Just stop buying shit! We are in danger of being buried under the mountains of crappy stuff we buy online
Just stop buying shit. If the virus doesn’t get you, the climate crisis will! And guess what? You can buy a ton of stuff that will lull you into a false sense of security. Let the bubble wrap be your security blanket. Let the Amazon boxes be repurposed into a bed for when you’re destitute and homeless. Your only crime? You’ve been manipulated and predicted. Amazon and almost every other online business don’t give a damn about anything else but maximum exploitation of Earth’s natural resources for maximum profit. Just remember, you’re spending so much money on Amazon, its owner is building spaceships for fun.
Buy Nothing Day, which is usually held on Black Friday in the US, and the day after that elsewhere (after Thanksgiving, end of November), seemed quaint and interesting a few years back. An almost-ironic opportunity to reflect on consumerism, it became one of those annual, light stories to finish off the nightly news, like Valentine’s Day (February 14) or Colostomy Day (first Saturday in October):
‘And finally, today was Buy Nothing Day, when all the commie-hippies didn’t go to any stores, and just injected heroin into kids instead.’
One day in the year is no longer enough. We must stop buying useless, mostly plastic, shit every day.
Dawn of the Dead is the way we live now
We are the zombies in the zombie apocalypse movie that is life now.
Consider the mountains of trash that are piling up around us as we live, eat and work from home. It’s actually staggering. Surely you’ve noticed it, too? Look at the businesses that have thrived during the pandemic…
The online stores that fill consumer media with ads about how they care about the planet while screwing their warehouse staff and flying fleets of gas-guzzling planes full of Chinese tat around the world.
The food delivery apps that pay their drivers a pittance while cutting into the tight margins of small food operations. And look at all the packaging waste that a delivered meal brings with it!
The online streaming platforms that keep hiking up their prices while pumping out rivers of content that’s generally average, with a pretty huge influence on the stories that become woven into our lives. But how can you not have Netflix, right?
The data whores that will feed you exactly the content that you like, waiting for the perfect moment to serve up the ad for useless shit. But because they know you and your future behaviour, you just tap the buy button without thinking. We’re buying shit on a reflex. We’re like those rats in the cocaine experiment, or something.
You are just so predictable!
The big tech companies like Amazon, Google, Facebook and Microsoft have so much data on you, you’d be stunned if you saw it all. We humans are not as unique as we like to think we are, and powerful cognitive biases actually trick us into doing things, such as buying something we don’t want/need, just because our friends have it. The tech companies combine these cognitive biases with all the data they have on us, likes, shares, comments, everything. What piece of content made your heart beat faster? They can tell, using your phone’s vibration detector. Do you know when you use Facebook to log in to a new site, instead of filling out a signup form? Well, you’ve just given Facebook permission to track all your activity on that other site! Facebook are such clever fuckers at what they do, they gave us Trump and Brexit and God knows what other shit is going on in the world today.
Apple, however, is on your side. Sure, they want you to buy their products and services, but they’re not data whores like the others, selling your deepest desires to the highest bidder. Watch Apple as the debate around data rights intensifies.
The CTA: There is no CTA
We don’t want you to buy anything from our sustainable living store. Even our way cool and uber-exclusive branded merch. Really. Resist the urge. We’re scaling back our sales pitches and product line. While it sounds counter-intuitive, we believe that taking this position will strengthen our brand. And don’t stop here. Resolve to not buy anything but the essentials for the next month. You will save money. You will have a lot less waste to dispose of. Those plastic-producing factories will have a little less of an easy ride. And the oil producers – despots and sadists alike – will see less demand for their poison.
If you can do this, then we have a chance.
It starts with you. Right here, right now.
Read our review of the life-changing book, The Age of Surveillance Capitalism. It’s a must-read! And yes, if your library doesn’t have it, you have our permission to buy it.
Buy Nothing Day: http://buynothingday.co.uk/
Watch The Great Hack on Netflix and see how Facebook and Cambridge Analytica gave the world Trump and Brexit. Such a shower!
50 modern cognitive biases: https://www.visualcapitalist.com/50-cognitive-biases-in-the-modern-world/
Rat in experiment, Creative Commons.
GIFs from Giphy.com.
Dawn of the Dead by George A Romero, Creative Commons.
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