It warmed my heart today to walk into the Thirsty Camel downtown, for a quick lunch before a haircut and library trip, and be told by Ilan (proprietor) that he was refusing to take money today because it was Buy Nothing Day. In an effort to further awareness of the absurd over-consumptive nature of our society, Ilan suggested a trade for food today. He simply asked that you offer something of equal personal significance for the meal you received.
At first I was really uncomfortable, wondering if it would be fair to exchange a yet to be determined IOU for food? What could I give him of equal value? After all, his food is kick ass. I would go so far as to say his food is the best in Nanaimo! (!!)
We ended up writing our IOU’s with promises of a book (a book which I plan on reviewing time permitting), some baking (lime sugar cookies with toasted pumpkin seeds?) and the offer of labour in a variety of ways if he needs it. Carpentry skills, gardening, moving help… whatever he needs. Lily and Leif offered the first of the painted rocks they were planning on doing later that day.
I suppose the idea isn’t that the trade is “equal” so much as the importance of the actual nature of the transaction. There was thought put into our offer and there was an even greater appreciation for the meals we ate.
We don’t buy a lot, especially at this upcoming time of year. We don’t give gifts at all in fact. My kids might receive a gift or two from family members who refuse to take a different approach but the holiday time is spent enjoying each other’s company and doing things together with family and friends. This approach isn’t limited to the few times of year on recognised holiday’s. This is a year round approach and one that seems most sensible.
Ilan is a good person. We are all lucky to have someone like this in our community. This is a guy that has a breast-feeding friendly establishment and No Spank sticker on the front door of his restaurant.