While throngs of people use the day following Thanksgiving to cash in on retail promotions and make an early jump on Christmas shopping, another group purposefully refrains.
The participants of “Buy Nothing Day,” do just that — they buy nothing on Black Friday.
Conway Junior High art teacher Chris Massingill is one of the sect that has committed to staying home on the shopping holiday.
Massingill doesn’t only refrain, but she is proactive on the day she says is representative of “our over-consumerism.”
“People use today to buy things they don’t need because you’re going to save some money. People give up family time to stand in line to buy things made of plastic,” she said.
Massingill said she has been promoting another mindset for the Friday after Thanksgiving Day for about seven years.
An artist who makes and sells her creations locally and online, Massingill opens her “tiny, tiny studio,” at her home on Caldwell Street near Conway’s downtown to like-minded people who want an alternative to buying.
She said about 40 people committed this year, and the “Buy Nothing Day Open Studio” event on Facebook allowed participants to come and go throughout the day.
On the event’s description, Massingill wrote, “To celebrate ‘Buy Nothing Day’ you can come to my studio and make some handmade gifts instead of facing the craziness of the Black Friday sales and since your gifts will be handmade they will be way cooler than anything you can buy at a big box store anyway.’
The small studio is equipped for clay sculpting, with an electric and manual wheel.
At 1 p.m., pieces were hardening on the front porch of the studio. A participant who had come and gone created a sushi plate, and another a wall hanging. Several had created ornaments and pendants.
Massingill offers her expertise through workshops, typically $35-$50 per, but on Friday there was strictly a barter system.
She said someone was going to make her son a hat as a trade for her lesson and materials. Another participant brought homemade soup and bread as payment, someone left a puzzle, and a chef committed to trading cooking lessons.
“Last year someone made me dinner a week later. This year I’ve been promised eggplant Parmesan,” Massingill said.
Massingill said she tries to barter year-round when she can, and she shops locally or on handmade product sites like Etsy.com.
Buy Nothing Day is largely promoted through “Adbusters” magazine, a non-profit online and print publication that challenges consumerism.
The group’s website says Buy Nothing Day is ‘an international day of protest against consumerism celebrated annually just after Thanksgiving.’
(Staff writer Courtney Spradlin can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 505-1236. To comment on this and other stories in the Log Cabin, log on to www.thecabin.net. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit)