To Buy Nothing

La Voz de Galicia – November 23, 2018 →

Cristina PatoI wanted to buy another pair of shoes for the winter because the ones I have look plenty old. They are comfortable, have no holes, and their soles are not even very well worn. They’re just old. I thought, “I’m going to buy the same pair.” I would take care of the new pair, wear them only on special occasions and leave the old pair for the day-to-day (inherited habits, I suppose). I also thought about ordering them directly from Amazon, or as my mother would say, “through internet.” In this way, I could avoid searching for them in quite a few stores. I did not have much time to spend on this task, and since my shoe size is 9.5, it is sometimes a bit difficult to find what I want. So, I searched the virtual shop. And though I was quite clear as to what I wished to purchase (model, size and color), I gradually became stuck in the infinite options of things I did not need. But I got stuck, and suddenly I needed everything, and everything was on sale, and I could find a use for everything—a laser printer, an opera collection, another pair of black pants, the great works of Russian literature…Amazon knew perfectly how to tempt me. I don’t know how much time passed me by, but my right wrist ached from navigating with one hand the website on my phone. Angered with myself, I left the house and went for a walk, but Black Friday was everywhere.

In 1992, the Canadian photographer Ted Dave began an opposing movement, Buy Nothing Day. This is an opportunity for active reflection before the inexorable consumerism of small things. Unfortunately, it did not stick, and Black Friday spread without a semblance of control throughout the First World, becoming a phenomenon that presents the need to shop as a manner of happiness.

My shoes look old, but they will hold on one more winter.

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