Changing the World, One Birkin at a Time

I have been in an acrimonious mood the last few days. Even though my posts probably haven't reflected it, my comments certainly have. Usually, when I run into a post or person I wholly disagree with, I just move on, but lately, I have felt the need to retort.

It all started with this post. Mean or shallow humor can work, but it has to be funny or it just seems sadistic. My comment was pretty bitchy. I looked over her actual website later and she's on meds from leg surgery so maybe it's messing with her funny gene.

Then I came upon a post on this website from one of the paid Dooce ads. This woman has been bankrolling a text ad for months and I'm not sure why since it's clearly a familyish site. So I was looking at her site and she related a story about how she,

”went down and saw my best girl, Lauren at Hermes and ordered a (rare) Taurillon Clemence white Birkin from Hermes with palladium hardware. Even if your name is on "the list" - it will be a 3-5 year wait before you ever see it!”
She then went on about how the Lauren called her to let her know they had the bag and did she want it. She said she was too sick to think about the bag and told the sales girl to call her friend to see if she wanted it, before offering it to the next person on the waiting list(this is how rich, entitled people cut in line).

The sales girl apparently called her husband(smart sales girl) and he surprised her with the bag for her birthday. Nice huh? She also went on about how she couldn't wait to share her Hermes collection with her daughter, yes collection, not purse collection, Hermes collection. Here's the bag.

My husband said it looks like a purse his 98 year old grandma bought at Mervin's, god I love that man. Do you know how much this handbag cost? $16,500. Yes, that is no typo, $16,500. The sales tax alone in the state in which she lives amounts to over $1300. I have a real problem with this, and I told her. I wrote a letter that went something like this:
I'm certain your husband really loves you. However, I think that anyone who
spends over $16,500 on a handbag is totally out of touch with the realities of the larger world.

Do you know if you bought yourself a nice, modest $500 bag, you could have used the remainder to fund 10 years of education for 6 different girls in places like Cambodia, India and Vietnam.(Room to Read-an awesome education non-profit)

Do you know girls in these countries start factory work as early as four, and frequently end up in the sex trade? You could have provided scholarships that would have fundamentally changed the lives of six real people and forwarded progressive change in their countries.

Or,
you can have a white purse.
Now, with my blondness and minimal blogging experience, I clicked on submit like five times because I couldn't figure out why my comment didn't post. Only then did I realize she had comment moderation set and would have to approve my post before it appeared. I wrote this lady a mean-ass email and I probably sent it to her like five times. Needless to say, she hasn't posted it.

I'm guessing this woman and her family probably do quite a bit of philanthropic work cause rich people love that and it's advantageous at tax-time. Some disclosure about me is necessary here. I have not taken a vow of poverty, I have not foresaken all material pleasures. We live in a nice house close to the beach in a beautiful part of Southern California.

This is my single extravagance, I say extravagant because we could have purchased the same house for far less if we were willing to live further inland, so extravagant, ie. not at all a necessity. I made a decision when I first came to California that I did not move 3,000 miles from home to live an hour from the beach, I wanted to be able to walk to it, and I did.

I understand that everything is relative. Me splurging on a $90 cashmere sweater(twice in my life) is probably the equivalent of her dropping $15,000+ on a purse. Maybe if I had that level of wealth, I'd be rockin a Birkin but I don't think so.

My aunt has done a lot of work with Room to Read and she has funded the construction of several schools and provided an education to many girls. A few years back she traveled to Vietnam to see one of the schools her money built and the girls who would study there and she related to me what it felt like to see the difference you were making in the lives of these very real girls. Even from a purely selfish standpoint, I just don't think a possession could ever bring you that kind of pleasure.

My husband and I haven't eschewed all material things and I care about the way I look, but we try really hard in the midst of the looks-obsessed, consumerist culture that surrounds us all, to teach our children that what you look like isn't who you are and things, while they can be fun, distracting and make your life easier, don't make you happy.

I hope we have some success here because I really think if we could all move away from the beliefs that are hammered into us about what it means to look a certain way or have things, we could change the world.

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30 comments:

Sexy Daddy said... July 2, 2008 at 1:14 PM  

Holy Crap! Grandma's hand bag is worth $16,500! I'll be visiting Grandma today so I may be a little late home tonight...

Formerly Fun said... July 2, 2008 at 1:21 PM  

Honey I think Grandma's is probably made of Pleathor. The leather in the Birkin bag must be like $5,000 a yard, maybe it was a free-range, grass-fed, Kobe cow. Either that or they massage the cow daily with $200 La Mer hand cream, "hey, ma purse ain't got no wrinkles."

Formerly Fun said... July 2, 2008 at 1:23 PM  

I think that she originally wanted the $26,000 snake skin one, but you know, with the recession and all.

Eva said... July 2, 2008 at 2:29 PM  

Did you read about the birken ladys mrsa staph infection from a nose job gone wrong? You know what that's called? Karma.

Momo2 said... July 2, 2008 at 4:31 PM  

I'm thrilled to see that you brought up this crazy, selfish woman's blog. My sister and I (she lives in TX, I'm in ME) sit on the phone and go over the absolute GLOATING, bragging and in your face fuck-you-ish-ness of her posts. Did you go back into the archives and read how they went to Disney as a treat when oil hit $100 a barrel? Her husband is some oil muckity-muck and people all over the US are going without food, medicine and heat because of the cost of oil and she's bragging about Disney when oil hits $100. It's totally sickening. I think the whole site is a big Fuck-You to the husband's first wife, as she is obviously the latest. I've forwarded her website address to everyone I know and they're all horrified. If you need a good laugh at someone else's expense, hit her site..I've never seen anyone try so hard to prove her and her child's worth in my life.

CageQueen said... July 2, 2008 at 4:49 PM  

I found her website some time ago off of Dooce, too. I continue to read it if only for the ability tolive vicariously through her. Her husband is in oil. She does seem to do a lot of charity. You should see the dollhouse built for her 1.5 year old!! I kinda wondered why she paid to advertise a family site, too, but I digress, she can certainly afford it! Her illness is big-time serious: antibiotic resistant staph infection (much like the one that killed Cameron Diaz's father recently). She has an IV to her heart so maybe her husband bought it to distract her. All I know is, even if I DID have the $$ it woouldn't be spent on purses.

Formerly Fun said... July 2, 2008 at 4:54 PM  

Eva- Oy girl,glad you said it because I didn't want to.

momo2- You know I hadn't thought about it but I think your right, this is a big fuck you to wife #1.
This site is so, "look what I have," it's sad. And literally, she's paying around $150 a week to be on the Dooce text ad, for what. Hi, let's pay to make people envious.

I wanted to touch on the U.S. economic situation because so many people are losing their homes,jobs, benefits and things are pretty bad but I also wanted a quantifiable example of where this money could have gone.

I have to say, just because you have the $ to buy something, doesn't mean you should.

momo2 said... July 2, 2008 at 6:23 PM  

I also wanted a quantifiable example of where this money could have gone.

You're so right! I live below the poverty level. I'm a single mom with two small girls, one of whom is severely autistic and even with our limited funds, we give what we can to our local food pantry. My kids may not have memories of Birkin bags or trips abroad (that they're too young to remember), but they'll remember that they we laughed together every single day and that we were so rich in love. I hope that this chicks kid will be able to say the same, but somehow I doubt it.

NYC1040Park said... July 2, 2008 at 8:22 PM  

I read what you all wrote and went to her site for the first time. It was not that offensive. in fact, she seems to be a very devoted Mother - So she likes nice things -- so does Oprah (not a crime last I checked) and I do not see you bashing her. It sounds like she has a very serious disease (the person that called it KARMA should be seriously ashamed)

I am a DR (in NYC) and MRSA killed 22,000 people in the US last year. She looks like a pretty devoted Mom and that is her life and what she feels comfortable in her lifestyle.

I think its sad how you sit around and play "mean girls" ---

i really had admiration for the woman that is the single Mother with a daughter with special needs -- its a sad day when someone cannot be happy for others prosperity

I grew up abused, poor and had no love in my house - in fact, I did not even know my father - and had a chemically addicted Mother ....yet, I did not harp on others that had more -- I went to med school and got a scholarship/grants and I too own a Birkin (actually 2) and wear it with pride


Until you walk in someone's shoes -- you should not judge

nYC1040park said... July 2, 2008 at 8:25 PM  

Your "Room to Read" doesnt even benefit children in America

Trying touting something that helps our own first

Formerly Fun said... July 2, 2008 at 9:30 PM  

Did I rip on her kid? Did I even rip on her? I said she was out of touch with reality and I think that's true.

MRSA is a very serious infection, she's extremely lucky to have access to the best doctors in the country. A lot of people would like to have health care period, this doesn't make the fact that she owns a multitude of these bags ok.

I also wrote about Rooms to Read because I am familiar with the work of the organization and I wanted to illustrate very specifically just what $16,500 could do for other people. If you would like to know of a great domestic non-profit, I suggest you try Second Harvest.

http://www.secondharvest.org/

And they serve the U.S. exclusively, so you should be happy about that.

I think paying that kind of money for “nice things” is an abomination. A $16,500 purse is nothing more than a status symbol. I also don't think other people doing it makes it ok.

Playing mean girls? She puts it out there, she is paying to share this with us. This is what I would call avarice. And if you think she is above reproach, see her analysis of the Miss America contestants.
http://occasionallyfunny.blogspot.com/2008/01/let-games-begin.html

GoldmanSus said... July 2, 2008 at 9:40 PM  

I am not sure WHERE you got the price that you are throwing out there with such authority. For a person that owns NONE you should at least get your facts straight -- you are mistaken by $10,500

Typical I would not expect anyone as myopic and jealous as you because you DO NOT have nice things to throw facts out that are not correct.

I am going to do a little more investigating on these "charities" you seem to know about --can I ask you how much you gave to charity last year??

Yeah.....exactly what I thought

I am sure you will not want this posted ---


Negative -- Negative---- I hope you are more uplifting to the people you give facials too

GoldmanSus said... July 2, 2008 at 9:43 PM  

OhmyGod - for a woman "Crippled with self doubt" you have the audacity to rip on someone's handbag while you have a plastic surgery fund?



How freaking pathetic is that??? You are obsessed in the worst way

Oh and you take paypal --- original

What is a good bikini wax going for?

Anonymous said... July 2, 2008 at 9:47 PM  

http://www.designerhandbags101.com/designer-handbags/hermes-birkin.aspx

Formerly Fun said... July 2, 2008 at 10:04 PM  

I'll address all 5 negative comments since they all came from the same IP address.

You're right, I don't have intimate knowledge of the cost of these bags, I went here to find the cost.

http://www.hermes-birkin.com/bags.asp?category=Birkin&page=3

The plastic surgery fund is funny, get over yourself.

I'm happy to post what you write, it would just be easier if you put them all together instead of writing a bunch of different ones.
Oh, and I love how you answer your own questions, cool.

Sexy Male Spouse said... July 2, 2008 at 10:16 PM  

Meow indeed! Gentleman, I believe we have a cat fight!

GoldmanSus said... July 2, 2008 at 10:25 PM  

I have mutiple addresses on one computer -but being in the field of plastic surgery myself

I just find your opinions extremely myopic

You seem to be so insightful yet you are not educated (and I do not mean schooling - I am referring to insightful)

From what I can tell you are in a beauty based business as well - in Southern CA (which by beauty standards) is a pretty vain place (albiet a pretty one)

I just find it odd how you probably deal with people of a certain income level (high) constantly and you act as if you took offense

you reiterated someone else's remark about "karma" and what the other blogger has is a very serious illness (MRSA) that if I read correctly it was not from plastic surgery it was from tainted stitches (colonized) during SINUS surgery -- totally different

You are dead on, the plastic surgery fund is light hearted and would have been funny had you not viciously attacked someone for enjoying a handbag

I dont know either one of you but a friend of mine in NYC sent me your link knowing I loved these bags as well --

Hence, I will just go one record saying you are totally offbase on prices and it makes you seem very petty -- from seeing your photo you are a very pretty girl you do not need to be catty

I give away a certain amount of probono surgery every year to abused Mothers (since I was a product of an abused family) if you saw me carrying a Birkin would you assume I did not give to charity either??



Goldman, MD

Momo2 said... July 3, 2008 at 4:45 AM  

Myopic Mean Girl seeking same. Should have a sense of humor, a thick skin and the balls to tell hypocrites to get over themselves. I think our friend in NY needs to remember that we live in a country where free speech is allowed. If our Birkin buying buddy in Texas doesn't want folks opinions, she shouldn't be shelling out endless advertising on one of the most popular websites in the country. We're all just giving our honest opinions, something I'm pretty sure we're still allowed to do. I adore Formerly Funny because she's real to me. I relate to her and get her. If other certain people don't feel the same way...why are they here? Posting 5 times? It's just like TV, folks...if you don't like it, turn it the frig off. And seriously..Mean Girls? Why not. You'll recognize us by our $20 TJ Maxx handbags.

Momo2 said... July 3, 2008 at 5:06 AM  

And also!! (My coffee just kicked in)

"I really had admiration for the woman that is the single Mother with a daughter with special needs -- its a sad day when someone cannot be happy for others prosperity"

I live in Maine. I just spent the winter seeing 100's of people spending the days in our local library or mall because they couldn't afford to stay at home and run the heat. Elderly, moms with small kids, you name it. Maine is the state most dependent on oil in the US. People are leaving the state in droves because of oil prices. I personally know at least 4 families who went without food, prescription meds, had utilities shut off, cars uninspected and more, just to be able to keep warm at night. Did I mention we live in Maine? Where it's COLD from October to April? The average heating cost of a small home here right now using oil is $3000 per year, and that's a SMALL home. My sisters' oil tank costs $2000 a whack to fill. If you saw families huddled in the library with little kids crying to go home and the poor mother saying that they can't, because it's too cold there, you'd get angry too reading about such wretched excess. Maybe the Birkin buyer in TX is a great mother, maybe she's a great charity worker, that will never be foremost in my mind. What will be foremost in my mind is her collecting pocketbooks that would heat homes or feed families for a winter. There. I'm going to go start my day. Great post, Formerly Fun, it got us all going!

Formerly Fun said... July 3, 2008 at 7:17 AM  

Ok, given the defensiveness of the comments and where the email was routed from,I'm going to assume this is either Kristi or one of her friends.

Clearly I peed on your purse parade. I'm sorry you have a serious MRSA infection, what Eva said was harsh, but the very fact that you can't understand why in the current economic climate, an oil exec's wife purchasing a $15k, $10k, whatever, purse would elicit hostility from people is telling.

Anonymous said... July 3, 2008 at 7:46 AM  

and seriously? Goldman- "Myopic"? we get it, you a smart person.... Please bitch, keep it real. near-sighted will do just fine here.

Formerly Fun said... July 3, 2008 at 8:10 AM  

Momo- You can be my wingman anytime. BTW, living in TX, does your sister know who pursegirl really is? She is all over the internets and has a pretty, um interesting back story.

Spatula said... July 3, 2008 at 8:11 AM  

Wahoo! Flame comments! Chris, you just made it as a blogger.

Momo2 said... July 3, 2008 at 10:22 AM  

FF, yes, we found out pretty quickly who she (Birkin Bag) was, not exactly low profile about who she is. And the interesting past..umm...yeah. I'm pretty sure my teen-aged nephews keep a copy stashed under the mattress. Have a great vaca and eat some corn for us!

Sexy Daddy said... July 3, 2008 at 7:38 PM  

So, Grandmas purse is not worth $16, 500?

Anonymous said... July 18, 2008 at 1:15 AM  

I see that one post-modern Marie Antoinette is huffily revamping her Fiddle-While-Rome's-Burning vanity project to accept private subscribers (voyeurs?) only...apparently fabulous wealth cannot, in fact, buy everything. Congratulations, FF et al., you've definitely got the power.

Formerly Fun said... July 18, 2008 at 8:49 AM  

Anon, Very intersting,looks like she's waffling on the issue. Don't worry, if she does I'll sign up under a nom de plume if needed, gotta stay connected with my bff right? She's definately read my blog because she quotes directly what I said about her being out of touch with reality, she acknowledges it so good on her but I still question why she publicizes her site. She has put some advertising on there which I didn't notice before. And you know she used to be Lucy Lipps, gossip columnist(online I believe). Maybe she's tired of being taken care of and wants to pull in her own cash? Hmmm. I like your Marie Antoinette analogy. I don't fault the people who have more just the conspicuous excess gigantically broadcast at a period of intense economic hardship for people. It's hubris and dangerous. I also wouldn't do this while I put pictures of my house, and kids and family. Why make yourself a target, just go quietly enjoy your family, house, vacations, expensive clothes and purses, jewely, charity balls. But some people have a hard time valuing their stuff and lives unlessother people tell them it's good.

~Mountain Lover~ said... August 21, 2008 at 10:34 PM  

FF, I think I officially have a girl crush on you now. This is something I would do, then feel guilty about the next morning.

I might not have my fingers of the pulse of appropriate behavior, or how NOT to be obnoxious, but when you dare to mention the very thing (oil) that is causing 95% of the world hardship (war, starvation, death, poverty), how should I put this. hmmmm.

How can you not fucking expect to be fucking lynched? I can understand slumming to get grounded and a better grip on reality, but trolling on the wrong side of the tracks to make us envious? Give me a fucking break. Why do you need our validation?

God. Wealth is wasted on the rich.

Jan said... August 24, 2008 at 10:08 AM  

OH YEAH...know exactly who you are talking about and what a piece of work. I do read her blog on occasion and have tried to figure out why she is paying for an ad on Dooce for a family/friend blog. Honey...if it takes a $16,500 purse to make her skirt fly up then she married the right guy but I'm pretty content with my Belk purse that I bought on sale and paid for with MY OWN money.

gnomespeak said... November 6, 2008 at 9:17 AM  

Really? This is controversial?

I'm confused.

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