Friday, November 6, 2009

How many hats in a Coach bag?

I used to want all the decadent icons of success. When I was a child, I dreamed of a British racing green Jaguar. I dreamed of shopping on Rodeo drive. I wanted an Hermes handbag. A Birkin bag. I dreamed of a huge estate, and a private jet, and elaborate gatherings with elegant food. And then I grew up.

While I still want autonomy, I no longer want decadence and riches. I want to be comfortable, to be happy in my daily work, to be able to afford my medical and dental care, and to help others. I still would like to travel on occasion.

I recently read a lament that there was no Coach store in a particular location, so the people in that city could not purchase Coach bag decadence in person. They must buy online or go to the nearest Coach store in a nearby larger city. This got me thinking. How many charity hats could I make for the cost of a Coach bag? How many heads could be warmed this winter if one person considering the purchase of a Coach bag would donate that money to the purchase or handcrafting of hats for those in need?
The clutch at the top of this post is the least expensive item at the Coach site, at $78.00. It would purchase about the equivalent of 13 skeins of yarn (at 5.99/skein). With 13 skeins of yarn, I could make 26 small child hats, or at least 13 hats for adults. If I bought Lion Brand Wool Ease at $2.99/skein, I could make at least 52 small child hats or 26 adult hats.

The zebra bag above (which I find extremely unattractive) is the most expensive handbag I found on the Coach site, at $1,400.00 (are they joking?!). That bag could buy 233 skeins of yarn at $5.99/skein. That's 233 adult hats or scarves. Possibly 466 small child hats.
How about this zebra print bag for under $30.00, and donate the $1,370.00 saved to charity? That amount could feed a family of 3 for about 3 months or so. I am talking about DIRECT charity, not giving to some large charity organization where your money will be used to mail out unsolicited free calendars and address labels which funnels the money away from directly helping people. I am not saying people should be forced to donate to those in need. I am not saying people shouldn't be allowed to purchase decadent handbags.

I am saying that I wish people would give more. I wish people would think twice before buying Coach, Michael Kors, Dooney & Bourke, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Hermes, and other outrageously priced designer handbags. I know I will never choose to own one...unless it is on super clearance for under $50.00. Even then, I would probably opt for a handmade bag by a designer on Etsy.

I would rather spend the money on supplies to make something for someone in need. Or for giving food to a local food bank. Or food or clothing directly to a family in need.

How many hats are in your handbag?




Deb G said...

I like the point you are making here. As for my purse, about six hats. But I got it at a discount from a family friend. Handmade and will probably last my life time if I can get the snap replaced.

Splendid Little Stars said...

hmm...I don't really care about bags at all. (What kind of a girl am I?!)
I find that there is tons more joy in giving to others rather than giving to myself.
I'd love to learn how to make knitted hats so I can create them to give away.
a very thoughtful post, Sinclair!

maryskid said...

What a wonderful post. And a thought provoking one too. I am a big proponent of direct charity, handing out warm blankets to the homeless and some folded cash too. I think I have about ten adult hats in my handbag. As a knitter, I will cast on a warm hat to give away-with credit to you.