July 22, 2014

Why I Won’t Be Spending $290 on Jil Sander’s Brown Paper Lunch Bag

I watched and listened in disbelief this morning as I heard this little tidbit on the news: designer Jil Sander’s eponymous brand is supposedly selling a $290 reinforced brown paper lunch bag.

Huh? You cannot be serious. $290? For a brown bag? Apparently, it’s supposed to be reinforced paper and all, but still!

I’m not trying to take a shot at Jil Sander or at people who choose to pay nearly $300 on a glorified paper bag. If you’ve earned it and that’s how you choose to spend it, more power to ya. It’s just that–well–I look at money differently.

Two hundred and ninety dollars for me is a nice weekend in nearby Philadelphia, or a day and night in Mystic, Connecticut (a place I’ve been wanting to visit forever). It’s a non-stop flight to Chicago or nearly four nights in a single room at Stay on Main in Los Angeles. It’s a round-trip train fare to Montreal from New York plus a couple of nights in a dorm room at the youth hostel where I stayed several years ago. It’s a weeklong campsite stay at Cinnamon Bay Campground in St. John and I’m sure quite a few travelers could get by on that kind of money for two weeks in several locations in Southeast Asia.

Whenever I’m tempted to spend money frivolously, I find it helpful to think this way because when it comes down to it, having nice things is nice, but outside of my family and friends, enriching my existence by finding new experiences through travel is the most important thing in my life.

There are certainly luxury items I wouldn’t mind coughing up big bucks for: the classic, well-made handbag that will last me for years. Pumps that are comfortable and won’t go out of style. A sturdy watch that will keep on ticking long after my heart has stopped.

But a brown paper lunch bag? I’m sorry–I just can’t.

In spite of how ludicrous the whole concept seems, I can appreciate the sentiment–it’s commendable to stylishly promote brown bagging it to save money instead of eating out and it’s been a wonderful reminder for me to jumpstart saving for my next big trip.

But instead of the designer brown bag, I’ll just fire up the turquoise lunch box I bought last year on clearance for less than five bucks. It’ll probably last me just as long as Jil Sander’s brown paper lunch bag, but I’ll be $285 dollars richer.

With its clean lines, contrasting black trim, vintage silhouette, and prominent logo placement, my lunchbox may not be as fashion-forward as Jil Sander's Visari clutch, but damn if it's not a hell of a lot cheaper.

Even if I decided I wanted to plunk down $290 for Jil Sander’s designer item, it wouldn’t matter: the brown paper lunch bag (formally called the Visari clutch) is supposedly sold out. 

Shaking my head.

Travel junkies, what does $290 mean to you?

2 Responses to Why I Won’t Be Spending $290 on Jil Sander’s Brown Paper Lunch Bag

  1. Rhona says:

    Ah, F’ no to a $290.00 lunch bag! That’s rich! $290.00 to me means a night in a pretty nice hotel in Toronto. Flying to Ottawa to visit a friend. Part of a downpayment to do the Canada crosscountry train journey from Toronto to Vancouver via The Canadiana. Part of a week stay in a personal cabin at Holiday Beach just outside of my city. I can go on.
    I LOVE your discription of your lunch bag. Vintage silhoulette is killer. Are you a writer in “real life”? You have a wonderful way with words.

  2. Matthew Cheyne says:

    $290 buys me a return ticket to see my Nanna in Perth – 3000 miles away on the other side of Australia on any given day, no need to book in advance although I’d have spare change if I did.

    Just like there are people who will spend $800 on a baby’s stroller, there will be takers somewhere for the $290 lunch bag.