Shopping Tips for Black Friday

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I completely understand the mindset that produces pieces like this one from Donna Fuscaldo at Fox Business News. It’s the same auto-pilot that produces “consumers” to lap it up. I can remember a Black Friday 15 years ago when I joined the shopping frenzy like a hunter with a list of prey. This was me:

“Consumers hoping to take advantage of all the deals and doorbusters offered the day after Thanksgiving need to get organized with a list of prioritized discounts they need and when retailers open.”

I’m ashamed. Overshoot was nowhere on my radar screen. Saving money was. 

Today, I’m acutely aware that in a full world we cannot afford to shop till we drop. But out there in media-land, little has changed. The mainstream media deliver only an occasional morsel of information about ecosystem crises (fresh water toxification and shortages, habitat destruction, resource scarcity, species extinction, climate disruption, etc.) and the links to overconsumption and overpopulation are seldom drawn. Instead, we are delivered a steady stream of stories that position us as “consumers,” and shopping and economic growth as universally worthy goals. Resistance to changing this is fueled by mythology about prosperity from growth and by the fact that most of our media are advertising-supported.

I’d like to encourage journalists to change this. There must be reporters and editors who see the links and understand we are entering a new era in which reducing collective and individual consumption will become the society-wide goal. Today, we’ll only find this in alternative media, but I’m looking for it to begin creeping into the mainstream. If you find some good examples, please let me know and we’ll feature them on our Wall of Fame. 

Meanwhile, please consider refraining from mindless shopping and consumption this holiday season. The GrowthBusters project is encouraging “consumers” to become “human beings” by staying away from the malls and watching a free worldwide screening of the documentary, GrowthBusters: Hooked on Growth. I hope you’ll check it out. Next week we’ll begin a global dialogue about creative ways to honor holiday gift-giving traditions in ways that have a small footprint.

Please vote to reflect how much shaming this story deserves. Scroll down to comment. Please share this critique to help us make a difference. And consider making a tax-deductible donation to this project in a friend’s name as a holiday gift.

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Dave is the director of the documentary GrowthBusters: Hooked on Growth. Dave is also president of Citizen-Powered Media, a non-profit working to find the cure to our society's growth addiction. Growth Bias Busted is one of the projects of Citizen-Powered Media's ongoing GrowthBusters public education program.


  • Guest
    piyush Wednesday, 20 November 2013

    I feel like taking the picture you show in this post, enlarging it and standing outside wal-mart holding it on Black Friday. Black Friday is the main religious holiday of the religion of the endless growth religion. Even the traditional religious holidays (which are usually not about consumption) have been hijacked to be in the service of the growth religion. While Black Friday is for the purpose of going from red to black in the accounting book of the growth religion to ensure that the religion does not fall apart, the planet has been maintaining an accounting book on the side that has been getting redder and redder over a couple of centuries and now the planet is also declaring Black Friday on days when we see freak storms, tornadoes, and other extreme weather and other signs of environmental stress taking toll on humanity, it seems it is starting to balance out its accounting book and perhaps getting closer all the time to ultimately write (wipe) us off its balance sheet as we have been mostly on its liability side instead of its asset side, unless we make the transition to get on the asset side.

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Guest Thursday, 24 April 2014

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