Don’t Buy This Jacket

Dear Yvon Chouinard,

Today is Cyber Monday. Consumers will spend an estimated 2.5 billion dollars shopping online today for…well what are they really shopping for? I guess people justify it because we are selflessly buying things for other. That makes it a noble endeavor.

Then who can blame you for trying to save a few bucks when you are obligated to buy something for all your family, friends, and co-workers (For the first time this year I heard about online deals that start at 5:00am, similar to the doorbuster deals of Black Friday. I value my sleep far too much.)? You don’t want to look like the greedy dude who sits back and only receives during the holidays. Plus, if we don’t buy all our friends a gift they might think we don’t care about them or our family members might assume we don’t love them.

A few years ago on Cyber Monday, Patagonia ran my favorite advertisement of all time. The line was “Don’t Buy This Jack”, urging people to examine their consumption habits. It probably didn’t help sales that day, but it was a brand building piece that keyed into exactly what people love about your brand and it absolutely hooked me. It encourages us to buy something when we need it and plan to use it well. And when that time does come for a new jacket, Patagonia will provide a high-quality and conscious produced item. It’s refreshingly honest and in stark contrast to every other brand, not only competitors in the outdoor apparel category, but all consumer goods. It’s so crazy that it works, just like a lot of ideas you are behind.

So this year, rather than spending money on our family, lets spend time with our family. Lets take that time to reflect, both inwardly and together, on what is really valuable to us: our family, friends, environment (I’ve already lamented on the narrow definition of environment), and new episodes of Louie.

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