Burning Man may eschew capitalism, but that doesn't mean capitalism eschews Burning Man.
A radio ad for Orchard Supply Hardware that ran last week had an announcer declaring, "At Orchard Supply Hardware, we like to help people make the most of what they have. One of the ways is 'We Pay the Sales Tax Weekend,' which happens to be this weekend. Just in time to finish your Burning Man project."
A series of what SF Weekly calls "displeased emails" followed.
Burning Man, a desert summer camp, generally doesn't like to have any commercial associations. "I think a fair amount of nausea is induced any time commercial culture rubs up against Burning Man culture and purrs," an unnamed volunteer told the paper. ("Purrs"?)
But OSH stood by the ad, and in the end, Burning Man's official response was more or less a shrug. This particular mention, it seemed, doesn't run afoul of their lawyers. What would cause a more significant fuss would be if someone started using the Burning Man logo or the term "decompression," which is trademarked.
Meanwhile, the organization that sponsors the annual Nevada event has been waging a separate legal fight with PayPal, a website that allows individuals and organizations to transfer cash. The Silicon Valley company was for a time holding $180,000 of a Burning-Man-related group's donations hostage, claiming that their paperwork wasn't quite in order. After a brief protest, the organization was allowed to withdraw the funds and move to PayPal competitor WePay, which offered far friendlier terms.
Matt Baume is looking forward to a week of peace and quiet around the City.