Feedbags, Man Purses and Home Invasions

By Cam Mather

Many years ago when I was doing a lot of electronic publishing I did some work for a charitable organization. They were preparing for a large fundraising gala and so I attended a meeting of the organizing committee at the home of one of the members. I had been asked to design the program for the evening. I remember two things about the meeting. First was all of the talk about home invasions.  They spent ages discussing their home alarm systems. They really seemed to live in fear of being a victim of a home invasion. It’s not something I had ever thought to worry about because there’s not really anything of value in my home. Except the books and most of those we got for a couple of bucks each. But these women had lots of money and jewelry and artwork and fur coats and so I guess that’s why they were a little concerned.

The other thing I remember from that meeting was how often they mentioned “Holt Renfrew.” I’m not much of a shopper and so I didn’t know anything about Holt Renfrew, but they all seemed pretty into it. Holt Renfrew is a high-end Canadian department store. Wikipedia compares it to Saks Fifth Avenue, so obviously, I’ve never been in one.

The other day I was reading one of my day old (and therefore free to me) newspapers and I happened to notice a full-page ad for a new fundraiser that Holt Renfrew is running. They are raising money for a food related charity, and they’re doing it by selling hand bags designed by someone apparently I should know, but don’t.


I would never be critical of a corporation being involved with a charity (well of course I would, but I won’t comment on this one) but this bag intrigues me. I, in fact, already own a bag just like this and I acquire them regularly. My basmati rice comes in them. I find them incredibly wasteful and I wonder why the rice companies in India package their rice this way, but I’ve given up trying to understand it or change it. I just get the bags when I buy the rice.

As a hoarder in training, I have a real problem throwing anything away. I have a stockpile of these basmati rice bags. And now, I can take my basmati rice bags and turn them into purses! And I will become very wealthy doing it. Because the people who shop at Holt Renfrew have lots of money! So much in fact that they worry about people invading their homes to take it.

This all brings me back to a classic Seinfeld episode where Jerry starts using a handbag which everyone calls a purse, but which Jerry defends by claiming it’s “European!”

I’ve always needed a purse but as a man I could never use one. By the time I get my glasses and my wallet and my keys with the fob and other assorted items stuffed in to my pant’s pocket, I look like one of those riot policeman who is loaded up with tear gas around their waist. I think the concept of a purse is brilliant, but I simply won’t carry one, even if it’s European.


Cam’s Designer Man Purse and just a few of the things every man would like to be able to carry in a purse, rather than in his weighed-down pant’s pockets.

I think there could be something to this “basmati rice designer man bag” concept. It’s not leather so it doesn’t look like a real purse. It looks kind of retro and indie. It looks like something a really cool, innovative, trendsetting hipster would carry. Either that or something a crazy person would use. Either way, people will get out of your way on the sidewalk when you walk by.

And best of all, if you lose it, you just have to buy another bag of rice and make a new one!

These highly prized designer “manbags” will be available on my website shortly, as soon as I can find that box of rice bags that I’ve been saving. Prices will start at $30 and no portion of the sale price will go to charity. Well it goes to me, which at my level of income these days pretty much is a charity. With the proceeds I’ll invest in new tools to grow food to be eaten locally. These tools will in fact increase my net worth and make me more vulnerable to a home invasion. “Okay, you can have the Yardworks shovel, but please, don’t take the cultivator. No! Not the cultivator! What kind of animal would steal a man’s best cultivator?!”

* * * * * * *

Thanks to everyone who left comments on my post about the passing of our dog Morgan. We really appreciate you taking the time to convey your sympathies. Michelle wants everyone to know that her comment “No more pets” was said shortly after Morgan’s passing. She is quite receptive to acquiring another dog and we have no doubt that a dog in need of a home will come our way.

5 Responses to “Feedbags, Man Purses and Home Invasions”

  • joe keneson:

    just get a small back pack. no one will say a thing because it looks moore manly

  • Cathy:

    This idea won’t fly. It has to say Cabela’s, or Home Depot on it. Nice try though…

  • Katie:

    The best is that your man purse is “No Name.” The people at Holt would never go for your (literally) No Frills bag! 🙂

  • Great idea! Maybe the men would stop asking the women to “put this in your purse please” eh? BTW I buy rice that comes in one of those bags. I think it is some kind of burlap type material and it has a zipper! I prefer that kind of rice bag over plastic. How about woven plastic feed bags sewn to be reusable grocery bags?

    About another dog? Don’t worry. One will adopt you.

  • Gerrit Botha:

    This is too funny. When I came to Canada I was kitted out with a man’s handbag, but abandoned it when I realized I wasn’t in Europe. It was rectangular, made of leather, with a wrist strap, and it worked very well but alas I bowed to public pressure! The only person who didn’t laugh at me was my wife. Thanks for taking me down memory lane.

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About Cam
Cam Mather and his wife Michelle live independently off the electricity grid using the sun and wind to power their home and their CSA. Cam is working towards the goal of making his home “zero-carbon” and with his extensive garden he aims to grow as much of his own food as possible. He is available to speak at conferences and other events and has motivated many people to integrate renewable energy into their lives, reduce their footprint on the planet and get started on the path to personal food, fuel and financial independence.
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