I don't know when people starting calling the day after US Thanksgiving "Black Friday," but the expression has become synonymous with over-consumption, empty consumer culture, and the bizarre importance assigned to hunting for bargains.
And what a bargain it is: a multibillion-dollar corporation sells a piece of crappy future landfill at an artificially low price by manufacturing it halfway around the globe with child labour, dumping toxins into the environment, and paying its own customers sub-living wages. In return, consumers agree to see nothing and know nothing except the price sticker. It's a deal that is devouring our planet, and our souls.
Those low, low prices on Black Friday are partly subsidized by Walmart employees, who earn crap wages, can't get full-time work, and are harassed and intimidated when speak up about their working conditions. This year, as in 2013 and 2012, Walmart workers will go on strike to demand change. And you can help them. Here's how.
First: don't shop at Walmart this holiday season.
Second: let Walmart know that you are boycotting their stores because of their unfair labour policies.
And third, if you're in the US: drop by a Walmart on Friday, November 28, to cheer on the strikers.
Even if you don't see a protest at your local Walmart, you can still participate: bring a sign saying that you support the workers fighting for fair pay and respect. Snap a selfie, and tweet it with the #walmartstrikers hashtag.
Feeling camera-shy? Write a letter a store manager. Walmart tracks every one of these actions, and collectively, they have a huge impact.
Go here for tips, instructions, and legalities. (In some states, there are legal injunctions against protesting in front of stores.)
For more on International Buy Nothing Day, Amy Mendoza, on xojane, gives us five reasons to buy nothing on Friday, December 28.