Never Buy Day

As I confessed in my last post, I shopped today — vegetables, dish soap for the office, a yoga mat — on this countercultural Antifeast, Buy Nothing Day. So what?

It’s clear that the polish has warn off the observance. After all, isn’t deferring a purchase by a day the economic equivalent of security theater? Paraphrasing Yoda, “there is shop, or no shop. There is no try.”

But the hope behind Buy Nothing Day is in the right place. For instance: recreational shopping is not a substitute for self-esteem or cultivated relationships. Things do not make happiness. Consumerism is not an excuse for moral consumption. And there’s the visible effects. I mean: how many people have to die or be hurt while shopping before good sense takes over? And consider the wasteful acres of parking that surround shopping malls/merchandizing prisons needs for the handful of peak days each year. I could go on.

To my way of thinking, you can orient your consumption to do the most good and least harm, or you won’t. I plan my needs, consiering their use and cost, and often vet my vendors. Big frantic mall experiences just aren’t in my plans. Walmart isn’t in my plans. Car dealerships aren’t in my plans. Steakhouses aren’t in my plans. For these, today isn’t a Buy Nothing Day, but just Buy Nothing Ever.

By Scott Wells

Scott Wells, 46, is a Universalist Christian minister doing Universalist theology and church administration hacks in Washington, D.C.

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