A serious friendship dilemma…

I understand that not everybody is a handbag lover. In fact, no one in my life takes handbags as seriously as I do. Bags are my “thing”, which I’m willing to bet they are yours too since you’re here on PurseBlog – I love my PurseBlog tribe! While no one in my life truly understands my bag obsession or is as into fashion as much as I am, they each have their own hobbies and interests that they choose to spend their money on. Photography, travel, food, and art are popular hobbies in my circle of friends and I enjoy hearing about each of these things in detail from the people that I surround myself with. I take a strong interest in hearing from my loved ones about their passions and sharing my love for purses with them in return. It’s no secret to anyone who knows me that I’m a bag gal, and try as I might I just can’t keep my excitement to myself when I acquire a new bag.

As a bag and fashion lover, it’s not unusual for my friends to send me photos of bags, accessories, or clothes they’re thinking about buying and I’ve become the friend that everyone asks “do I need this?” or “is this cute?” before buying an item.  I’ve guided friends through their first designer purchases and have weighed in on non-designer purchases many a time as well. Friends will also share photos of their new acquisitions that they have already purchased, which I love to receive. It’s nice to connect with my friends and family over something that brings me so much happiness, and fashion has always been that source of joy for me. In preschool I came home from school and announced to my mom, “I’m interested in looking my best at all times now”, and I have really tried to uphold myself to that standard.

So imagine my surprise last week when I received a text from one of my very best and oldest friends on this entire planet to tell me she “bought a bag that looks just like a Louis Vuitton for $40”. My first instinct was to stay cool. This friend dresses well and makes good life choices, maybe it just was an inspired by Louis Vuitton bag…which is kind of better, right? I texted back and asked to see a photo with hopes of obtaining more details and trying to stay as neutral as possible. I was not met with good news. She sent back a text…and after nearly blacking out from shock I laid eyes on a photo of a knock off Neverfull in Damier Ebène canvas, Louis Vuitton logo and all. The text also came along with an explanation that she had purchased it online after seeing it on a blogger that she follows who linked to it, which is shocking in and of itself, but I digress.

As a lifetime purse lover and contributor to a website dedicated entirely to purses, this one hit me hard. Like, really hard. Truthfully I feel lucky to have avoided this situation for as long as I have, but I really didn’t know how to navigate it when it arose. If I were to remove the element of friendship from the situation, it would be simple and I would only have one piece of advice: return or burn. But this is my very best friend and I really didn’t want to make it an awkward situation, so I said…nothing. I just ignored it and moved on. I would have liked to have offered alternatives, scoured the internet for a $40 tote that was amazing and not an illegal counterfeit, or asked the simple but burning question on my mind: why?

Why did I say nothing? While I have a few reasons, a big one being that I didn’t want to get into a fight over it, the main reason took some true soul searching for me to figure out. The truth of it is I didn’t want to appear condescending, which I think it could come across that way since I own a lot of authentic Louis Vuitton. I do believe that if this friend knew the conditions that counterfeits were made in and how illegal they were, she wouldn’t have purchased it, which I hope to organically bring into conversation soon to prevent her from making future counterfeit purchases. In a way I blame the person who linked to it in the first place, but I kind of regret not making my stance known to my friend even though the bag had already been purchased when I found out about it.  This has very much been a learning lesson for me, although I hope to never encounter this situation again.

I’m posing the question to you: what would you have done if you were in my shoes? Would you have said something or ignored it like I did?

Original illustration by Kat J. Weiss

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