Free Giveaway! Where’s the Value?


I woke up at 3:30am yesterday and couldn’t fall back to sleep. I accomplished more in that three hours before I get ready for work than I do on weekends where I have 48 hours all to myself.

Here’s one accomplishment I made in the wee hours of the morning (amongst other greatness, of course!):

I have an internship at Mercy For Animals which starts on September 4, 2012. I’m not allowed to carry any type of purse/briefcase, etc. or wear any kind of boots, belts, clothing made from animal products (such as leather) on the premises. I’m trying to extend this practice into my life outside of the internship as well by eliminating animal-based products that wouldn’t necessarily go with me to the office.

As of yesterday I had one Guess purse and matching wallet, three Coach purses and two Coach wallets in my closet.

Here’s the approximate monetary value of each purse:

1. Small pink Coach wallet: $50.00
2. Large Coach wallet: $150.00
3. Carly Coach purse: $300.00
4. Black Coach Medicine Bag-style Purse : $450.00
5. Black and Silver Coach purse: $290.00
6. Guess purse: $99.00
7. Guess wallet: $40.00
8. Franco Sarto boots (2 pairs): approximately $75.00 per pair I believe.

I felt it would be hypocritical of me to continue carrying these items in the future. I feel conflicted when I tell people that I’m a vegan and am trying to get into the animal rights activism movement and am standing there with my black Coach purse with leather on it. I’m not practicing what I’m preaching and that’s not cool.

For a fun(ny) side note, the calf-length Franco Sarto boots were never worn. I have really muscular calves. Bless the lady’s heart that was able to zip me up into those boots. It’s the only time I’ve ever had to be zipped into something and it will be my last. The value here is just sheer laughter and stupidity on my part for purchasing boots that I wouldn’t be able to zip myself into! I learned my lesson.

I’ve been reading VegNews magazine and have been noticing an ad in each issue for Vegan purses made by Susan Nichole. The ads showcase very cute, both casual and professional, purses which are very stylish.

At around 4:00am, I was on her website purchasing purses. Susan Nichole had a back-to-school SALE! I bought one purse and got a different purse of equal value free. (And the best part is that I didn’t have to be going back to school to take advantage of the sale)! I got one shoulder purse and one cross-body purse. They are so cute!

After I bought the purses I pondered what to do with the multiple purses and wallets and also boots I had setting in my closet. I wondered what would happen if I posted that I was giving my Coach andGuess purses and 2 pairs of Franco Sarto boots away for free on Facebook. I made a post at 6:30am that read “Does anyone have any interest in 3 Coach purses….?” Ask a stupid question…There was immediate interest. By noon I was pleased to report on Facebook that the purses and boots had new owners.

I couldn’t sell the purses because, to me, that would be selling a product that has leather on it and profiting from the death of an animal. However, I couldn’t justify throwing the purses away either. Reduce, reuse and recycle of course, right? I wanted my items to go to good homes.

My friend Robin had a great suggestion for me. She said that she’d take 2 purses and would make a donation to a charity for me in return. I selected Lakeshore Paws as my charity. I thought what a fabulous idea! I never made the donation a requirement. I wonder if the items I was offering would’ve gone that fast if I’d made the donation a requirement or had set a minimum donation amount. I won’t ever know. I found people willing to donate even though they knew they didn’t have to. I love that!

By giving away my stuff everyone was happy! The new owners of the designer purses and boots are happy with their slightly used items. My closet is happy…if a closet can be happy. An animal at Lakeshore Paws will feel safe and that makes most people feel happy. The value isn’t a monetary value. The value is the feeling of happiness knowing we’ve helped an animal at risk.

Be happy. Be all kinds of happy! And help animals in need too!

Sara Sawochka

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