Resist the hypnotic marketing onslaught that leads turkey-bloated Americans into malls on the day after Thanksgiving. Instead, celebrate Buy Nothing Day with random acts of anticonsumerism. Established 10 years ago by the Adbusters Media Foundation (www.adbusters.org), this campaign points out that the world's most pressing problems -- environmental destruction, exploitation of workers in developing countries, and wars between the haves and the have-nots -- are caused, ultimately, by overconsumption in industrialized nations. Celebrants race empty shopping carts through mall parking lots, congest stores with nonshoppers, and stand ready with their scissors, offering to snip up credit cards while the more radical might chug bottles of saltwater and vomit in offending marketplaces.
In observance of the "holiday," activists in Milwaukee will dress up as cows and wave banners that say, "Stop grazing! Buy nothing!" Individuals in Pennsylvania are going to tape "out of order" signs to vending machines. Organizers of "Whirl-Mart Ritual Resistance" events will gather in groups at Wal-Mart superstores and silently push empty carts through the aisles. The folks over at www.consumermonster.com recommend that on Buy Nothing Day celebrants make their own puppets (their model resembles a yellow Cookie Monster with dollar signs painted on his eyeballs) and approach shoppers to discuss problems related to consumer force-feeding.
Of course, we're not mentioning this to give you any ideas. Gosh, we'd probably die from a cultural overdose if we witnessed even one spontaneous act of performance art or protest here in South Florida. If you prefer to celebrate without attracting much attention, try these free events:
* On Friday, Miami-Dade Community College student Joel Pedraza and FIU student Chris Hernandez plan to meet at the Sawgrass Mills Mall (12801 W. Sunrise Blvd., Sunrise) to walk around in T-shirts that say "Buy Nothing" and talk to shoppers about the evils of overconsumption. To join them, call 305-968-5438.
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* The Third Annual Art Scavenger Hunt happens on Saturday. Artists have hidden art around downtown, and it's yours if you can find it. Meet at 7 p.m. at Tavern 213, 213 SW Second St., Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-463-6213.
* For Friday night's bonfire at Lake Worth beach, the city has hired a DJ and even -- can we get some applause? -- shut off the parking meters! Starts at 7 p.m. Call 561- 533-7359.
* Watch some of the 700 combined takeoffs and landings that happen each day at Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport (6000 NW 21st Ave., Fort Lauderdale). Friendlier pilots dip their airplane's wings, as though they are waving hello. Call 954-828-4966.
* Expand your aural horizons in two record stores that let you listen before you buy -- CD Collector (1930 E. Sunrise Blvd., Fort Lauderdale); or Craig's Collectible Records (1200 Old Dixie Hwy., West Palm Beach); call 561-844-1324.