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Black Friday, Cyber Monday 2009: What Would Jesus Buy? Heifer International?


posted by Ethan Nichtern

(for more about IDP, visit the Interdependence Project‘s main website)

Welcome to the day of the year with the strangest name: Black Friday 2009. Next comes Cyber Monday 2009. The name feels like an apocalypse, or a shop-ocalypse, as consumption activist and star of one of my favorite holiday movies What Would Jesus Buy, Reverend Billy would say. Have you been poking around for Black Friday online deals? I haven’t heard reports of anyone being trampled to death today, like last year, but the holiday season is still very young, and Wal-mart has a new look and marketing strategy, so you never know.


So seriously, folks, how do you think Buddha or Jesus would handle the shopping season if they were alive in 2009? Many friends seems to be using Heifer International to buy a new animal for a 3rd world farmer in need. This seems pretty awesome, and I am going to do it too. By the way friends, the animal I might buy in your name is not the animal you remind me of, but the one I could afford. Besides, beautiful animals tend to produce less milk and meat for farmers. Just an fyi.

I really don’t think any enlightened being would want us to all get more cheap plastic stuff from China that our loved ones will throw out in a few months. At the Interdependence Project, maybe next year we will institute a Secret Santa game full of bartered services and homemade gifts. Until then, shop responsibly, and don’t bring too much environmentally destructive stuff into the world. Now for some leftover stuffing. Maybe we should watch the Story of Stuff before we start shopping. And then meditate on the meaning of generosity. 


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Jon Rubinstein

posted November 27, 2009 at 11:20 am

Heifer is awesome. My company was sending gifts like flowers and wine to clients here and there, and we stopped a while back and started sending heifers, water buffaloes, etc. Save the Children is another awesome organization that makes a huge difference in lives around the world. Here’s a post we did for the company blog comparing the costs of cheap toys from a SkyMall catalog to the cost of providing education, nutrition, and medical care for a child somewhere in the world:
Meanwhile, today’s New York Times details hours-long waits for motorized hamsters.
Thanks for this Ethan. Happy Thanksgiving!

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Jon Rubinstein

posted November 27, 2009 at 11:31 am

one more note – Lama Marut talks frequently about how consumer capitalism will not make us happy – he has a great mantra we can repeat when we are tempted to buy something we don’t need:
Om, I have enough, A-hum.
Great talks on the subject here:

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jay stevens

posted November 27, 2009 at 5:26 pm

i love cyber monday even more so that black friday. I have found the best cyber monday deals on
happy holidsys

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posted November 27, 2009 at 10:25 pm

Many people are really rushing-in to department stores and retail shops to avail of big discounts this coming black friday up to cyber monday. It’s a great time to save hundreds of dollars on selected items. Here’s a good addition to your list:
Park your car safely and properly 😀

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sworn off the mall

posted November 29, 2009 at 12:01 pm

I’ve been doing Heifer gifts and other international donations for a few years. lately, though, I’m tempted to stick closer to home and give to the charities that actually care for the people in my town — food pantry, fuel bank, homeless shelter. I have friends who’ve been helped by them, and I know that the administrative expenses are paltry.

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Anan E. Maus

posted November 30, 2009 at 12:46 am

enjoyed the blog, thanks. Nothing much gained by surrendering ourselves to materialism.
Giving is just perfectly liberating. The moment before we think of giving is like living in a dark room. Then the thought of giving comes in and suddenly the whole room is filled with sunshine. Just that drastic of a change in consciousness.

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posted November 30, 2009 at 11:39 am

Shop NINA SHOES today at!
24 hour sale…offer expires at midnight tonight! Cyber Monday exclusive!

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posted November 30, 2009 at 9:49 pm

join the Mallatorium. Post ideas for gifts that mean something.

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Timothy E. Putnam

posted December 1, 2009 at 12:23 pm

Please do not engage in wrong actions such as violating the rights of other sentient beings. Please do not exploit animals from Heifer International or other such organizations. Please learn why this is wrong, why it is unhelpful to travelling the path, and how to support other sentient beings (both human and nonhuman):

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