Buy now, pay later

black friday As if the disturbing display of consumptive zealotry to the left above (found at Drudge via my new-favorite blog, Gawker) wasn't enough incentive, an excellent post this morning on Eschaton has me pondering the heretofore unthinkable: a gift-free holiday season.

Hecate's point is to use a shop-out in protest; as he says in the headline to his post, "All I Want for Xmas is Fair and Verifiable Elections." Which ain't a bad gift. I'd sleep better at night knowing that the rightfully chosen candidate was presiding over our fair country for the next four years, even if I didn't vote for him. (Okay, especially if I didn't vote for him.)

But thousands (or hundreds...or dozens...) of people picketing...Diebold HQ? Maybe not so impactful. Thousands of consumers putting the Visa on ice? Now there's an interesting proposition:

This year, I'm urging everyone I know to refuse to spend money for Xmas as a protest. Stay out of the stores. For Goddess sake, don't run up credit card debt. Give your family and friends the gift of your time and attention rather than a new sweater that they won't wear or some object to clutter-up an already over-cluttered life. But just not buying isn't enough. You've got to contact the retailers and credit card companies and tell them: I'm not going to be buying Xmas stuff and I'm not going to be charging Xmas stuff until this country has a system in place that ensures fair and verifiable elections. Reader Kate has done the research and discovered that The National Retail Federation “is the world's largest retail trade association . . . .” Write to Their Vice President for Legislative and Political Affairs, Katherine Lugar. Here's her contact info:

National Retail Federation 325 7th Street, N.W. Suite 1100 Washington, D.C. 20004 Phone: 1-800-NRF-HOW2 Fax (202) 727-2849

Write to your credit card companies and tell them the same thing. You can find the address on the back of your latest bill. And, heck if you're really angry about this last election, write to the large department stores that you patronize, or at least cc them on your letter to the National Retail Federation. CC your Senators and Congressman or Congresswoman as well.

I will also have to write to my beloved agent, assuring him that his annual Guitar Center certificate will be on its way once the mess is behind us. He is one of the real Christians, so I'm sure he'll understand, but it makes me feel terrible just the same.

xxx c

P.S. An interesting skew on the boycott issue in an excellent post from Fact-esque (via Eschaton) as well. S/he points out that a targeted boycott of, say, Wal-Mart might be more focussed and effective and serve the additional end of bringing attention to the nefarious practices of one of America's ickiest retailers.

P.P.S An even better suggestion posted at Eschaton by Thumb: go small, go local, go green, go etc. As a small business owner of sorts myself, I'm surprised I didn't think of it (except that I'm still in Thanksgiving coma).

I'm sure there is a dandy local gee-tar shop in L.A. that would love my gift certificate biz. And I don't think Harry & David is a big-box giant. (Not sure about their labor policies, though. Damn. I love those pears...)