Buy Nothing Day

No purchase necessary.  Spend a day without spending.  Click here for November 27 Buy Nothing Day events and shenanigans in North America.

And here for 28 November Buy Nothing Day in the UK.


Buy Nothing Day (BND) is an international day of protest against consumerism observed by social activists. It was founded by Vancouver artist Ted Dave in September 1992 “as a day for society to examine the issue of over-consumption” and subsequently promoted by Adbusters magazine, based in Canada.

In 1997, it was moved to the Friday after American Thanksgiving, also called “Black Friday”, which is one of the 10 busiest shopping days in the United States. Outside North America and Israel, Buy Nothing Day is the following Saturday. Participation now includes more than 65 nations.


Various gatherings, shenanigans, and forms of protest have been used on Buy Nothing Day to draw attention to the issue of over-consumption:

  • Credit card cut up: Participants stand in a shopping mall, shopping center, or store with a pair of scissors and a poster that advertises help for people who want to put an end to mounting debt and extortionate interest rates with one simple cut.
  • Free, non-commercial street parties
  • Sit-ins
  • Zombie Walk: Participant ‘zombies’ wander around shopping malls or other consumer havens with a blank stare and marvel at the expressionless faces of the shoppers (their fellow zombies). When asked what they are doing participants describe Buy Nothing Day and explain its foundational principles.
  • Whirl-mart: Participants silently steer their shopping carts around a shopping mall or store in a long, baffling conga line without putting anything in the carts or actually making any purchases.
  • Public protests
  • Wildcat General Strike: A strategy used for the 2009 Buy Nothing Day where participants not only do not buy anything for twenty-four hours but also keep their lights, televisions, computers and other non-essential appliances turned off, their cars parked, and their phones turned off or unplugged from sunrise to sunset.
  • Buy Nothing Day hike: Rather than celebrating consumerism by shopping, participants celebrate the earth and nature.
  • Buy Nothing Critical Mass: As the monthly Critical Mass bike ride often falls on this day or near, rides in some cities acknowledge and celebrate Buy Nothing Day.

Tomorrow is Buy Nothing Day in the UK.  Steve and I plan to hang out with our friend John from Ohio by way of Norfolk who is coming for our Thanksgiving meal AND cook turkey and all the trimmings AND eat and celebrate with our dinner guests.


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