After days of heavy shopping during time of yearly holidays across the world such as Christmas for North America and Europe and Diwali/Dusssera for India and other pre-dominantly Hindu religion observing countries, there comes widely heard and publicized campaigns about Buy Nothing Day. What is this battle about? Let’s find out…

According to Wikipedia…

Buy Nothing Day (BND) is an international day of protest against consumerism observed by social activists, it is also one of the busiest shopping days in the entire year. Typically celebrated the Friday after American Thanksgiving in North America and the following day internationally, in 2009 the dates are November 27 and 28 respectively.

BND is an ongoing battle getting fierce every year due to increasing influence of advertising resulting in mindless consumerism among consumers of all age (previously prominent among those had access to a disposable income). All forms of media are vying aggressively for the attention span of their potential consumer base by making adverting and marketing strategies more relevant to the common man. This relevancy translates to a psuedo need that in turns means a “purchase”.

BND fails to understand consumerism at it’s core and also people. Nobody will stop buying things, that are composed to essentials like medicines, food and other domestic requirements. Certain industries will continue to grow or at the very least be steady for posterity. If there’s anything we should be holding placards against then it’s the unaware consumer. These are the bulk of the consuming population that are not aware of their rights as a consumer neither do they know how to judge their decision of buy.

Being able to differentiate between a luxury and a necessity is the first step in educating a consumer. Next comes popularizing the concept of “saving”. Now, “saving” is an elusive term, if we think we “saved up” when we bought that mink coat at a discount sale, think again – discounts often are inflated prices brought down to their original prices giving you an image of a heavy bargain. The real savings is from doing small things like borrowing an item when it can be done so then purchasing a new unit for one time use or holding /buying from second-hand (garage) sales or best of all sharing when you can. These acts are often seen as a sign of miserliness and are termed “not cool” by media moghuls, thus repeating the loop all over again.

In order to break free of this vicious cycle, we need to encourage consumers to start small, mass boycotting on one particular day is not the answer. Fighting against the urge to splurge must be an every day affair, rather difficult when we are pressed for time and seek instant gratification but in purview of the greater good, all is possible.

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