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I hope this isn't off topic, it seems specifically economic to me even though it probably intersects with other fields of study.

Black Friday is seen as an iconic hallmark of consumerism, and Buy Nothing Day is a reaction to it that's been around since the 90s. It's a protest against both Black Friday as well as consumerism in general, and a temporary boycott to draw attention to the issues. I get that the consumerist mindset being protested during this time is buying a bunch of unnecessary stuff just because it's on sale versus getting that one thing you couldn't afford but now you can. And on a wider scale, I get BND is protesting buying a bunch of unnecessary stuff period (consumerism).

But on a functional economic level, in relation to things people would be buying anyway, doesn't boycotting Black Friday just amount to paying full price (or finding other sales) at some other time of the year versus taking advantage of these sales? And thus wouldn't that be something that people of lower economic status would be excluded from participating in, as they wouldn't necessarily have the luxury of choosing to pay more just to make a statement?

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  • $\begingroup$ I'm not terribly familiar with Buy Nothing Day but it doesn't seem to involve what you say it does, i.e. paying the full price on purpose. $\endgroup$ – Fizz Nov 30 '19 at 10:37
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    $\begingroup$ I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because the core question— whether a particular movement is “classist”— is outside the scope of economics in its modern form. It’s essentially a question for political philosophy, which is concerned with economic matters as well (economics grew out of this field, but it’s been heading in a different direction for quite a while now). $\endgroup$ – dismalscience Nov 30 '19 at 15:00
  • $\begingroup$ @dismalscience Is there a network on here you think this question would have been better suited for? It didn't seem like it fit into politics due to being "philosophical" and the target of the protest not being any particular policy, but rather a very economic topic. Seems like there should be some space to ask about movements or protests that occur in the context of economics or politics I'm just not sure where that is. $\endgroup$ – Ciudadano Dec 11 '19 at 23:15
  • $\begingroup$ @Fizz I was asking if it functionally amounts to that. Did you have a different conclusion? $\endgroup$ – Ciudadano Dec 11 '19 at 23:18
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in relation to things people would be buying anyway, doesn't boycotting Black Friday just amount to paying full price (or finding other sales) at some other time of the year versus taking advantage of these sales?

Yes. Regarding necessities or scheduled expenditures, participating in BND requires a time-shift in consumption that may carry a higher price for the same goods or services, in addition to other potential non-pecuniary opportunity costs. I suppose in the extreme this could lead to hoarding of perishables, fuel, etc. that might be measurable.

And thus wouldn't that be something that people of lower economic status would be excluded from participating in, as they wouldn't necessarily have the luxury of choosing to pay more just to make a statement?

Yes. If BND were enshrined in policy, it would be considered regressive in the sense that its negative welfare impacts are likely to be higher for those of lesser means. It may also constitute a redistribution of wealth from BND adherents to business owners (although this would be complicated to show empirically).

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