Store owners across North America have become accustomed to enjoying Buy Nothing Day as a respite from the presence of unsightly, surly poor people in their establishments -- and the shoplifting they inevitably bring.
For those who don't know how a freegan potluck is different from a regular potluck here are the ground rules. You can't buy any of the food you bring! Seems fitting for buy nothing day. You can't cop out and just buy everything you plan on consuming the day before. This means that you will need to gather, grow, salvage, be given, or steal the food that you bring to the potluck."For many activists in London, stealing food may be the only way to get through another day without terrible munchies -- especially on a day on which they have sworn not to contribute to the economy." says Hammer. "It's important for socially aware businesses to recognize this, and to prepare accordingly."
Hammer warns local businesses and fat-cats to be on the lookout for Buy Nothing Day participants.
"Most are posers, slumming for psychological rather than financial reasons. Essentially, none are actually poor in any meaningful sense. All have education, youth, weed, and access to computers. The normal profile is that of a confused senior adolescent with a chip on the shoulder who has been given an excuse for that chip by this or that fifth-generation Marxist theology. Often, these individuals visibly identify with mass marketing brand-loyalty initiatives such as 'Hip Hop', or 'Punk Rock'. We need to be understanding, but above all, we need to be vigilant."
Hammer suggests businesses keep a close watch on consumers fitting this profile. However, Hammer also warns that it may be impossible to distinguish honest, starving poor people looking for a good deal, from troubled young activists looking to steal food from the mouths of entrepreneurs' children. Businesses need to be prepared to deal with both equally harshly to discourage theft.
"At the end of the day, preventing shoplifting is every business' job. We can't be too careful defending the privileges of capital."
Hammer recommends the Taser Industries KK-46 for retail defence against activationists and the poor. The effects are more humane than popular misconception would hold.
"Buy Nothing Day participants, and certainly poor people, do not suffer as much as ordinary people when tased. Their relative lack of electrolytes makes the shock less severe than would be experienced by a normally functioning member of the economy."
As part of The London Fog's Community Outreach Gathering Series (COGS), Karl Hammer will be offering a workshop for local retailers interested in the more theoretical side of poverty studies. Topics will include:
The workshop to be held at the Community Caring Sugar Shack on Queens Avenue. Email the London Fog for further details.
Monday, November 19, 2007
Posted by Mike on Monday, November 19, 2007