It seems everyone's favorite consumer holiday is getting an even earlier start this year, thanks to the world's biggest retailer. Yes, Wal-Mart is moving Black Friday (also celebrated by Adbusters as Buy Nothing Day) up to this week, the NY Times reports today, to kick off Americans' annual Christmas buying frenzy just a little earlier.
To take a strictly economic view, this orgy of spending generates $100 billion a year of our GNP, according to Joel Waldfogel on Slate.com. On the other hand, any economist can tell you that gift spending is inefficient, because the giver doesn't know the recipient's preferences as well as the recipient herself does. Which leads to lots of... landfill.
So, dear reader, how can we spend our money wisely this year, and make our loved ones feel appreciated -- but without creating a lot of inadvertent junk that will either sit around unused, or get thrown away?