Warning: Rant

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I have never really understood the frenzy behind Buy Nothing Day. People take it as a day, on which to buy absolutely nothing, in order to “stick it to the man, man.” They make a big deal about it, promote it amongst their friends, buy nothing, then resume their consumerism in the following days. Now, I can see how you might want to curb the spending of people like my Mom (who showed up at a store at 5am this morning in order to get herself a free earplug FM radio). Some people buy stuff just because it's on sale. “Hey, look! This yellow tablecloth is 75% off!” “But we already have white, blue, and tan tablecloths.” “Yeah, but it's on sale!” My mom bought a vase that she later realized does not go with anything in the house. But to dogmatically go around telling people not to buy anything, giving little-to-no explanation of the reasoning, really does not help anyone–but that is what most BND zealots are doing.

About 6 months ago, my DVD player was on its last legs. My stereo (which was about 18 years old) was also on its last legs. I had been wanting a home theater for a while, and thought then would be a good time to get one. I did a lot of research and found a nice entry-level system. I did some price-comparison and found the best place to get it. Then, I bought it. Now, if that had been time-shifted 6 months, I would be out buying a new home theater this weekend. My choices would be to blindly follow BND protocol and buy it earlier or later for $50-100 more or to make an intelligent consumer decision and save money but break protocol.

It seems people need an “informed consumer day” or something like that. If I was in need of a product, I would be stupid not to get it on the big sale weekend. Now, some could argue I don't really need a DVD player, but if I grant you that, then I have to also grant you that I do not need a TV or a radio or my own copies of books or a computer or an internet connection, and we end up at the bottom of that slippery slope where I wouldn't be able to make this argument to whoever is reading. It seems the world does not need dogmatic propaganda telling people not to buy anything. Similarly, the world does not need to buy everything in sight “just because it's on sale.” Perhaps these are equal, but opposite, extremes that end up canceling each other out and giving us informed consumers. Still, I'm not a big fan of people screaming at me to buy nothing for the sake of buying nothing.

Posted in: Dear Diary

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