Buy Nothing Day 2016

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

Buy Nothing DayOn Friday, November 25, 2016, the day the American's trend to call “Black Friday” and which we have, it would appear, begun to do so as well, we are celebrating – for lack of a better word – Buy Nothing Day, a 24 hour moratorium on consumer spending. So, instead of running people down and wrestling them to the ground to get to this or that bargain participate by not participating.

That is not to say that you should not, if need to, go out and buy essentials for life, as in food, drink and such. But do not stand in line for hours to then storm the store and battle with others for bargains that, more likely, are not bargains at all and which you may actually not need.

The problem is that we – all too often – misinterpret wants for needs and that what we then buy does not satisfy our wants either, let alone our needs.

Sometimes I think we should just cut ourselves off from this consumerism madness and really look at our needs learn to understand the difference between needs and wants.

There is nothing wrong with wanting to treat oneself to something one desires, from time to time, but it should then, ideally, if it is not something edible, obviously, be something that last for years to come and not something that breaks within a year or less even and then has to be replaced because it cannot be repaired or where repair is more expensive than buying new, as is often the case nowadays.

Do you really need an addition or ten to your wardrobe? A new cellphone, or another new gadget, often replacing one that you already have got and that still works perfectly well? Those are the questions to ask before venturing out to the stores. The next question is, if it is something else rather than electronic, is to whether there might be a chance that you could make it yourself, from “waste” materials even.

Reuse, repurpose, repair, rework, and so on, often makes it possible to get exactly what I want rather than trying to find it and then still not being able to get what I specifically want. One such points in hand was the case when I wanted a neck holster for my trusted Opinel No.6. There is no such thing to be had, I found, so, well, a piece of leather from an old bag that one was destined for the landfill and which I rescued, a rivet, and less than half an hour and there you are (see picture below).

Need, or want, some glass storage jars, preferably eco-friendly? Well, look no further than the glass jars in which you buy this or that product in the shops, be it pickled gherkins, pickled onions, or such. No, they don't go into the glass recycling bin; they get cleaned up and reused as storage jars. Cost nothing and work as well as the “recycled glass storage jars” in the shops for £16 for two or such.

There are other cases when I look at something that I might like to get and think: “Hey, I could make that as easy myself for a very small fraction of the price and less than an hour (OK, at times may be a little longer than that) of my time” and then I set about doing just that. The result then is exactly what I want to exactly my specifications and often at very little cost. The reward not only of having the particular thing but of being able to say “I made that myself”, is greater than anything.

© 2016