February 24, 2018

Reverend Billy's 10 Commandments Of Buylessness

The other Reverend Billy with the Stop Shopping Gospel Choir, trying to convert Consumers
to the Church of Stop Shopping.

The Reverend Billy (no, not that one) is a more radical reverend that preaches anti consumerism at his Church of Stop Shopping. This pissed off preacher exercises his First Amendment rights to warn of the coming Shopocalypse.

However, that doesn't mean that he is free from harassment from the Thought Police. He has been arrested many times for trying to save consumer souls from debt and damnation. What is good for the soul is bad for business, and must be stopped.

The Earth-loving preacher travels in a biodiesel fueled bus, with the Stop Shopping Gospel Choir, to preach from the parking lots of WalMart and Starbucks. While the Choir sings, the Reverend does shopping interventions and exorcisms.

He has compiled the 10 Commandments of Buylessness.

The Reverend's 10 Commandments Of Buylessness

Forgive people, yourself and everybody else. We all shop too much.

Know your Devil. Shoppers are only dancing in the land of ten thousand ads. Consumerism is the system. Corporations are the agents of the system.

Respect the micro-gesture. Magicalize the foreground. Fore-go the plastic bag and grab that bare banana – Amen!

Practice asking for Sweat-free, Fairly-traded and Locally Made products. That's the rude that's cool.

Buy less and give more. Giving is forceful, the beginning of fantastic new economies.

Buy local and think global. Love Your Neighbor (buy at independent shops) and Love The Earth (walk to, bike to, mass transit to – the things you need.)

Change to a sustainable personal economy. Then corporations and governments will change.

Envision the history of products on the shelf. Workers and the earth made that thing. Resisting Consumerism is an act of imagination.

Complexify. Don't be so easy to figure out. Consumers tend to regularize.
Shopping at big boxes and chains makes us all the same. Viva la difference!

Respect heroes of the resistance. A small band of neighborhood-defenders who staved off a super mall with years of protests? Beautiful.

Reverend Billy asks us "What would Jesus buy?" and exhorts consumers to stop shopping. He
 recommends that if you have to buy anything you should avoid the corporate franchises and chains, and buy from locally owned businesses.

Of course the powers that be are not at all comfortable with Rev. Billy's sermons, even if Jesus would most certainly approve of his message of love over stuff, and protection of people and the planet.  

The authorities are often called in to carry the good reverend away. But that does not deter him for a moment in fulfilling his mission to save us all from the rapidly unfolding Shopocalyptic horror found in big box stores across the land.

It is simple living salvation.


  1. Replies
    1. Lorraine,

      That is one of my favourites, too.

      No big box attitudes. Or little box. Or any box. Or boundaries. Or limits.

  2. Anonymous2/25/2018

    Love these 10 commandment's.
    I do buy locally made products (wine, vegetables, fruits, meats). I have trouble with locally made clothing or even from the independent shops. Such as regular ladies slacks with a zipper & button-down shirts. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. (There seems to be an abundance of independent sellers in the usa that make T-shirts & yoga like pants.)

    1. Hi Linda,

      I hear you on the yoga pants and tee shirts. They are not what I want to wear and tend to wear out quickly - in other words, not so green.

      A few ideas. First, always try to buy clothes second hand before looking for new ones. If you are in the city travel to the prosperous areas where you should find good quality clothing. Another idea is to make your own clothes. You could take sewing classes if you lack the skills and it appeals to you. You could also pay a seamstress to make your clothes. Whilst that might seem an expensive option, consider that we really need very few clothes to get by if we buy good quality and really look after them. Hand washing delicate or expensive clothing in pure soap can really extend their lifespan. One final idea is to organise a clothing swap with friends, at your place of work, church etc...


    2. Anonymous2/26/2018

      Thanks, Madeleine. Great ideas. When I was younger, I managed to sew a few easy pieces (dresses, skirts, shorts), so maybe I should start once again. Yes, I agree the fewer, well-made clothes is all we really need. And I do shop second-hand occasionally as well.

    3. Anonymous2/26/2018

      I really only wear my good clothes when I am out and about - work, events, etc. When at home, I wear simple, old, comfy clothing. This keeps my good pieces lasting a looooong time. -Erin

    4. Anonymous2/26/2018

      Thanks, Erin. Yes, I do this as well & your right it does keep my good clothes in much better shape.

  3. Anonymous2/26/2018

    Oh, I love this post!! It was just last night that my partner was asked to pickup something from a giant big box store for a family gathering. It was an item we would both never consume, but they wanted it...and he was driving right by said store on his way to their house. I was lucky to have stayed at home and missed the outing. He called me afterward to relay the dismal, awful state of the store and it's inhabitants. He lamented that not only was that store disgusting in so many ways, but it saddened him when he thought about the thousands of other just like it, scattered across America. It's a downer, for sure!

    The remedy? NBA! I am happy this morning to read this great message. I really like this one:
    "Complexify. Don't be so easy to figure out. Consumers tend to regularize. Shopping at big boxes and chains makes us all the same. Viva la difference!"

    Paradoxically, in the quest to be unique, everyone buys cheap stuff from the same stores and they all end up looking alike. I don't follow fashion at all, but I always know what the "hot" trend is because 85% of the female population suddenly matches. If it weren't so sad, it would be funny.

    Thanks, Gregg and Linda, for starting my week of on a really cool note. :) -Erin

    1. Erin,

      It is sad, and I think we know it, but rarely admit it. But this thing has momentum, and our denial runs deep. It is painful to admit that we left normal levels of consumption 80 years ago. Ouch. Chasing the wrong things for 8 decades.

      And we are far from "on the right track" now, and there is much work to be done. However, it is really inspiring to know that there are people out there that are living the change. When we change, everything changes.

      Sorry your partner had to do battle with the consumer monster. On the other hand, such an experience can have an energizing effect on one's commitment to the simple life.


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