Buy Nothing Day 2005 - Leeds, Birmingham, Southampton, Bristol, Glasgow, Oxford, Manchester, London

Brum buy nothing day shit

Saturday November 26th 2005 was Buy Nothing Day (UK), the self proclaimed festival of frugal living and culture jammers jamboree. A day to expose the environmental and ethical consequences of consumerism, where developed countries (only 20% of the world population) are consuming over 80% of the earth's natural resources, causing a disproportionate level of environmental damage and unfair distribution of wealth.

http://www.buynothingday.co.uk/

A wide range of activities happened over the country.

A number of events ook place in Leeds city centre on Saturday to celebrate Buy Nothing Day:

Activists braved the commercial nightmare of Leeds city centre on Saturday to encourage consumers to think about why they were spending and to think about alternatives.

Free vegan burgers were handed out outside MacDonalds on Boar Lane, to the consternation of the "restaurant" deputy manager but to the joy of all passers-by. The stall was a huge success and all the burgers were all gone in half an hour.

Elsewhere, a mobile Free Shop was set up outside Harvey Nichols, and later in the afternoon a imprtomptu party featuring mosh-pit reclaimed HMV, albeit briefly.
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Brum buy nothing day bull

A free shop and the Food Not Bombs stall were set up outside the Virgin Megastore, on the border of the Bullring Complex, Birmingham. The Free Shop was stocked with a selection of clothing, toys, games and Food Not Bombs served free curry, fruit and vegan cakes.

In conjunction with the Free Shop and Food Not Bombs, a day of mischief had been planned by a small collective in the weeks leading to Buy Nothing Day, and began with our non-shoppers paying a visit to Nike Town, craftily sticker-ing. Inspired by a window-shop mannequin which was wearing 6 hoodies simultaneously, we endeavoured to establish just how much of the Nike range one could wear simultaneously. Seemingly all of it! Staff were honest enough to not recommend the purchase of such an outfit, despite rumours that the ‘ski-on-top cyclist-on-the-bottom all-weather-footballer’ look was very much the ‘in’ style this winter.

Round the corner, at Birmingham’s favourite photo spot – The Bull – that proudly stands outside the Bullring, was momentarily overshadowed, as a more popular family photo opportunity emerged: the giant accumulation of 100% genuine Corporate Bull™shit that had so gracelessly tumbled from the bovine anus. Children flocked to have their picture taken with it. Grinning parents nodded in agreement with the ‘Corporate Bullshit’ slogan which labelled it.

As many of us know, the Winona-Ryder-celebrity-shoplifter-chic is old news among UK consumers, and this season shop-dropping is the new black. Rather than stealing the detritus that these corporations have for sale, we instead strive to give back all the rubbish they’ve been selling people over the years. Dubbed ‘product placement’, we strive to subvert the window-shops of our favourite chains-stores with a more honest approach to marketing. Rather than marketing useless tat as a must-have accessory, we let the product speak for itself: looks like crap - is crap. It’s lack of practical usage its key selling point.

To prove this point, we proceeded to try and buy this rubbish back from the sales assistants, hoping that they would not notice the difference between our rubbish, and their rubbish that already littered the window-shops. One such product-line that we added to their stock was a few pairs of battered 60’s wooden shoes, complete with retractable wheels, that were sadly un-claimed from the Free Shop. A primitive pair of skates, ‘roller-clogs’, if you will. A member of staff – as predicted - so used to his employers selling utter junk, that he took a pair round the back, to check if they had another pair in our size. Alas, they returned empty handed.

“An introduction to Radical Rambling� then took place outside Waterstones, where non-shoppers were talked through the process of regaining the Public Right of Way that used to (or may still, we await the data…) beneath the Bullring, as well as other Rights of Way that are under threat elsewhere in Birmingham. We were also briefed with the rules relating to behaviour in the Bullring, and the positive impact reversing a stopping order on the Right of Way could have on this.

One of the objectives of the day was to take back space that had been entirely neutralised, and put it to a different use, or give it a different aesthetic. In keeping with this idea, the Topshop mannequins were treated to quick make-over of rubbish, including some banana neckwear, and a kid’s stethoscope. Taking this idea a step further, we endeavoured to practice some Corporate Feng-Shui, where we could take items from one part of the store and move them to another - where they weren’t intended - but would create a more desirable aesthetic for the potential consumer. It was thus decided that we would decorate the House of Fraser home section into our own living room, fit for a Christmas party. Decorations and tinsel were taken from the floor above, the stereo was plugged in, party hats were distributed and cakes, drinks and jelly were consumed. It was a delightful festive gathering.

Eventually thrown out, we reached the end of what was (in my opinion) a successful, albeit small-scaled, day of action.
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A chosen busy shopping route was proclaimed a free space for picnic-fun in the heart of Southampton 4 'Buy Nothing Day'.

Many people ‘slipped on’ to ‘buy nothing fun mode’ after getting inquisitive at seeing the street party of free fairtrade fun gathering in front of them.

In what became a meeting of minds (older and younger), fun and friendship (old and new) broke out when a picnic (fairtrade-(d) and fun) commenced in the busy shopping-route lanes of Southampton, UK. This picnic (Saturday 26/11/05), marked the necessity to better enable ourselves to meet in 'buynothing areas' at such a time as this.

'Glitter-free' our picnic of free fairtrade coffee, bananas and con(less)versation occurred with older and younger people meeting to chat and put down their ideas on bananas (we also inadvertantly & creatively resisted the 2 large star$ cafe's that oppose small fairtraders 4 monopoly$, in the process).

Later the banana decorated skins were used to make a smiley face, by the collaborating artists who had attended the ‘buy nothing’ picnic’, in further high-quality collaborative fun.

Inspired by the sharing of ideas and thoughts about how to make it happen a brief planning sess was held of three, in a new friends' home.
Creative input, the decision of no 'protest type slogans', and with a desire also for transforming resistance we (initially three) decided to go for it.

The idea:
For 'buynothing day', an embracing all picnic, in a public shopping area (in central Southampton) with fairtrade banana-art, fair trade-coffee, nibbles and safe FREE FUN for all in a fairly exchanged, FREE safe SPACE (where we buy (a doing word) nothing (not sure what this is).

The contribution of many who participated in the banana art was refreshing, the beginnings of authentic friendship building was the fun whilst the con(less)versation meant there was openness about how little there was to do without spending and how tiresome it could be to shop shop. Some liked being with us. Yes, people who may have passed each other in the street ordinarily stopped to see what was happening, where no money was needed and would have not been accepted anyway.

Some came and joined in after a welcome, others walked on. They spoke with us about favourite music, being moved on for amusing themselves on their skateboards and I appreciated the privelage of their openness. Despite the coldness (weather) the time was friendly. It was a delight to meet people and I liked these exchanges and met some really cool people. The banana artists enjoyed the activity and some compassion was displayed in their art, (see pictures below).

Post Script: If you were there and want to put in your own reflection on the event, please do –
Proposed questions for your reflection:

What was good about it?
What would you change?,
What does it give you that you take away with you?
Would you do it again?

southampton BND

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in Bristol People met up and gave away books, clothes, tea, food and information, Bristol IMC also held a related film night.

Carols were sung -
The Twelve Days of Christmas

On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me
A gift from a sweatshop overseas.

On the second day of Christmas
Toys made by kids
and a gift from a sweatshop overseas....

12 Billions without water
11 Unfed nations
10 Na-tions invaded
9 Bombs falling from planes
8 Evil multinationals
7 workers without unions
6 Cancer causing fumes
RAM-PANT-COR-PORATE GREED
4 four by fours
Third world debt
Toys made by kids
And a gift from a sweat shop overseas.

The other christmas carols we sang (and a whole load more) can be found at http://ainfos.ca/03/dec/ainfos00410.html

Film of day's events at http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2005/11/328594.html
Photos at http://bristol.indymedia.org/newswire.php?story_id=24452
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Glasgow buy nothing day 1
Glasgow buy nothing day 2

On Saturday November 26th GOMAD are organising a day of events in Glasgow for Buy Nothing Day : the annual moratorium on consumer spending. Let's question the doomsday economy, the marketing mind-games, and the frantic consumer-binge that's become our culture and have fun for free instead!

On Saturday November 26th GOMAD (Glasgow Ontological Manoeuvres And Dissemination) are organising a day of events in Glasgow for Buy Nothing Day : the annual moratorium on consumer spending. Let's question the doomsday economy [too strong? - replace "doomsday economy" with "enviromental destruction"??], the marketing mind-games, and the frantic consumer-binge that's become our culture and have fun for free instead!

On this day, people all around the UK will be gathering to promote a day off from shopping and spending to reflect on our consumerist habits. A day to think about 20% of the world∂s population consuming 80% of the earth's natural resources. A day to think of the £1.1 trillion in debt owed in the UK alone. This is also a time to realise that as consumers of developed countries we not only have freedoms, we also have responsibilities.

Such responsibilities do not mean giving up our current lifestyle, they simply mean adjusting a bit. For more information come to the stall at St Enoch Square from 11am on Saturday Nov 26th. There will be a swap-shop where you can exchange goods or services without using money. There will also be - among other things - a few over-shopped zombies carrying big boxes and carry bags, doctors diagnosing various cases of consumption and offering remedies, a boom box disguised as a rubbish bin, and much more.

For more information contact Robert Wilson on 07759-030554
Glasgow: www.buynothingday.glasgowreshape.org.uk
International: adbusters.org/metas/eco/bnd
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Background Notes

(1) Buy Nothing Day (November 26th 2005 UK), is a simple idea, which challenges consumer culture by asking us to switch off from shopping for a day. Its a global stand off from consumerism - celebrated as a holiday by some and street party for others! Anyone can take part provided they spend a day without spending! It started in 1993 by the founders of Adbusters (www.adbusters.org) and is now an international event celebrated in over 55 countries.As consumers, we should question the products we buy and the companies who produce them. The idea is to make people stop and think about what and how much they buy.

and on the day -
A detachment of the Clandestine Insurgent Rebel Clown Army took to the streets and shopping areas of Glasgow on Saturday. Dressed as Doctors, and sporting stethoscopes and CD’s stuck to their foreheads, they went along two of the main shopping streets carrying large white Boxes of Nothing, urging passers by to ‘Buy one get one free’ - ‘Special Offer - absolutely nothing at all’ and ‘For one day only - absolutely nothing’
The smiles of many people as they passed down the streets were worth a thousand words - some were bemused, others just smiled as the made-up Retail Therapists continually dropped their Nothing Boxes - or formed queues to pass the boxes over road crossings.
With much mirth and jollity the Retail Therapists played their way down to St Enochs Square - where they cajoled people to come over to the Swap Shop which had been set up by members of the SAORSA G42 collective. The Swap Shop was busy with people - especially children - exchanging key-rings for books - sunglasses for light bulbs - indeterminate objects for clothes - while the Retail Therapists urged the crowd to ‘Take the stress out of Christmas shopping, don’t do it - at least for today Buy Nothing Day’

Those taking a break from were given the once over by the Retail Therapists. In what one Doctor called ‘Operation Operation’ - at ease shoppers were inspected with play stethoscopes, ear trumpets and so on, and in severe cases were diagnosed as suffering from Extreme Consumption. They were ordered to take the rest of the day off and get some quality time in bed.
While a couple of Therapists went into the nearby GAP shop and urged people to tell people they did not have to make those purchases to be happy, others attempted (unsuccessfully) to put big Boxes of Nothing into the GAP window. One Therapist taped a computer game handset to a nearby Police Information bow and urged people to com and have a free game. While kids took turns to zap the Police box - buttons were pushed to change the screen displays of maps and lovely police infos- better than sitting at home alone doing much the same thing. Eventually the Retail Therapists disappeared into the now darkening streets, still passing empty boxes one to the other, and still urging passers by to find something better to do than shopping with their free time.

Laugh and Peace

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Around 20 students from Oxford University and Oxford Brookes participated in anti-consumerism action across the town centre today. A "shopping free zone" was set up on Cornmarket Street with free busking, free card craft, and leaflets about excessive shopping and its unsustainable nature, including damaging effects on the environment. Anti-consumerist placards were then placed in prominent positions around town, e.g. cashpoints, in the Westgate and Clarendon centres, to make people think about the consequences of their purchases.

Mock-worship of corporations was also carried out, including KFC, Starbucks, MacDonalds, Debenhams. This was hilariously fun... and resulted in a lot of people passing by being more interested in the issues involved. e.g. "what the hell are you guys doing?", "well, you see...." etc.

www.enough.org.uk

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Manchester's Saturday club declare november-december anti-overconsumption month!!!

Saturday 26th November (Buy Nothing Day) noon at The Basement, 24 Lever St M1: ADVERTS AND THEIR ENEMIES: a day devoted to the art of subvertising with workshops and discussion and practical tips.

Fri 2nd December from 7pm at The Basement, 24 Lever St M1: GET CLUED UP BOUT CONSUMERISM: an evening of films, workshops and speakers about consumerism and over consumption..
with music, chitchat and cheap but delicious food. A fun evening not only to get clued up but to get involved with everything else going on.

Friday 9th December at 6pm at The Basement 24 lever st M1: GRAN ACTION CHRISTMAS TEA DANCE: tea and scones, dancing and christmas (anti) shopping trip. Grans of all ages welcome as long as you're dressed as a granny. See http://media.beyondtv.org/movies/granactionfull.mpg
for what to expect

Saturday 10th December noon: YOU CAN'T BUY BEAUTY: A day of street theatre and mischief around the city centre targeting the beauty industry. With 'makeovers', fashion show and real beauty tips.

Sunday 11th December 2pm starting from The Basement, 24 Lever St M1: BIKE TREASURE HUNT: A fun free bike race around the city. A way to have fun without harming the environment or your wallet.

Saturday 17th December: FREE MARKET in Manchester city centre

All events are FREE! and open to everybody
to get involved please email dosummat@shortcutz.org.uk or just come along!
See the flyer here:
http://dosummat.org.uk/overcomsumeflyer.jpg

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London CIRCA Buy Nothing Day

The London Gaggle of the Clandestine Insurgent Rebel Clown Army (CIRCA) celebrated Buy Nothing Day on Saturday November 26th by not shopping in the shops, stores, cafes and malls around Oxford Circus.

Oops! What a bunch of silly clowns we were! We would forget our noses if they weren't screwed on. In fact, on Buy Nothing Day we actually forgot our own clown face paint! Fancy that! The embaressment! Whoa! So we decided our first port of call for the day would be the John Lewis mega store where there were many many (many many) many many people shopping.

My little clown heart goes out to how generous the John Lewis company is in when it comes time to celebrate Buy Nothing Day. The Oxford Street store celebrated by actually giving away free make-up to clowns! How great is that? They had a special place for clowns to get prepared at a stall with "make up testers" written above it.

There were many fabulous colours to choose from. Mostly, we choose white and red. We did really go a little bit overboard away I'm afraid and the lovely men from the Security Gaggle came up and told us "Hey, be nice clowns. Let some of the others have a turn on the make-up, you'll have to leave now". How right they were. It was Buy Nothing Day after all and we wouldn't want to be little clown piggies. Besides, our faces were almost completely white and we had stars and rainbows and pretty spirals so we said "Okay Security Gaggle, we'll go now and make room for others to also Buy Nothing".

Even leaving a shop like John Lewis can be a great fun game. Here's how you play: When the man in the security gaggle says "You'll all have to leave now" the fun comes when we clowns all call out to the other people in the store and say "You'll all have to leave now!" That game I'm sure could provide hours of fun and liven up even the most boring day out shopping. Try it.

As we were leaving, it occurred to us that some people in the store didn't actually know it was Buy Nothing Day, so on our way out we told them and encouraged each of them to celebrate it in their own special way.

Then....

Next we decided to break up into small groups - gaggles of two clowns and go and see which stores we could have the most fun in. Major Red Alert and I, being very vain clowns (we're vain because we're beautiful) decided to touch up our make up and make ourselves even more fabulous. So our next venue for celebrating Buy Nothing Day was, of course, the Boots Pharmacy. What a great bunch of people the management of Boots are.

Perhaps inspired by their John Lewis brothers and sisters, Boots also had decided to give away free make-up to clowns on Buy Nothing Day! Once Major Red Alert and I had our finishing touches in place (and the nice security men asking us to leave because I think they wanted a turn on the make-up themselves), we left and rejoined the rest of our gaggle. All together again, and beautiful, we swapped stories and tried to decide where to buy nothing next.

Group Hug!

The next place we bought nothing was in the fantastic coffee shop known as "Starbucks Coffee." There were many many friendly folk in there. They were so friendly we decided to play lots of games with them and even had a fantastic clown Group Hug! Oh What fun it was!

Pssst! Don't tell your mummies about this, but you can make a rude joke in Starbucks by colouring out some of the letters on the cups. I showed everyone in the store this trick. Take a look at how clever it is:

(pics at http://paganarchy.net/blogs/sean.php/2005/12/01/buy_nothing_day show "Starbucks Coffee" morph into "Fuck Off")

That's so clever! I wish I had thought of it!

Okay my friends, that's the end of Part I. Stay tuned over the next few days to read more about how on Buy Nothing Day our clown gaggle put a final end to global long-term over-consumption. You'll be glad you did!