I have never liked the idea of spending a significant chunk of your grocery money on a shopping bag – what will you have left to put inside it? Don’t get me wrong; I do believe in carrying reusable bags and will spend a few dollars to do so, since I can afford it. I’ve been a devotee of the Flip & Tumble bag ($12) for years (and through shopping on foot on three continents) and I’m considering the BagPodz ($20 for 5) as a stocking stuffer. But I’ve seen and been appalled by $50 shopping bags – at that price, I expect it to do the shopping for me, while I sit in the Starbucks in front of the store!

But I took a look at Tom Bihn’s new Moveable Feast and now I understand why they are charging $95 for a shopping bag. On a purely physical note, it’s as complex to manufacture as their knitting bag, the Swift, which costs that much. But mostly, they are selling aspirational shopping. This new bag has built-in pockets with cute labels on them to organize your shopping – there’s one for a bottle of wine, one for a baguette, and even a “specially designed, tapered scabbard: slide a bouquet of flowers into this pocket and you needn’t worry about them falling over on the way home”. Once you have loaded your more proletarian groceries into the lower reaches of your bag, there’s a shelf that folds down to let your delicate produce ride “high and safe” – and visible. They do note (grudgingly?) that a half gallon of milk will fit in the wine or baguette sleeves.

The image conjured up, by both the bag and its name, is of a nightly stop at the neighborhood Marché on your way home to your Paris garret flat, to pick up a bottle and a baguette and maybe a few escargots to prepare for the fascinating friends who congregate at your evening salon. Or perhaps a day out at the local farmer’s market, where you will cram locally bred hormone-free grass-fed beef into the bottom of that bag, to go with five kinds of tomatoes and perhaps some squishy raspberries delicately packed on that upper shelf, with a bottle of the local marionberry vodka in the wine-bottle pocket. (All of which actually is sold in my local farmer’s market. I love Oregon – and never let it be said that I don’t appreciate aspirational shopping. Also, the vodka is very tasty.)

I can’t help but note there is no proudly labeled pocket for canned beans, Cap’n Crunch, or Kool-Aid. Nice bag, though. (ETA: I just saw some more pictures – though maybe it’s telling that they were posted by a new bag owner in Ravelry, not in the ad copy on the TB site. Apparently there ARE pictures to show where paper towels, cereal boxes, milk cartons, and cans go. So maybe it’s just the advertising focusing on the aspirational shopping, more than the bag itself.)

I probably sound more sardonic than I should here; I’m not looking down on anyone, including purchasers of the Moveable Feast bag – if you have the money and want to spend it that way, it might be worth it if it makes you happy every time you shop. Plus, I’ve had a few baguettes jump out of shopping bags that weren’t tall enough to support them. Tom Bihn’s stuff is always well made, so I am certain it will support groceries, even bourgeois ones, as well as aspirations. Also, I am just as susceptible to aspirational shopping as anyone. I resisted the shopping bag, but in the excitement of the release of new designs, I did buy a Maker’s Bag – almost as if I ever went anywhere other than work or home, to places where I needed a cool bag. Almost as if I actually had time to knit up all that yarn in my stash.

(We had a very nice Thanksgiving at the lake house. Over the whole four-day weekend, I went out roughly twice: once to the dump, once when I hauled my erg outside to face the lake and did a half-marathon on it in temperatures that were under 30F when I started.)