it might be an Aussie reincarnation of an idea from North America.
So, here’s a bit of history.
* Buy Nothing Day began its life as a day in Canada in the 1990’s as a protest against consumerism.
* In 1997 it was moved from October to November and the day after the American Thanksgiving. This day, otherwise known as “Black Friday” became known to be a day of major traffic jams and huge chain store discounts.
* In recent times some major US chains began opening their stores at midnight (!) in an effort to stimulate more hype and more sales.
* In 2008 a woman died in a Wal-Mart store due to a customer stampede at opening time. Other disturbing incidents have occurred since then.
The idea behind Australia’s BNM is to encourage us all to move from a consumption-driven society to a community-driven one. What a noble goal.
A 2005 paper from the Australia Institute by Clive Hamilton Richard Denniss and David Baker tells us “Aussies have admitted to spending over $10 billion every year on goods we do not use: clothes and shoes we never wear, CDs we never listen to, DVDs we never watch and food we never eat and each year in Australia nearly 20 million tonnes of waste goes to landfill. By way of comparison, this amount exceeds spending by Australian governments on universities and roads.”
So, I thought I’d give it a whirl.
I will eat, I will purchase essential medication, deodorant, etc. I might buy experiences. I’ll try really hard NOT to buy THINGS (especially new ones). And I will work through how to still enjoy myself, live well and fully without being a miserable scrooge.
The first day presented itself easily. Lots of work to do, phone calls, distractions. Exercised in the lunch-hour which is a great way NOT to be lured into shopping. First day – easy. No purchases.
But I did order a book from a newsagent about collage and they called that afternoon to say it’d arrived.
Hmmmn….what to do, what to do. Well, firstly, I didn’t call them back. The book sold out the first time it was in, so I doubt it will sit on the shelves and cost them. They are a vibrant, local store. Someone else will buy it and I can go in and apologize later.
I’m a bit nuts about collage so immediately I knew I could set aside some time researching collage artists on the net. I could print out favourites if desperate (still paper I know, but it would only be a small selection, like I would only like a small selection from the book). I’ve found that the book is for sale second-hand on Amazon, or I could trawl through the library and see if they have a copy.
So first challenge ! Easily accommodated by deferral of gratification and by simply thinking about possible alternative choices. And the choices sound really quite satisfying ! I’ve not joined my local library, so there’s an immediate “to-do”.
Day one. Easy-peasy.