Crowded streets, surly shop assistants and the dreaded pushchair gridlock are just a few of the reasons why Buy Nothing Day might sound deeply appealing. This Saturday, BND organisers suggest you avoid the high street and join the shopping boycott. They want you to shove your cash down the side of your sofa and forget about it for 24 little hours. Sound tempting? Or does the idea of one short day without the clink of passing coins fill you with dread?
According to BND organisers, ‘superbrands’ are having a dramatic impact on the environment and developing countries. They say: “Increasingly large companies use labour in developing countries to produce goods because it’s cheap and there aren’t the systems to protect workers like there are in the west.” Then there’s the unnecessary packaging – the plastic packets and endless raft of polystyrene – which BND say are forced on trapped consumers by supermarkets. And we all know what happens then. Which bin does it go in again?
BND aims to force buyers to question bad habits by resisting temptation for just one day. This, they hope, will kick-start better trends. Instead of trawling the high-street or resorting to the mass chain store yet again, BND are urging retailers to seek out independent local retailers. You know the ones: that butcher with the award-winning pork sausages – or the niche purveyor of stinky cheese.
It isn’t all about ‘do-gooding’ though. Sticking your hands in your pockets and leaving them there might be good for the consumer too. National charity Credit Action say the Citizens Advice Bureau deal with around 8,652 new debt problems every day in the UK and yet the daily value of card spending this November was £1.252 billion. This is maths that doesn’t add up.
Okay, one day nil-by-cash register might not solve third world problems – or clear the national debt – but the BND are hoping to ignite a revolution that lasts longer than throwaway fashion.