28 Nov 2020

Buy Nothing Day: Company shuts up shop to protest 'Black Friday' sales

6:34 am on 28 November 2020

An international protest against consumerism called "Buy Nothing Day" was observed by some yesterday as a rejection of overconsumption.

A pedestrian wearing a mask because of the novel coronavirus pandemic walks past a shop advertising Black Friday sales on Oxford Street in London on November 26, 2020.

Black Friday deals being advertised in London, UK. The US tradition has been spreading elsewhere, including New Zealand. Photo: DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP

Held on the same day as Black Friday - the day after Thanksgiving in the US which is known as a "shopping holiday" with cheaper deals on goods - the aim of Buy Nothing Day is to urge people to question the consumerism and consumption promoted by Black Friday and other made-up shopping events.

Kristy Lorson, founder of the 30,000 strong Facebook page Zero Waste NZ and company EarthSavvy, closed her company doors as symbolic support for Buy Nothing Day.

"We feel like the whole Black Friday shopping frenzy has got a little out of control. It's something that's crept into New Zealand. Overconsumption is a really big problem, and we wanted to take a stand against that," she said.

The website for EarthSavvy was also disabled yesterday, showing the message "We have closed our doors for Buy Nothing Day" with no products available to buy.

"The reason we do that is because we're concerned about climate change, we're concerned about resource depletion and other environmental issues.

"We are consuming too much as a species, and I think we need to remember we live on a planet of finite resources and just calm down on the shopping a little bit."

Lorson said some people seemed to think climate change was an issue for big business and government, but it was actually connected to decisions we make each day.

She said New Zealand had somehow adopted Black Friday and run with it.

"It's a financial thing I guess; businesses want to push their products and get people to spend, spend, spend.

"We have to be a lot more conscious about what we're buying. Is it a necessary item? What's it made of? Where's it going to end up once we're finished with it?

"It's also the waste at the end of it. In Christmas week, New Zealanders send an extra 50,000 tonnes of waste to landfill, but a lot of people don't consider those things when they go shopping I guess."

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