Buy Nothing Day

Tomorrow is Buy Nothing Day across North America (it’s Saturday elsewhere), an international protest against consumerism in response to the embarrassing fact that some 20% of the world’s population consumes 80% of the world’s resources, causing tremendous and disproportionate environmental damage as well as an unfair distribution of wealth, of course.

As the name suggests, it’s a day spent without spending, yet it’s also a day to hopefully think about how you spend, why you spend and what you can do to effect change through your spending by making changes to your consumer habits.

Consider the cheap labour being exploited in developing countries, producing cheap goods for you to buy – goods that you don’t need; the entirely unnecessary oil-based packaging favoured by supermarkets that you cannot recycle or compost, which ends up in landfill and takes an eternity to rot away; the poisonous chemicals sprayed on and pumped into your food and the harmful effects that they, and intensive farming, have on wildlife, its habitat and you; the immense environmental cost of transporting, not least by air, food items that would cause mere inconvenience and not starvation if we could not have them all year round.

‘Black Friday’, the Friday after Thanksgiving in the US, is traditionally one of the busiest shopping days, hence the date of Buy Nothing Day. Where Saturdays tend to be busier for shoppers, the event is observed on that day instead.

So why not have two Buy Nothing Days to think about the needless over-consumption rife in the affluent, bloated developed world and growing rapidly, which will certainly have catastrophic consequences, in many developing countries?

This weekend, invite some friends over for a meal of locally-grown produce, washed down by a glass or two of Fair Trade wine. Play Anti-Monopoly beside the glow of solar- and candle-light. Listen to Jimi Hendrix, as it’s his birthday. Read some Oliver James before bed. It’ll be great. It’ll be different.

Perhaps you can commit or convert another into shopping locally; start borrowing from your library instead of hoarding; grow your own fruit and vegetables in your garden; filter tap water and shun the over-priced bottled variety (which is often tap water, anyway); use jute and cotton bags for your groceries; tell your supermarket – the best way to tell them anything is by not buying – that you don’t need your mushrooms to come in a plastic container shrouded with shrink-wrap any more than you need your bananas to come, sweating, in a plastic bag.

As this television commercial, not surprisingly banned by most US networks in recent years, hits home, “The average North American consumes five times more than a Mexican, 10 times more than a Chinese person, and 30 times more than a person from India. We are the most voracious consumers in the world. A world that could die because of the way we North Americans live. Give it a rest.”

Ditto Europe.

If for only one day, please do not buy what you do not need.

Over-consumption not only has obvious economic and environmental costs, but personal and social costs as well.

I mentioned Oliver James back there. He argues that English-speaking countries are infected with a virus, which others have called an all-consuming epidemic – affluenza – which fosters mental illness. Indeed, the citizens of English-speaking nations are twice as likely to suffer from mental illness as citizens from mainland Western Europe, and James puts this down to excessive wealth-seeking: stress, anxiety and ultimately burn-out caused by an obsessive quest for material gain.

With the latest must-have items constantly flashed before our eyes, the new and improved version soon rendering its predecessor out-of-date, you can never possibly have it all. Or enough. Yet we work longer hours for less pay, rates of everything from depression to obesity to debt are higher than they’ve ever been, and all the while we live with the endless disappointment of the consumer lifestyle that we, in our ignorance and greed, have allowed to prosper and dominate.

It has to disappoint us because that’s the only way we’ll keep on buying: in order to feel better, to fool ourselves into thinking that we’re somehow more successful and/or content for having more. We assume that we ought to provide all the things that will spoil satisfy our children and hope they’ll make up for missing out on their childhood. We are all too easily convinced that having an expensive, usually electrical and almost always plastic-heavy gadget of some sort will shave a few precious seconds off one task or another each day, which will therefore give us more time that will, in the end, be used up on working or spending, thinking about working or spending, or travelling to wherever we work or can spend.

Do you feel pressurised in this way, believing that every facet of society is geared to make you hunger after things you simply do not need, piling pressure on you to ‘keep up with the Joneses’ so that you don’t get left behind in shame?

Have you already realised this and taken steps to counter the malaise? Are you an ethical consumer and do you boycott certain brands and products, even countries? Do you think you could go a whole day without buying anything, without absorbing any capitalist message or marketing gimmick? As with all such days of purpose, do you think this one can make a jot of difference?

As always, I’d love to share your thoughts on this.

Author: FEd

Features Editor of David Gilmour’s official blog, The Blog (‘Features’ previously being its rather naff title), affectionately – or lazily – shortened to ‘FEd’.

65 thoughts on “Buy Nothing Day”

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  2. Luckily I bought my new 52in LCD TV and Bluray player last weekend, so tomorrow I can rest…

    Cheers, Howard

  3. YOU ARE NOT WHAT YOU BUY. I tell this to everybody, but not everybody believes me. I’ll keep saying it. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. I keep saying this, too, but it meets with blank stares. A MAN’S LIFE DOES NOT CONSIST IN THE ABUNDANCE OF HIS POSSESSIONS. Really? Really.

    I like the term “affluenza”. Do you mind if I use it as I attempt to save the world?

  4. Hi Fed,

    I will spend the night as you suggested, but I haven’t any of the books written by Oliver James, unfortunately.

    Did you ever realise that you could be a very, very good writer?

    There are always the right words at the right time, it’s a pleasure to read your posts.

    By the way, I know a little about the situation in South America, (very much exploited), I have friends from Ecuador and they told me many things of their country, it’s really moving. People starving, children starving, people killed for a few dollars, poverty is a bad beast, the worst. Every one of us should think of how lucky we are to be fine, and it’s sad to walk on the street and hear people complaining all the time, and what’s the reason? Very often it’s a stupid reason.

    Enjoy your life, your family and your friends. Your life will be happier if you are happy with the easy things.

    1. You’re always too kind, Piero.

      And this is so true:

      Every one of us should think of how lucky we are to be fine, and it’s sad to walk on the street and hear people complaining all the time, and what’s the reason? Very often it’s a stupid reason.

      Enjoy your life, your family and your friends. Your life will be happier if you are happy with the easy things.

  5. I work very hard for the money I have and I like to enjoy it and the finer things in life… mostly guitars.

    I really feel for people who aren’t as fortunate as me and I often donate to charity but as the saying goes “no pockets in a shroud”… meant in the best possible way, folks.

    1. I too work very hard for my money and I spend it on my mortgage and my daughter. After living on the breadline when I was 19 and my early 20s and sleeping on other people’s sofas, I appreciate a roof over my head.

      I have learned that money is to be spent wisely.

      Okay, maybe I am guilty in buying up original pieces of Berlin Wall, but it is for an art project.

      As for hoarding books, well, I am sorry, books are my education and are very sacred to me. My library is a very special place in my house. So I shall continue to hoard.

      But, on the whole, it is sad to see so much wastefulness when it comes to money.

  6. F’ed, you’ve put me in a right miserable mood now.

    Humans, eh! What a god-forsaken* species we are. Blessed with knowledge of our failings and powerless to correct them.

    Much of what you say is, of course, undeniably true. How we unpick it without bringing World trade and the equally undeniable benefits of increased health, improved diet, genuinely useful technology and Maynard’s Wine Gums crashing into a heap I frankly have no idea.

    How we also then rise into the new harmonious, non-exploitative, possibly agrarian age of enlightenment without repeating the same mistakes I am equally clueless but, if I wasn’t banned from spending money in the local bookie’s tomorrow, I would lay a reasonable bet** that some sort of calamitous event (be it nuclear, conflict, climate-change related or most likely a combination of all three) will give us a chance to find out in the next century or so.

    * Of course I don’t mean this because I’m fairly sure there isn’t one.

    ** Of course I wouldn’t because I could never collect on it.

  7. I think that I sometimes go a few days without buying anything. After reading this I will be more concious of it.

    I would also like to see a Make Your Own Sarnies/Lunch (Sandwiches) day. So many people buy sandwiches etc with all that packaging. If you work it is so easy to make lunch the night before and, in these times, you might save a bit of money.

  8. An excellant idea, so simple. Its unlikely to change the world but it can’t do it any harm either – I for one will try and go the distance.

    If nothing else you’ve turned me on to read Oliver James’ Affluenza.

    1. It’s a fascinating read, Gary. There’s a fair-sized taster on his website (the link’s included in the post).

  9. Ouch, you sure know how to make us feel guilty… :!

    But, sorry, I think that such a ‘Buy Nothing Day’ won’t make any difference. Just something symbolic, anecdotal.

    Many people will follow the advice just to have a good conscience, but will buy twice more the next day. Nonsense. And it won’t make them think more about useless purchases in the future.

    In my opinion, just one day of action, then back to ‘normal’ is pointless.

    ‘Everyday, Waste Nothing’ would be better…

    And maybe we’re shopping for things we don’t need partly because people on TV tell us they are good for us, so, why not a ‘No TV Adverts Day’ (x365!!!)?


  10. In a increasingly ball-less country, who would have expected the Home Secretary to have any?

    I’m shocked. This Country is called “Great Britain”. And it didn’t get the “Great” through being told what to do by other Nations. Shame!

    Go free a murderer Mr Johnson.

    Rant over.

    1. In case anyone reading this comment hasn’t heard, Gary McKinnon’s controversial extradition to the US – to stand trial for computer hacking charges – is to go ahead.

    2. I’m shocked. This Country is called “Great Britain”. And it didn’t get the “Great” through being told what to do by other Nations. Shame!

      Now frontiers shift like desert sands
      While nations wash their bloodied hands
      Of loyalty, of history, in shades of grey.

      The sun has set on the British Empire.

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  12. FEd,

    Very interesting topic as I have worked in retail for 31 years now in the Grocery areas. Where I work we carry everything under one roof.

    I worked yesterday (Thanksgiving) 4am to 12pm. I got to see the madness up close as we had TVs, iPods, Game Systems, etc on ad from 6am to noon. Thank goodness I work in the foods area. As I watched the customers in line waiting for 6am to come to make their purchases I was thinking why are they not home getting ready to spend time with family and friends? Then it hit me. I realized that the lines of people reminded me of Sheep or Cattle waiting to be slaughtered. The only thing being killed here is the pocketbook.

    I hate to see what the rest of the weekend will bring.

    As I am typing this I am drinking a cup of Fair Trade coffee that I get from a local store. Then I am going to enjoy the rest of the day with Dad and Brother and maybe drink a stronger beverage later. 😀


  13. Sanctimonious piffle Fed. I refuse to feel guilty for buying lots of stuff. People are like squirrels… we collect stuff… some more than others. Do some buy too much? Sure… but how are you going to stop that and how do you judge when too much is indeed too much?

    If I flew to the heart of some impoverished country and gave the first poor person a million bucks, would they react with piety and give most of it to charity or go on a spending binge? I am guessing it would be in the same or similar ratio to people in the have areas… meaning most (not all) people are similar everywhere.

    In those poor countries, there is usually a rich elite that don’t give a toss for the rest of their brethren. In fact it seems to me that greed amongst the elite in poorer nations is worse that in the richer evil west. At least we DO give to the poor. And there are an awful lot of (B) millionaires that are good philanthropists.

    And since there is no religion, hence no gods we are put on this earth with varying means. I do help with donations to the Sally Ann but I am no Buddha either… and why should I be? Just because I was born like most if not all of us on this blog with some advantages… there is no need to feel like I am doing something wrong when buying.

    I DO feel very fortunate (I refused to say blessed… a far overused and trite word) which is important and despite my buying I have plenty of time for family and friends thanks to online shopping. :))

    Cheers, Howard

    1. You hopefully stop people from buying more than they need by making them question why they are buying in the first place, and by pointing out the undeniably dire effects that their ruthless consumer lifestyle has on the resources of the world and those that rely on them.

      They either care or they don’t. I, for one, do.

      It’s just one day of not buying, one attempt at appealing to people’s senses. It may well be another self-indulgent act of self-flagellation that makes the privileged temporarily feel utterly miserable and therefore, they like to think, all the better for it. But things don’t change by people collectively shrugging their shoulders and expecting someone else to continually go without so that they can keep on gorging.

      People are either driven by shame or shock or sadness to first change their attitudes and then their ways. Sanctimoniously or not, I hope some can at least think about the obvious advantages of that happening on a global scale and the wealthy consuming (much) less, instead of just sneering at the suggestion that they should somehow feel the occasional pang of guilt, because to consume 30 times more than someone from India is deplorable.

    2. Reply to Fed’s comments:

      Again you are making the mistake that because we are human and we can “think” this makes all the difference in the world. It really doesn’t. As I mentioned before if the roles were reversed and India has all the cash and we didn’t,the same thing would happen. Hell, in every country, both rich and poor, you have people more than willing to consume more than necessary.

      Also I don’t know why we in the West (well not me) keep bashing ourselves over the head and holding us up as the poster boys of gluttonous evil. I think it is even more heinous when gluttony occurs in poor countries like Zimbabwe. These folks are not even interested in helping their own and are more than willing to see them die rather than help.

      Ultimately we, the human race as a whole, are the issue and don’t worry Fed… nature will equalize the situation down the road.

      Cheers, Howard

      PS. It is not just the wealthy that are hearty consumers… there are plenty of debt laden middle to middle lower classes that can compete with them, albeit in a lower capacity.

    1. I think the bigger question is not whether or not we feel sorry for one individual, but whether we feel the laws in place are insuring that justice is being served. And in this case it’s obvious that justice is not being served. Rather, we are spending a great deal of tax dollars over a minor infraction in which the greatest harm actually done was that people in charge of national security had their egos bruised.

      An apology and a promise to do something positive for society (i.e. some volunteered time) is all that’s needed to rectify this situation. Extradition is overkill. And treating foreign citizens too harshly only harms your country’s reputation in the long run. All you have to do is read about all the stories about US/EU citizens being caned or beaten after being convicted in other countries to see how that adversely affects that other country’s reputation. Of course those people were probably guilty, but that doesn’t make the punishment right.

  14. I think I’ll give it a whirl. On the basis that very rarely do I go to the supermarket and come back out with just what I went in for.

    Anyway, I want one of these because that’s another thing that gets on my wick, people spending lots of money to jump on that green bandwagon. Kinda defeats the whole point.

  15. Great post, FEd. I agree with Piero, it was a real pleasure to read it.

    Personally, I wouldn’t need any Buy Nothing Day, since I’m not used (and I don’t like) to buy things everyday.

    To be sincere, if it was for me, most of the shops and stores of my own city, could even close right now, since my interest in what they sell is really low.

    I just think my behaviour would probably kill the economy. :))

    Since some years, I’ve been boycotting everything I know is tested on animals.

    I also try to avoid everything produced exploiting the workers or the environment, even though it’s quite hard and I’m aware that my information will never be enough. I think it’s a starting point and, I admit it, it’s also a way to keep my conscience a little clearer.

    Last month my favourite supermarkets have finally stopped selling plastic bags, replacing them with cotton ones. Now, you just have to buy them once… and remember to keep them with you when you go shopping. :v

    If today was Buy Nothing Day in North America, tomorrow it will be the “Solidal Shopping Day” (Spesa Solidale/Colletta Alimentare) in Italy.

    Who goes shopping in supermarkets which joined the initiative, may decide to buy some (possibly useful and not so cheap) products for who’s in need. Volunteers from associations will collect and distribute them during the following months.

  16. Very interesting topic for a very professional writer and journalist FEd! You’ll have a second (or first?) job ready for you…

    We all are bad consumers and shopping-abusers: what’s about our armours or about our dresses and coats? A lot of not necessary mountains… just the same matter for our children living without a lot of things is so simple and free… but I think that’s a surprise of our middle age because in the first years of a new job and family every “needle” seems so useful and necessary.

    When years grow up with us we feel free getting strong health, family and few other pieces and it’s enough!

    Have a nice weekend my writer!

  17. Hi FEd,

    I like “Buy Nothing Day”! A really good campaign.

    I don’t’ know why supermarkets seem like a jungle. 8|

    When I go there I see always these bad messages: “You must buy these products!”, “You don’t miss this offer!”, ”Only for today: half price!”, etc. Unfortunately, some people don’t think with their head and they buy everything. I do not buy what I do not need and I try to be a good ethical consumer; for example: when I need a new dress or a pair of shoes I buy these in a vintage shop. I like to recycle plastic, glass and other materials because respect for Nature is the first principle that we make for maintaining our Planet for us and for next generations. I boycott and I don’t like some brands that make tests on animals and don’t respect Nature etc. Recently, I began to boycott some of Unilever’s products, because they contain palm olive oil. Now I switch to cosmetics that ontain only natural ingredients.

    Lastly, I’m reading on some magazines about “Solidal Buying Group” and I think could be a good idea to help ourselves to change our lifestyle.

    Have nice week end FEd. 🙂

    Bye, Hydrea

  18. Yes, OK. Of course it’s largely true. Consumerism as Mogadon for the masses, to keep them in their place of course. But, coming from a multi-millionaire musician and celebrity, it’s a little hard to take. The very masses you are trying to persuade to consume less, even for one day, will be too busy trying to survive and feed hungry mouths, they would probably laugh in your face.

    So, no, I am afraid, brutal as it sounds, it probably won’t work. In a way, you have to be relatively affluent in the first place, to realise all this. The rest, the disenfranchised majority, as I say, are too busy surviving and don’t have the time or luxury of time to give it a second’s thought, to waste precious time worrying about all this. They take what is given on a plate, because they don’t have the time or energy to do anything else. Call me cynical, but join the real world.

    Afraid your multi-millionaire views would probably go down like a bloody lead balloon in provincial council estates where I live.

    1. Point taken and I thank you for writing.

      But David didn’t write the above post, and has never written any of them, so those are not necessarily his views.

      (Should it really make a difference if they are?)

      I’m no multi-millionaire and, in all honesty, I find instances whereby it appears that the middle-classes – let’s call them the bourgeoisie, what the hell – are hopping on the bandwagon to boost their popularity and/or ease their guilt as stomach-churning as those in the council estates you speak of.

      But then, really thinking of it, should anyone feel that way? If the idea is a day of buying nothing to hopefully make a modest difference, what does it matter how much money you have? Presumably, the more you have, the more you buy; isn’t buying nothing when you’re used to buying more than the average person more significant? Comparable to, let’s say, giving your house to the homeless.

      Regardless, I don’t agree that you have to be relatively affluent to care (the obvious question: affluent by whose standards?). In fact, I wonder if the opposite is not more true: if you never had much disposable income to begin with, there’s a good chance that you consider needless, frivolous spending all the more distasteful.

      ‘Life is much more than money buys’… and that is one of David’s views.

      Furthermore, an issue that I hoped would crop up during the course of this discussion is whether or not a Buy Nothing Day is deeply patronising to those who might well have no choice but to buy nothing.

      Thoughts, anyone?

    2. Addendum

      I was not being negative, it is just that I noticed that such things are always mentioned by people who are not in need of anything.

      I give up things every day. Besides, if I did have money, I probably would be just as guilty and spend, spend, spend, which of course, is an absolute waste.

      Having enough money to survive on is, believe it or not, fantastic. Why, well because one works for what they want. When things are bought with hard earned cash, then things are are respected more. I mean, my house is my all because I climbed out of the mire all those years ago and in the ended up being a home owner.

      If I were rich though, I would probably end up giving lots of my money to Unicef.

  19. I have read this blog for the first time on Black Friday. As you have stated, Black Friday is the busiest shopping day of the year here in the US. People make a sport of it, camping overnight at popular stores like Best Buy to be there when it opens. I cannot tell you how that turns me off. For me, shopping is a means to procure what you need. It is not, and should not be, a pastime in itself. Thus, I have never ever done any shopping on Black Friday.

    I did make a purchase today, though. I went on a long walk, and despite the cold and wind, I got thirsty. That’s when I realized I forgot to bring water with me. So I bought a small bottle of water. Now, I know the environmental damage that bottled water can cause. So that’s why I always re-use such bottles. I use them to bring water to my classrooms from elsewhere in the buildings where I teach. And, though I did not do so today, I usually fill them with tap water and bring that on my walks.

    As a teacher I don’t make a lot of money. So I don’t buy as much as most other people in America. Consumerism benefits the wealthy at the peril of everyone else, so I don’t mind living a modest life. And I really don’t miss the products that most people think they cannot live without.

    1. One more thing. I teach by example. So I’m always careful to make it clear to my students that I am re-using my water bottles and that they are filled with tap water. If possible, I let them see me re-fill the bottle.

  20. And here (France), November 28th is Food Bank Day (I mean, Journée de la banque alimentaire), the same day as Buy Nothing Day. Isn’t it completely stupid?

    What to do? Shakespearean dilemma…

    Of course not. I will ignore Buy Nothing Day and buy a lot of unperishable foodstuffs for the food bank. And nothing else. It’s OK? 😉

  21. i’m celebrating by not buying anything, turning my cell phone off, writing a blog article, and cutting my own hair. 🙂

  22. Dear F.Ed.,

    November 28 – in Italy today we celebrate the National Food Collection Day:

    In over than 7,600 supermarkets more than 100 thousand volunteers invite the people to donate non-perishable food to be distributed to approximately 1.3 million poors . “Sharing needs to share the meaning of life.” I think that it could be an alternative way to celebrate Buy Nothing Day, that is such form of strike of the consumerism we sometimes should truly practise in every season of the year…

    I wish everyone a nice week end,
    bye ciao Elisabetta

  23. Re: Buy Nothing Day…

    It does make a jot of difference. As a church minister in this North American culture filled with affluenza, personal actions to not but into the consumer culture has a profound personal affect upon those around us, or so I hope!

    Yet as I write this after having just watched Live from Gdansk on TV, thousands of cars are going by my house on the way to the shopping mall!

  24. If enough people who were going to buy anything on Buy Nothing Day decide to go along with this, then Monday will turn into Black Friday – The Sequel. 😀 😛

  25. Re: Gary McKinnon.

    I have never understood why the death penalty is appropriate. How does killing a criminal atone for the crime? Is all it means is that someone is killed. And if every life is sacred (it is, of course), doesn’t that mean EVERY life is sacred — even the life of one who is accused of a crime?

    I’m a member of a group called New Yorkers for Alternatives to the Death Penalty. It is led by the brother of Ted Kaczynski (aka The Unabomber) who was spared the death penalty. Death penalty does not solve any problem or deter crime. It merely pretends to do so by killing a person.

    I hope Gary McKinnon is spared. His death at the hands of an executioner would not reverse his crime.

    1. Dan,

      Life is sacred is a human religious concept and bares nothing to reality. It never ceases to amaze me how self important we humans think of ourselves. Does a tree think humans are sacred? Does a lion eating a human being think, Gee, life is sacred? Does a blade of grass think we are sacred? Nope… it just hopes that we don’t tread on it.

      If someone rapes and kills my wife, will I think that life is sacred and the perpetrator should be imprisoned with food… TV to watch and a life to live while she is dead? NOT on your life. I would be more than willing to pull the trigger myself. If the criminal doesn’t feel that life is sacred why should we feel his is?

      The brother of Ted has a vested interest in keeping Ted alive… why, I have no idea. If it was my brother I would have said he got it coming.

      The death penalty has nothing to do with solving a problem nor deterring crime. It has everything to do with giving family and friends of the victim deserved closure on a horrible, horrible crime.

      Cheers, Howard

    2. So, you would kill Gary McKinnon to bring closure to the families of his victims.

      If I am not mistaken, his crime was hacking into American military computer systems. He is accused of gaining access to information about aliens from other planets.

      Whose closure would be brought about via his execution? And how would his execution change what he did?

      And did you know that he has Asperger’s syndrome, which is a Spectrum disorder. His crime is associated with his disability. Does it matter to you that the death penalty would effectively be killing him for having a genetic disorder for which he did not ask, over which he has no control?

      The death penalty is not fairly applied. You are far more likely to be executed in Texas than in Vermont. In the past twenty years, hundreds of inmates have been put to death in Texas and not even one in Vermont. Do the families of crimes committed in Texas deserve (or require) more closure than their counterparts in Vermont?

      Every life is sacred. Killing in the wild is a natural and just part of survival. Murdering people who may or may not have committed a horrible crime, in the wrong state, is neither natural or moral. And I am not a religious zealot. I am a thinking person with an opinion.

      My opinion is that a life in Texas is worth as much as a life in Vermont. And yes, both lives are sacred.

    3. If someone rapes and kills my wife, will I think that life is sacred and the perpetrator should be imprisoned with food… TV to watch and a life to live while she is dead? NOT on your life. I would be more than willing to pull the trigger myself.

      Howard, I think I would feel the same way, in all honesty. I don’t think I could actually pull the trigger, and hope I would be able to put the anger and rage to one side to think about what made this person do such a terrible thing and to try to understand him or her, but I have no problem understanding those who want a front row seat to an execution when their loved one has been stolen from them. As has been said elsewhere, lethal injection seems a far more relaxed and dignified way to end one’s life than the kind of horrors that we hear have been inflicted on innocent victims.

      I’m constantly impressed by those that don’t feel this way, though. For example, I read this yesterday.

    4. Dan,

      Gary’s prosecutors are not seeking the death penalty for this.

      A US federal grand jury in Virginia indicts him on seven counts of computer-related crimes in 14 states, each count carrying a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.

      I just hope that your life is sacred belief is never tested by a murder or rape of one of your loved ones. Could you honestly sit by and be OK with that if it happened?

      Cheers, Howard

    5. lethal injection seems a far more relaxed and dignified way to end one’s life than…

      “relaxed”? “dignified”? Je respecte l’opinion de chacun, mais, même pris dans leur contexte, je trouve ces mots choquants quand on parle de la mort programmée de quelqu’un, quel qu’il soit et quel qu’en soit le motif.

    6. I have talked with my wife about this. If something horrible happens to either of us at the hands of a criminal, we will not seek the death penalty against said criminal. It’s not because we are holier than thou, far from it. It’s more because we don’t trust the criminal justice system. How many people on death row have been exonerated via DNA testing and by other means? There is too much bias and not enough good police work.

      And there is more. I’ve taught at a jail and, therefore, I have seen first hand the very dehumanizing treatment that inmates get. That is a just punishment for someone who does violence to myself or a member of my family. Killing someone does not change erase their crime, it would not bring closure to me or my wife, and I disagree with the way we haphazardly apply the death penalty.

      In saying that every life is sacred, I mean to say that a life is worth so much more than we give credit for. There is nothing religious about it, just that I have reverence for other people. Killing them as punishment goes against what I value.

  26. Dear F.Ed,

    I’ve found out this:

    “A features editor ensures that their publication is full of entertaining, informative and newsworthy articles.

    …features editors are also employed by trade magazines, specialist publishers, online media and in-house magazines. The responsibilities of the role can include: generating ideas for features, commissioning work by freelance writers, editing and proofreading, managing writing staff and liaising with artists and photographers. They do not always need specialist knowledge of the subject they cover, unless the content is highly technical, although an interest in the subject
    is usually expected.”

    I think this job description and activities fit perfectly with you.

    Today everywhere on the web and on Italian newspapers too there are many editorials about the 30 years of the issue of “The Wall”.

    Bye/ciao Elisabetta

    1. Thank you very much again, Elisabetta.

      I won’t be writing one, by the way. I’ll leave that to those with more specialist knowledge and interest than I have. 😉

  27. I hate the crowds and who has any money anyway?

    Who wrote/said “We buy things we don’t need with money we don’t have to impress people we don’t like”?

    Sadly, I think this person is not totally wrong…

    PS: Thanks to the blog, I now know what “Keeping up with the Joneses” means, and I learnt on Wikipedia that British people also say “Keeping with up the Beckhams” :)) I love that expression. 😉

    1. PS: Thanks to the blog, I now know what “Keeping up with the Joneses” means, and I learnt on Wikipedia that British people also say “Keeping with up the Beckhams” :)) I love that expression. 😉

      I bet you found it while searching the meaning of “Affluenza”. So, we could learn two nice expressions in the same month: this one and “pet hates”. :))

      Thanks to the Blog (and Wikipedia). 🙂

    2. Oh yes, we learn nice expressions here, and some… others. 😉

      Do you know “Stick that in your pipe and smoke it”?

      I don’t think you’ll find it on Wikipedia, but on The Blog, yes (28 June 2007). :))

    3. Of course the Beckhams now live in L.A. which makes them Joneses now. Confused?? 8|



  28. me, i never bought on sunday, as people buying on sunday will be the end of the day resting at home in france. 🙁

  29. Speaking about disproportions between rich and poor countries, that’s what I read this morning.

    If it’s true, it’s a shame. Sadly, I don’t find it so hard to believe it. :/

  30. Very thoughtful post, FEd. I printed it so that I could re-read it later. There’s a lot of good information in it.

    I’ve spent most of my life just trying to stay even, so shopping isn’t a hobby. It isn’t really an interest, either. I usually just buy necessities. Actually, when I go shopping with others, I usually find a quiet, out-of-the-way place to sit and people-watch. It’s a lot more fun.

    The No Buy Day sounds like a good idea to me. It should bring the problem to light and let people see it. Most of us aren’t really conscious of our buying habits, I think. We just do the same things we’ve always done. Really seeing what we do could be the first step toward change. For instance, we make a lot of noise about recycling, but when you get right down to it, most people recycle their plastic bottles, but little else. You won’t see them buying used furniture, used cars, used clothes, etc. Of course, on the other hand, we have people depending on us to buy in order for them to keep their jobs. It’s a bit of a double-edged sword, isn’t it? Where would you draw the line?

    I just get what I need, because I learned a long time ago that the less you own, the lighter you feel. But sometimes, I need that book (I have weeded out over half of my collection, so I have to treat myself once in a while!).

    Re: Gary McKinnon. I admit I haven’t read up on the case, but isn’t he just going for trial? Maybe he will be found innocent.

  31. Furthermore, an issue that I hoped would crop up during the course of this discussion is whether or not a Buy Nothing Day is deeply patronising to those who might well have no choice but to buy nothing.

    Of course, it certainly sounds patronising to them and quite offensive, too.

    People who live in the rich countries need a Buy Nothing Day to remind them that it’s possible to live without buying, while the rest of the world is dying of starvation.

    And, to limit our point of view to rich countries only, we need a Buy Nothing Day while so many people around us are losing their jobs and going towards a new poverty condition.

    We should wonder how we could reach this point, really.

    It would be something if a certain number of people just thought about these things, thanks to Buy Nothing Day, but my suspicion is that an initiative such as this works only with those who wouldn’t need it.

    1. When is Take All Your Money Out Of the Bank and Show Them Who’s Boss Day, I wonder.

      There should be a concerted effort to encourage people to switch their money to an ethical bank, at least, particularly if they currently bank with one that’s caused such financial chaos and needed to be bailed out by taxpayers, or to downgrade to a basic account and stop paying for things that aren’t needed (such as breakdown cover, mobile phone insurance, etc.).

      Is there any wonder that free banking is now at risk when the banks can see that people, some without even realising it, are willing to pay for things they don’t need and probably don’t use?

    2. I’m not so experienced about economy and banking, but it seems to me that until the people will stop giving their money for useless things and become aware of the power they could have if they would, nothing will change.

      If you go on giving money without asking yourself why, someone will go on keeping them.

      As always, information could help raising awareness, but I wonder if some people really have the will to be informed, after all.

      It’s sad, but sometimes it seems to me what they actually want is to stay in front of the TV, watching reality shows.

  32. First, I fully realize that David nor DG Management write the topics for the blog.

    Now, consider this. It is just about a year ago that we were right here talking about the release of Gdansk. This was not just a single release but we were bombarded with 5 different versions. Was that a bit over the top? Certainly there were options for various price points but wouldn’t two version have been sufficient? One basic release and then a deluxe version. Did we really need all those options? Spare me the carbon neutral discussions. That does not justify the marketing excess. What else can you call that many versions of Gdansk?

    Personally, I am a huge fan of David and his work but to this day I still don’t have a copy of Gdansk in my library and not cause I don’t want one. I’m just not ready to part with the money for the one I want. And honestly, life goes on and I’m really not missing it either. Someday I’ll get it and enjoy it I’m sure. But how many on this blog had to run out and buy it on the day it was released?? And how many purchased every version released?? For what??

    Consumers may be guilty for wanting to keep up but corporations are just as much to blame. You already own every recording by PF, now they remaster it and you go out and buy it all over again. Most people won’t hear the difference anyway.

    Companies are always coming out with product that is suppose to be better but is it really? Was there really something wrong with the older version? An example:

    I have a wonderful LG cell phone. I got it about 4 years ago. It is one of the best phones they ever made. At the time I asked Verizon what phone they have the least issues with and this was it. Fact is though they discontinued that model. You can no longer get the phone and it has been replaced with sub-par product. So why couldn’t LG continue producing that phone? Maybe because they realized that if you provide consumers with outstanding product there won’t be a need for future sales.

    Cell phones certainly do wear out but do we need to “upgrade” our phones every two years? What a croc.

    Here is another great example. I recently read about a guy who fixes up old computers and then ships them to Africa for educational purposes in the schools. He started doing this because a few years ago while walking in NY he saw a computer at the curb. He took it home, plugged it in and everything worked fine. There was nothing wrong with it, yet the prior owner just threw it out. Probably cause they got a brand new and improved model.

    Do we really need to buy a new computer annually? Probably not. Will computer manufacturers still market new computers to you annually? Definitely and they will also try to convince you that unless you buy a new computer, you will be left behind and you will be inferior to your neighbors.

    Years and years ago when your TV would break you would take to get repaired. Now you throw it out and buy a new one. Same thing with shoes.



    1. Years and years ago when your TV would break you would take to get repaired. Now you throw it out and buy a new one. Same thing with shoes.

      That’s true and, if you think about it, this absurd behaviour works against us consumers two times, at least.

      The first time, because we have to buy and pay again for something that, often, could be repaired with less money. The second time, because if we had the need to repair things, we would pay someone for doing it and that would certainly help reducing unemployment.

    2. Alessandra,

      So true. And when you think of the state of the economy (at least in the U.S.) it is that kind of thinking that creates part of the problem. I can’t tell you how many shopping areas in small towns have multiple vacant small shops. Small shops that can’t compete with internet shopping and big box stores. And many of these used to be your trade shops as well such as TV repair and shoemakers.

      Now if you want to fix your shoes you have to drive further to find someone who can. And if you want to buy new shoes you have to drive further as well to get to a store that sells them.

      As you can see this behaviour not only impacts the economy and community, it impacts the environment as well.



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