This Black Friday, Buy Nothing

Posted on Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Author: Yacine Hacene, 4th-Year Communication Student


Black Friday (and Cyber Monday) are right around the corner and you’re getting ready to look for bargains. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with treating yourself to a little wardrobe makeover (shopping is actually healthy according to science).

But, you can choose to do things differently this year. In fact, there is an anti-consumerist day celebrated on the same day as Black Friday called Buy Nothing day. Which consists of…buying abso-freakin-lutely nothing. Let me explain.

Slow living is the promotion of a minimalist lifestyle. In other words, emphasizing a less-is-more approach, focusing on sustainability rather than consumption, and choosing to spend on what truly matters. Food, rather than new shoes. Experiences, rather than possessions.  These decisions are being made by having a “do I really need it” internal debate. (check out Pierre-Yves McSween’s book Do You Really Need It to dive into the spirituality behind the voluntary art of simple living).

So if you’d like to experience Black Friday differently this year, join the Buy Nothing movement with these options:

1) The uOttawa Free Store

This store, or should we say gold mine, is a cute little spot located in the middle of campus that promotes a no-waste policy. You can drop off items you don’t need anymore, or pick some up. Yes, pick up. Everything in the store is FREE, as long as you’re part of the uOttawa community. This is perfect if you are trying to avoid spending frivolously, and you still get to express the fashionista within you. Bonus points because you never know what you’ll go home with. Thrilling.

2) Right there, on your phone

Facebook Marketplace (and many Facebook groups) allow you to exchange an item for another, and others are meant for free stuff that people no longer need or are willing to give. Kijiji also displays plenty of free items. As the saying goes: “One man's trash is another man's treasure!” Be curious, take the time to scroll for long enough, and you never know what can end up in your dresser.

3) If you’re a giver

And if you still feel the need to spend on Black Friday or Cyber Monday, why not spend as an act of kindness. Donate to a good cause and make a difference in someone else’s life.

4) And if you still want to spend

And if you still have the urge to spend on yourself, say no to fast-fashion. take the time to research your purchases and to invest in sustainable products. Be prepared to spend a little more on a more durable product, such as a pair of boots that you love AND that won’t disintegrate after the first winter.

Side note: Sustainability at uOttawa

Did you know that the University of Ottawa has a Sustainability Office that acts as a hub for numerous sustainability-related programs on campus, such as community gardens, fair trade campus designation, green spaces expansion, emission-reducing initiatives, water diversion and more. And if sustainable development is important to you, get involved!

It’s upon us once again: Black Friday, the annual day of bargain hunting that sees shoppers pile into stores and scramble for discount items. But you can choose to act differently this year with these other ways of acquiring cool items that catch your eye, or the satisfaction of making someone else’s life better, without going broke. Buy nothing.


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