Buy Nothing Day reports - Leeds, Norwich, London, Edinburgh, Manchester x2...

Leeds Buy Nothing Day stall
The truth is out - buying stuff doesn't make you happy! Central Leeds today saw a free shop sprout from the pavement to drive the message home.

Despite the cold and rain, a hardy group set up a free shop in Central Leeds this morning, offering burgers, books, records and clothes. The manifestation of people giving stuff away in the middle of consumer-land raised a few eyebrows, entertained the tired masses and got the idea across that buying loads of useless stuff is a futile activity. The assembled free-shoppers sang a variety of subvertised carols and handed out gift vouchers which were "redeemable for whatever takes your fancy" including a picnic in the park or playing your own music. All in all, a grand day out in town.


To mark Buy Nothing Day, 12 people from Norwich Rising Tide held a Rat Race in the city centre.

Activists created a mobile rat race that stopped off at the city’s busiest malls and high streets.

People in rat costumes hurried hither and thither between the edges of the rat race maze, built out of placards reading Work Harder, Earn More Money, Buy More Things, Keep Going, while Fat Cats advised that happiness was just around the corner if the rats would only keep shopping!

At Castle Mall the rats were flummoxed by security guards who forced them to move on; after all, the rats were only telling people to buy more stuff!

A thousand leaflets were handed out (see below), and many passers-by expressed their support.
BND Norwich flier front
BND Norwich flier back


It seems that Transport For London have bowed to activist pressure and decided to remove all the adverts from the district line.

I never would have thought that TFL would have taken part in buy nothing day, but it seems even Red Ken wanted to join in the fun.

A group of Space Hijacker agents were travelling across London when we spotted a TFL decoration team, swiftly turning all of the adverts on the District Line around so that their blank sides were facing out.
Ad-free Tube action
They then posted up official LondON stickers proclaiming:

"As part of TFL's £10 Billion investment program, London Underground are removing all adverts from trains to improve the ambience of carriages and the overall travelling experience of passengers."
Ad-free Tube poster
We can only applaud this bold move against the constant corporate assault on our senses.

The team we saw doing it were very quick, managing to swap around entire carriages of adverts in less than the time it took the train to travel one stop. Infact so impressed were our agents that we kept an eye on the trains and spotted the advert free carriages several days after.

On the trains we overheard one of the passengers asking "but what are we going to read?", the TFL spokesperson replied "You could try talking to each other?"

Three cheers for TFL ;-)


Half-price agents80's slogan t-shirts are back in fashion! A group of Space Hijacker agents decided to wear the very latests trend setting t-shirts on a 'Buy Nothing Day' jaunt around London.

A team of Space Hijackers secret agents headed into Knightsbridge in London on Saturday to celebrate Buy Nothing Day, a day of corporate chainstore chaos.

Wearing the very latest 'Nu Rave' slogan t-shirts our intrepid agents decided to go and have a look around some of London's most exclusive stores. Our first stop was Harrords, and after avoiding the piles of ferrari's, porsches and mercedes, we managed to get instore and up to the top floor.

Our trendy "EVERYTHING IN STORE HALF PRICE TODAY" t-shirts certainly raised some eyebrows from the fashion conscious customers, several even came up and started asking us for directions etc. Helpful and polite as always we directed customers, tidied up messy rails of clothes and generally played the part of good members of society as we walked around the store.

Unfortunately the security teams seemed to have other ideas, and promtly attempted to round us up and eject us from the store! Cries of the fact that our shirts were the very latest katherine hamnett designer shirts, seemed to fall on deaf ears, and we were told that we may be arrested if we entered the store again!

Oh well, never mind, onto Gucci and Louis Vuitton for some designer window shopping. Entering the Gucci boutique in Knightsbrige we quickly found out that there were more of us than actual staff present, which was an entertaining prospect. However, in a move which was obviously down to brand envy, we were once again ejected. The security even followed us across the road and into Louis Vuitton calling out "Don't let them in, it's a prank!" as we entered the store. Why the cheek of it!

After looking around and helping customers choose their luggage we decided to leave the store and welcome people inside from the streets. However the weather was getting rather nippy by this point, so after a swift drink we decided to head into Oxford Street and onto Nike Town and Top Shop.

The security here was rather oafish to say the least, with three of our agents being dragged down to a special Top Shop instore prison which they have behind the counters. Thankfully after threats of sueing for wrongful imprisonment, and the fact we had a lawyer and criminal barrister amongst our ranks things were soon put right.

Unfortunately after all of the excitement of dealing with the grumpy security, we forgot to actually buy any consumer goods. Oh well, best go back next year ;-)

Buy Nothing Day - Edinburgh Action

Today was International Buy Nothing day. Activists took to the streets all across the globe to try and persuade those who can afford to live consumerist lifestyles to think about how much they need all the things they buy.

In the run up to the Christmas shop-a-thon it is easy for many people to forget that the best things in life are free. Do we really need those things we buy? Is spending money on useless crap the only way to show loved ones how much we care for them? Of course not!
Edinburgh Buy Nothing Day 3Edinburgh Buy Nothing Day 3

Clowns from Rampant Reekies, the Edinburgh gaggle of C.I.R.C.A, played games, danced and were generally silly on the streets, entertaining people without selling products. They also joyfully invaded shops, including HNM, GAP, BHS and Schu, and "brought mirth and merriment to the dazed monotony of Christmas consumption."
Edinburgh Buy Nothing Day 1Edinburgh Buy Nothing Day 1

A Food Not Bombs stall gave out free food in the form of pea soup, banana smoothies, bread and apple pie. Many shoppers walked straight past the hot-dog stall and had some lovely vegan soup for lunch instead. A chalk message on the pavement read "there is such a thing as a free lunch!"
Edinburgh Buy Nothing Day 2Edinburgh Buy Nothing Day 2

A mobile Free Shop set up on the street to give things away for free. Many people came and found useful items to take away, or gifts for people which they were otherwise going to buy. One man said simple "this is the best thing I've ever seen" and a passing woman exclaimed "I've seen jumble sales, but never this!" A passing Police Officer even inquired if there was any mobile phones, as he was going to buy one that day but couldn't now he knew it was Buy Nothing Day.

A person claiming to be from Society for a Transformation to Imagination Not Capitalisation (S.T.I.N.C) approached the stalls and informed the BNDers that they had released non-harmful stink bombs in a fast-food stores on Princes Street to "make it clear - Capitalism stinks", although this remains unverified.

The reception from passers by was generally quite good. While some didn't understand the point of it, many skeptics came and had a chat a left with an understanding of what Buy Nothing Day is about, along with some free stuff. Hopefully some shoppers will decide to make gifts for Christmas instead of paying someone else to.

Many involved really enjoyed the day and felt that it was effective, so look out for more Food Not Bombs activity in Edinburgh.

The Forest Cafe ( is having a week long Free Shop upstairs beginning on the 14th of December.


On Saturday the 24th November Rhythms of Resistance Manchester and Manchester Climate Action (MCA) held a free stall where a wide range of things from plants, to clothes were well received. Even a couple of police officers joined in.

The two groups joined in the 'Reinstate Karen' demo which began in the Peace Gardens and marched through Manchester in support of free speech and free health care.

Several folks then went to the Arndale Centre and released a banner attached to pink helium balloons, which read: "Shopping Costs the Earth." It floated up to the roof, right next to the giant Christmas Tree, to remind people of the social and environmental expense of purchasing.

In the Trafford Centre another activist from MCA disrupted shopping, in protest at the massive amount of car journeys it encourages in the name of profit.

For more info about free stuff and links check out www.freemanchester.orgShopping Costs the EarthShopping Costs the Earth


Activists from Manchester Climate Action evacuated various parts of The Trafford Centre during this years buy nothing day, Saturday 24th of November. The sprawling palace to pointless consumerism owned by the £2bn Empire of Peel Holdings, the climate criminals who bought you such delights as Liverpool, Durham Tees Valley, Robin Hood Doncaster Sheffield and Sheffield City Airports also publicly opposed the Manchester congestion charge. Camouflaged covalent campaigners in their finest designer labels moved stealthily amongst the madding crowds whilst activating fire alarms and interrupting the daily toil of tedious transactions.

Alarms in the main malls cover certain zones and not the whole complex. They are silent for 30 seconds, sounding only in the security office. This leads to lots of people in red jackets running around looking concerned. When the alarms did sound it was accompanied by a message over the P.A telling people to ignore it and approach a member of staff if concerned. However, sounding the Alarms by the exits of the large department stores such as Selfridges and John Lewis leads to the entire shop being evacuated……Oh dear!