Fur coats and poor women

In my town, Peta has donated old (real) fur coats to women in the homeless shelter.
They have marked them recycled so no one can resell them, but they figured that they may as well serve Some good, instead of destroying them.

It seems counterproductive to their cause.

However, in a real world sort of way it seems like they tripped and banged their head. When they woke up, they found they had gotten a shred of commonsense. Cold poor people who are about to die are more important than animals.

I see three things happening next.

  1. I see a poor woman walking down the street wearing a fur coat, and I see some conservative seeing her, and getting all outraged over abuses of our welfare system, a la Ronald Reagan and his “people picking up their welfare checks in a Cadillac”.

  2. I see the fur coat being stolen from her almost immediately.

  3. I see someone “lifting” and selling some of the donated coats anyway.

I would think that if PETA really wanted to help these women, they’d sell the coats themselves and give the money to the shelter.

No, no, Duck—This is what will happen: Some poor woman will get a fur coat from the PETA shelter program, will be walking down the street in it, and a PETA member will throw red paint on her and yell “MURDERER!”

DDG: *2. I see the fur coat being stolen from her almost immediately.

  1. I see someone “lifting” and selling some of the donated coats anyway.

I would think that if PETA really wanted to help these women, they’d sell the coats themselves and give the money to the shelter. *

Old fur coats, esp. ones that haven’t been properly cared for and stored, don’t actually tend to have a high resale value: the skins deteriorate and become prone to splitting, etc. (They’re also, like lots of luxury items, very prone to becoming obsolete in the changing winds of fashion.) They can still keep somebody warm, and they might raise larcenous impulses in the breasts of some people who don’t know much about fur quality, but they are not likely to inspire a black market in “hot charity coats”, nor are they likely to be much more profitable if sold than if donated.

(Disclaimer: No, I don’t like or wear fur coats but I acquired my grandma’s old one when I was in high school, and wore it for dress-up a few times till I found out by experience what the problems are with old and/or neglected furs.)

It should be noted that PETA, when donating these furs, diminishes their possible resale value by shaving some of the fur off of one arm, and sewing or painting the phrase “Recycled Fur” on it.

. . . which prompted one of the women who received one at a shelter in Cleveland to remark, “I can’t wear this coat–it’s all messed up.” :rolleyes:

I suppose we should expect the poor to to to forgo any display of dignity or self respect. Man, that woman should be grateful to PETA. :rolleyes:

grienspace, how ridiculous is it for anybody to say, “I’m freezing but that coat has a FLAW in it.”

Why should it be undignified to choose warmth over fashion?

(I can say this because I spent most of my high school and college years getting rained on because I was TOO COOL to use an umbrella. Idiot.)

Umm, I have to agree with grienspace. That women might be more poor than homeless. I could not wear a deliberately damaged coat to work any more than I could wear ripped jeans. (Yes Virginia, some homeless people actually have jobs.)

The point about the unwanted damaged coat is a good one.

I volunteer at a residence center for low income families. I work with kids in an afterschool program. These familes earn, on average, $6,900 per year. There is not enough money for fancy clothes. However, these kids would really rather go cold than wear something clearly marked, “recycled”.

These kids have enough strikes against them in the first place–they are mocked because they receive free or discount lunches at school, they are mocked because they live in the housing projects, they are mocked because many of them do not have two parents at home–these kids will go out of there way to minimize anything that will draw attention to the fact that they are in the financial situation they are in. Wearing nice, clean, undamaged clothes is one of the few things that give these kids pride.

Additionally, some of the parents are in situations where their employers do not know they are economically challenged. They cannot go into their office job wearing a coat that is labeled “recycled” for everyone to see. There are many programs in cities where organizations collect barely used or even new business clothes to give to people who are going for job interviews.

It is very easy to say, “You should be grateful for anything we give you.” when you are the giver. However, you do have to realize that many of the people taking advantage of such clothing programs are not completely destitute, starving, homeless and freezing to death–they are simply in very bad financial straits and need some help. They aren’t begging for any scraps you have–they are requesting your charity in donating some good, quality merchandise that they can still put to some use while keeping what dignity they have left.

That’s my rant for today. Carry on but think about this.

One day all people earning over 1,000,000 a year will pay a little more tax and the poor will be given a cheque.

One day…

Oh no, i forgot, they REALLY need all that designer gear, large house and yacht etc. etc.


one day…

Well put, evilbeth! I’m starting to think you’re not so evil after all…

To clarify, my eye-rolling smilie in my last post was intended to refer to two ideas:

  1. PETA is damned if they do, damned if they don’t. They’re trying to do something charitable for people (which they’re accused of never doing) while reducing the fur resale market, and all they get is snide comments.
  2. There’s something to be said for not looking a gift horse in the mouth, even if it does have bad teeth.

I don’t disagree with most of evilbeth’s post–been there, done that. And while people do deserve a little dignity, some people whose choice is “Wear the donated fur or freeze on the street” should just take the damned coat, IMHO.

I do wonder about the sentence, “Additionally, some of the parents are in situations where their employers do not know they are economically challenged. They cannot go into their office job wearing a coat that is labeled “recycled” for everyone to see.” While there are definitely valid personal reasons for not wanting to do so (the risk of embarrassment, for one), I can’t imagine that you’re claiming these people might lose their jobs for being poor.

As for:

  1. The top 20% of income earners in this country pay 65% of the total taxes collected. The top 1% of income earners pay 21%. How much more would you like them to pay?
  2. That top 1%, which comprises about 1.2 million families, earns on average $719,000 a year. If you think a family of four is buying a lot of mansions and yachts on that, well, think whatever you want.
  3. Who are you to determine what a complete stranger needs?
  4. So, who are these poor who are getting these checks, and do they all just get one solely by virtue of being poor? That’s a pretty stupid plan, not to put to fine a point on it, since it would completely fail to address the root causes of poverty and the often-associated pathologies like drug use and alcoholism.
  5. For your edification, the top 10% of income earners, comprising around 11.9 million familes, make, on average $188,000 per year. And if you think they’re buying yachts on that, you’re nuts.

Well, gee, maybe they just have PRIDE, around their coworkers. Maybe they don’t want people to know they’re having a rough time.
Funny, I mean, it’s not as if this country degrades those who are POOR with insults like lazy, welfare cheats, incompetants, freeloaders…

Gee, Guin, it’s not as if that’s exactly what I just bloody well said, when I said, "While there are definitely valid personal reasons for not wanting to do so (the risk of embarrassment, for one) . . . " :rolleyes: Maybe you should actually read the posts first–you think?

evilbeth appeared, by using the word “cannot,” to imply that there could be consequences for wearing such a coat marked “recycled” to work. I’d like to hear her thoughts on what she meant by that, and not yours, if that’s O.K. with you.

BTW, Guin, I don’t want to get in a fight with you, but I wanted to make clear that I did say exactly what you said while still requesting clarification on evilbeth’s post.

Okay, I appologize. It’s been a long day. For the record, I do think it’s silly to look a gift horse in the mouth. But people do stupid things.

Perhaps they just put the tag on it so other PETA members won’t throw paint at the people…:wink:
I dunno, it just reminds me of canned goods drives where people donate crap like old canned cream corn, or old pumpkin mix, or boxes of corn meal. Instead of yummy things like cut green beans, Campbell’s soup and pasta.

I’ll give you the pasta and Campbell’s soup, but canned green beans? Blech.

Disclaimer: I am a conservative centrist, not a liberal. Still, one of my buttons’ve been pressed over one certain attitude that seems to be popping up in this thread. Sorry about the rant, but…

I do not reside at the “wealthy” end of the economic spectrum. My big thrill last week was spending $17 to buy my son a “real” vacuum cleaner for him to play with (the perfect gift for a 3.5-year-old: a Royal Stick Vac – he spent the whole weekend cleaning his room & volunteering to clean the living room). It’s a big deal for me to drive more than 50 miles from the house because I drive a vehicle that doesn’t get spectacular gas mileage and gas ain’t cheap (yeah, I know, other people got it worse, but I ain’t other people).

I don’t work in an office environment, but I still like to look somewhat kempt. If, for example, someone gave me a jacket because I needed to stay warm, but painted one arm red so it would have no resale value, I would be very unappreciative, even if I had no intention of selling the jacket. It’s arrogant (and asinine) to assume that, just because you gave someone else some old crap you had no use for, that they should just fall all over themselves with grattitude. After all, if it wasn’t for you, they wouldn’t have it, now would they?

Let’s look at the other side of the coin. You like having whatever small amount of dignity you’ve got, right? Then what benefit is there to anyone when you don’t extend the same courtesy to others who aren’t doing as well as you? I’m not suggesting we all tax the rich into poverty and give all the homeless people mansions and Cadillacs, but it’s mean-spirited and/or stupid to intentionally damage goods you give to someone else. Where’s the harm in giving someone something they need without marking it up like a dog marking his territory? What if the homeless person who received such a coat managed to get a job interview shorly thereafter? I don’t know about you, but I sure as hell wouldn’t show up wearing a piece of damaged goods like a shaved fur coat. I’d rather run the risk of making a poor impression by not wearing a coat than run the risk of coming to a job interview looking like a derelict (even if I was a derilict).

Bottom line: I don’t think PETA looks very good doing “charitable acts” in quite this way.


Just to clarify, pldennison, I did mostly mean that they “cannot” because of the pride issue–having their coworkers see what kind of situation they are in.

However, there is another point to not being able to either. If the individual (say, a woman, in this case) is truly homeless and has children, her employer (now knowing she is homeless–if she is asked about it because of the coat) can report her to human services and she loses her kids. The fear of losing one’s children is enough for people to do whatever necessary (for example, go cold instead of taking one of PETA’s ridiculous coats) to keep people in authority from finding out.