Yesterday, I wrote about Buy Nothing Day, the eco-celebration that will swallow up Black Friday and spit it back out as one big FREE uncosumerist party (one can dream….). Today, I’ve got four happy and strange reasons why you should celebrate Buy Nothing Day:
1. Because a full house won’t make up for an empty life. One of my favorite advice columns, Salon’s Dear Cary, delves into the psychic pain of a man who has it all — and feels empty. “This life has numbed me into not feeling happiness. I have everything, and instead of being happy, I feel like a glutton,” writes in an advice-seeker who goes by Me, From My Blue Heaven. “It’s like having too much of your favorite ice cream. At some point, it is going to make you sick and you will turn away from another spoonful.”
In his answer, Cary explains why soul searching is tough when you're stuck in stuff. “The consumerist hall of mirrors lacks clearly marked exits. That is by design. You are not supposed to leave. You are supposed to wander endlessly until fully depleted.” So get out of the mall — and celebrate Buy Nothing Day.
2. Because abandoning crap will let new pursuits thrive. That’s what Nick Cernis of Modernerd claims in his post, “The Importance of Abandoning Crap.” (via Lifehacker) In his case, Nick is more concerned with letting go of non-material crap: “Abandoning your dwindling hobby, business, relationship, blog, or other pursuit is tricky.” But he also acknowledges many of his old, not-quite-fully-abandoned hobbies also came with “purchasing the most expensive thingamijig to pursue each new craft.”
So my suggestion is: Don’t buy thingamijigs! Borrow them via Neighborgoods instead — because chances are, someone near you has bought those thingamijigs — and then semi-given up the hobby — thereby freeing them up for your borrowing. If you find your hobby is really something you want to stick with, THEN consider buying the thingimijigs — and possibly save some money by purchasing them pre-loved from your neighbor.
3. Because cheap stuff will break and waste your time and money. In Salon, David Sirota warns against the high cost of low prices. “All of this, of course, comes with serious consequences,” Sirota writes. “Some are obvious — for instance, environmental degradation from excessive waste or larger long-term expenses from repeated replacement purchases. Some are more indirect — such as low wages from the low-price business model. And still others are nearly invisible — say, the deleterious psychological effects of a society trying to keep up with the Joneses.”
And don’t forget more selfish reasons for saying no to cheap stuff. Crap breaks — and will require an annoying time investment on your part to fix or return it. How much is your time worth?
4. Because living well can mean living smaller. In case you missed it, MNN got an interview with Sarah Zoe Wexler, author of “Living Large: From SUVs to Double Ds, Why Going Bigger Isn’t Going Better.” Apparently Wexler ”got a consultation for a breast enlargement, test drove an H3, shopped her way around the Mall of America, and ended up in California amidst the wreckage of our mass consumption: our largest garbage dump” — all in the name of research for her book.
“My book is about reconceptualizing what living well means,” Wexler says. “My argument is that you can live smaller and feel happier and have less of a carbon footprint. That’s kind of the new way to show you’ve made it.”
Have you made it yet?
MNN homepage photo: Walmartmovie/Flickr