Saturday November 29th 2008 is Buy Nothing Day, It’s a day where you challenge yourself to switch off from shopping and tune into life.
simple, for 24 hours you will detox from consumerism and live without shopping. Anyone can take part provided they spend a day without spending!
Buy Nothing Day is the biggest 24-hour moratorium against consumerism. People around the world will make a pact to take a break from shopping as a personal experiment or public statement and the best thing is – IT’S FREE!!!
Your event can be anything from staying at home with a good book to organising a free concert. If this is your first time its best to set your sights on something easy. Ask friends to help – groups spring up just for Buy Nothing Day, so keep checking the BND Blog.
Planning your event is key to its success. Hold a few meetings with friends before the day. Ask friends to take on responsibilities i.e. making posters leaflets and banners – costumes (if needed) and get someone to deal with the publicity and press etc. Let the press and local radio know what you are doing – customise the BND PRESS RELEASE to suite your event.
Make sure your event can take place at your chosen location and isn’t on private property – its pointless working hard at organising and publicising an event only to find you’re asked to leave after 10 minutes.
On the day – check everyone has your contact details. Pack some coloured marker pens – biros – paper – blunt ended scissors – sticky tape – double sided tape. Balloons for handing out (write Buy Nothing day on them). Make sure you have plenty of leaflets. Take a notepad to get contact details of fellow BNDers. Take lots of pictures with a digital camera or mobile and send them to us. Check the weather and dress for it. Remember to pack something to eat and drink.
The public generally love the idea of Buy Nothing Day and many of the events tried over previous years have been well received. Your event should be fun and engaging. Humour works in a big way – the sillier the better. Why not organise a ZOMBI£ MOB! In our absurd consumer society we are becoming zoned out zombies, shuffling from shop to shop chanting BUY, BUY – BRANDS, BRANDS!
Some will argue that this method of campaigning won’t capture the public’s attention and we’re laughing in the face of the more important issues. However, we’re culture jamming – if people laugh at the ingenuity and genius of Buy Nothing Day then we’ve got their attention – we’re opening the door to the important issues.
… And don’t forget!
Your event shouldn’t hinder people going about their daily business – blockading doors or silly stunts don’t work – many people don’t have a choice about participating in a consumer society. Ultimately, shoppers won’t listen if you treat them like the enemy.
Below are some ideas, which have worked in the past…
Buy Nothing Day Santa Parade Organisation Guide
You need:
Santa Suits, beards etc (ours were £4 each)
Placards (waterproofed, just in case!)
Leaflets explaining what it’s all about (we distributed 500 to enthusiastic shoppers in about 25 minutes!)
Some friends (or not, even a lone santa with a placard attracts attention)
Some ideas of things to do on the day:
Stand in a bus queue – seven Santa’s waiting for the bus certainly attracts attention. Surround friendly shoppers in a circle of Santa’s – works well with young children! Have a Santa Conga – walking in a line is much more eye catching than a huddle. Dance, smile, be happy, go “ho ho ho”!
Advice: Try get some press – you’ll look excellent. Local TV and papers may be interested. Local radio also has a lot of time to fill. Go for a real culture jamming approach – make people think by being wierd and interesting. Keep fluffy, and make people want to join in.
Be nice to shoppers, after all, you shop too.
Don’t bother with private land – it would be great to wander through a shopping centre, but being turfed out by security could be bad for Santa’s fun image – and that means shoppers don’t want to listen to the BND message.
Report from a previous parade: A Santa Parade, exorting people to “Buy More, Be Happy” and “Work! Spend! Don’t think!” took to the streets today in Birmingham to celebrate “Buy Nothing Day”.
Visiting the new “Bullring” shopping centre, and the packed pedestrianised shopping streets of Brum, the parade got an excellent response from the public. “Buy Nothing Day, that’s a good idea” and “Well done Santa!” were just two of the positive comments we received from passers by.
Seven Santa’s held placards, including “Money CAN buy you love” and “If it’s Branded, then it must be good”. Parodies of commercial slogans included: “Just Buy it” and “What do you want to buy today?”
Sports engaged in included: Santa’s queueing for the bus; surrounding shoppers in a circle of Santa’s; a Santa Conga; dancing to a busking steel band; standing under the “Happy Christmas Birmingham” lights. We also posed for photos with lots of tourists!
The one downside? People were so interested that our 1000+ leaflets ran out very quickly! (and we only gave them out to those who were interested, unlike the club-flyer people) Certainly one to repeat.
Shopping free zone
Mark out a public area and fill it with people playing games, listening to music and chilling out on sofas or chairs (inflatable furniture is good). Hand out balloons with Buy Nothing Day written on them to the bemused onlookers.
Consumer monster
Join the Consumer Monster Challenge – take to the streets with a video camera and your own activist puppet to spread consumer awareness. Learn how to make your own puppet on the site – Get sewing!
The ZOMBI£ $HOPP£R$ are coming!
Organise a group to dress up as zoned out zombies, shuffling from shop to shop chanting BUY, BUY – BRANDS, BRANDS! Stalk the high street.
Swap shop
Fairly simple idea. Set up a table and ask people to do swaps. Just for fun – leave a set of bugus Porsche keys and see if anyone notices?
Temper Tantrum
Re-live those childhood tantrum moments – except this time you’re all grown up and should know better. Sit on the floor in any shop with a friend and chuck a mental. Shout things like ‘I don’t want anything anymore!’ or ‘You’ve got more shopping than me – that’s not fair you pig!’, anything really – just be a BIG kid.
Banner drop
Slightly more adventurous – you’ll need a big sheet. Paint on a BND slogan like ‘The more you consume the less you live!’ and see if you can get it put up somewhere in your local shopping centre.
Conga time!
Top off BND with a classic conga. Chant, sing songs and get everyone to join in. It’s a great way to end Buy Nothing Day!
Putting an official or un-official BND Poster or Leaflet over a paid for advertisement / billboard is illegal and will get you into trouble.

Posted by email from Iron Man Records (posterous)