Occupy protesters have a Black Friday message: If you’re going to shop, hit up mom-and-pop stores, not big-box chains. Taking action across the country, protesters are voicing support for small businesses and opposition to shopping binges, the AP reports. In Washington, Occupiers are setting up a “really, really free market”—shoppers can take what they need at no charge from a collection of donations. In Seattle, they’re protesting Walmart.
Protesters will head to shopping malls to make their point, acting as silent “consumer zombies” in Boise, for example, and singing protest carols to shoppers in Chicago. “We didn't want to guilt-trip people at a mall,” says a Des Moines protester. “We wanted to get at them in a playful, friendly way, to support local businesses." Others note that they’re opposed to the corporations’ behavior, not shoppers’ plans. But some economic experts note that big businesses provide many jobs. “Sometimes we romanticize small business,” which “skews some of our debates about economic and labor policy,” says one.