Seeing people’s blog posts about Buy Nothing Day was my first exposure to this movement. It seems like a great way to use our privilege as consumers in order to make a stance against corporations. However, coming from a low-income background, I can’t help but to wonder about who Buy Nothing Day is for.

While many can afford to stop making purchases on Black Friday and therefore protest against consumerism, this day in which people are able to buy items at discounted prices are to some a great opportunity to buy necessary things. Low-income families can benefit from this holiday by being able to make more purchases for a lower price.

Buy Nothing Day has good intentions. It aims to change a system in which corporations get all the money and leave little for the rest of the country, resulting in a dramatic difference between the 1% and the rest. Low-income people are obviously greatly affected by this system and would be able to live under better circumstances if this were to change. However, I don’t think that Buy Nothing Day is accessible to everyone and low-income people that decide not to participate should not be shamed for prioritizing their livelihood over politics.

Black Friday shopping mean different things for different folks. For many of us, it’s a game, a sport and an event we mark but for others, it’s a matter of necessity.  This is why I have reservations about Buy Nothing Day.

Perhaps, the majority of us should sincerely adopt Buy Nothing Day and…let those who truly need the “doorbusters” be the first in line – for a change.

-Eugene Cho (


3 responses »

  1. carlywinant says:

    This is a really good point to bring up. People don’t often think about Black Friday having any benefits because it has such a bad reputation of being associated with capitalism. But there are definitely people who benefit from this day and it’s important to acknowledge that.

  2. maddiernelson says:

    I really appreciate that you are bringing this up because I have thought a lot about this myself. I don’t think this means that upper class should not participate in Buy Nothing Day, and I still hope we all as human beings learn to live with less materialism. But if you oppose this holiday, chances are your probably well-off and don’t need much to begin with. These individuals, myself included, need to recognize our privilege and that some communities have far less leeway to oppose the choices capitalism tries to make for us. Much of the American population is burdened with always trying to seek the lowest prices, so we have absolutely no right to judge them for camping out and taking advantage of this holiday.

  3. alicecmullin says:

    I’ve been thinking a lot about this too, and you bring up really good points! I feel like the narrative around Black Friday has become really focused on the frenzy to get good deals and the ridiculousness of the rampant consumerism, but no one really talks about who is actually participating in Black Friday because they might need to financially. I think it’s good to have discussions about Black Friday and its implications, but definitely equally if not more important to realize that for some, Black Friday is totally legitimate.

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