By Sara Marett
Today is International Buy Nothing Day and some on-campus vendors may be closing up shop as a result of groups encouraging students to leave their wallets at home.
Business vendors located in the atrium of the University Community Centre were less than thrilled to be sharing space yesterday, with a group of students encouraging passers-by not to consume. The Oxfam Student Association, the Campus Coalition for Justice and the World University Service of Canada had a "shop free zone" for students in the atrium and handed out flyers with information on the event, just steps away from CD and jewelry vendors.
Yesterday, Campus Disks was considering not opening for business today. Employee Dana Davis said it was unfair for the group promoting Buy Nothing Day to be situated in the same area as their business.
Cecily Nicholson, a member of the Oxfam club, said the group was approaching students and handing out flyers encouraging people to participate in the day. "I am aware of the conflict of interest being in the same place but the day is not so much about anti-consumerism as it is to raise awareness of consumer habits we reached a lot of people."
This is exactly what the vendors were fearing. "Do they not realize that when they purchase from [University Students' Council] outlets, a portion of the funds are going back to them?" Davis asked.
Nader Vafaii, a nearby jewelry vendor, said he did not like the idea of the awareness group being in the same area. "On the other hand however, it is a free country and I don't have anything against what they are trying to say." He said despite the group's presence, sales were good yesterday. "I won't be here tomorrow though."
Paul Tomlinson, manager of retail and service operations for the USC which owns and operates the UCC under an agreement with the university, said vendors pay $175 plus GST to rent a spot in the UCC per day. He added the vendors were told the buy nothing group would be there and the rental charge will be refunded if they choose not to set up shop today.
The Oxfam group were able to book their space at no charge because they are a USC ratified club, Tomlinson said.
Entertainment Production manager Pete Stanbridge, who is in charge of booking space in the UCC, said it is likely that when the group booked the space, it was not specified exactly what they would be doing, therefore another location was not suggested.