Yea or Nay: Market Bags by Jaye Hersh, $95.00-$115.00 at

Several years ago, while living in Ghana, West Africa, a market bag saved my life.
Well.. not really “saved” my life as much as “saved” my gifts and personal belongings from the trash. As usual,  I was running late for a plane and in Africa this is usual okay. Except this was the ONE time that the plane decided to leave on time. As I approached the check out counter, I knew my bags were way over the limit (about 100 pounds over), but the wonderful KLM attendant agreed to let me carry on all my excess if I could somehow distribute the items into smaller bags.
Enter the $.50 USD plastic market bags.
The bags held my items (which included several drums, 2 stools, and of course, a complete wardrobe by a designer named Alfie), better than the expensive set of Travelpro luggage I inherited from my parents.
I made the plane and my family got their gifts.
Fast forward 10 years.
While browsing the net, I saw a popular boutique,, selling my $.50 luggage for $95.00 and up.  While the intuition bags are cute and the $35 donation to the International Rescue Committee for each bag sold is admirable, $95.00-$115.00 for these plastic bags is utterly ridiculous.  If you’ve ever been to a developing nation or to your local laundromat, you know that these bags cost, at most, $5.00 a pop.  Even with the slight extras added (lining, plastic piping, etc), a whopping $90.00 price difference is crazy and raises suspicions that the site added an additional $35 onto the price of the item (maybe even a little more) in order to get us to buy it.
Which brings up the question- are marketers using our goodwill and charitable nature to help sale items and make a nice profit? Is it justifiable to mark up an item if a portion of the sale price is going to charity? Is our need to consume so great that we need to purchase something in order to be persuaded to donate?
Yea or Nay: Market Bags at

Love this post? Subscribe for Updates.

    Catherine Brock

    As a Southern California transplant now living in the Midwest, Catherine has turned layering into an art form and accepted that UGGs actually do have a place in the stylish lady's wardrobe. She's been featured in Woman's World Magazine,, Refinery29, and has made appearances on ABC7 Chicago, FOX2News St. Louis, KCAL9 Los Angeles, Fox19 Cincinnati, WGN TV Chicago and WCPO TV Cincinnati.

    Blog Comments

    nay…i saw cuter and bigger ones at Target on CLEARANce this week for $6.98 and they are only at 30% so you know they are going lower

    A big NAY.  I try to donate directly whenever possible.  I feel really bad that they are charging, what is it? – thousands and thousands of percent over? 

    If a charity was importing them directly, and I knew that a large portion of the $ was going to the needy, I would maybe buy one.  But I’d also bet that they wouldn’t be over $100, either.

    I’m no fan of Intuition’s poor customer service, either.

    no way! you can get the market bags for a cheap price and then donate 35 bucks to charity and have a fair bit left over.

    If you’ve ever watched the documentary the Corporation, you’ll see companies doing insane things to continue making more and more and more money, regardless of what’s actually sustainable. I suspect something similar is at work here, just with an adapted approach – there’s a lot more guilt about Western privilege these days, and now it’s being capitalized on.

    I would say nay – not that the bags aren’t awesome – and purchase such bags at a lower price elsewhere, and then give my money directly to the charity. I save money, and the charity likely gets more money, sooner.

    Oh my God! I can’t believe that they are charging those kinds of prices for what is essentially a glorified garbage bag. I actually have a few of these from a trip to Hong Kong a few years ago. They are EXTREMELY sturdy, but they are not high-fashion handbags. I really think it’s criminal when companies try to pass off “nothing” as “something”—especially when charities are involved. But then again, if someone is stupid enough to buy these for $90+….

    Nay! I think its a waste of money for that bag. As stated, those bags can be bought from the laundromat or the local dollar store, wal-mart, etc. If it’s about donating, I’m sure we could donate $35 directly to the International Rescue Committee without the $70 “cover charge”. I think this is ridiculous. Unfortunately since the media now calls it the “must-have” bag, people are going to spend their hard or not so hard earned money on it anyway:( Again.. Nay

    I’ve seen those bags all over Brooklyn.  They must be crazy.  There is no way that I would pay that much for a bag I can get for some pocket change, in my old neighborhood.  Too often companies take advantage of their customers’ lack of common sense, and charge exhorbitant prices for items it took them about 50 cents to make.

    Yes they are playing on people’s goodwilled nature to make a profit.  At $90, even after the $35 charitable contribution, that still leaves $55 for profit.  If its for profit, how about a 50/50 split or give it all to charity.  And knowing how much they really cost in other countries, that only make it worst.

    NAY! If anyone would like to feed a child in Uganda for a month ($10) or provide all of their school expenses plus food for a month ($25), I can give you the name of a reputable organization. I have friends who volunteer with the organization and see all of the money actually going to the kids. Otherwise, for all you know, you pay your $35 and $30 gets lost in administration fees…


    Americans being frivolous with their own money is in no way helpful to people in other countries. In this country, we have the privilege of having enough. It’s a slap in the face to poorer nations to throw our money away on something like this, as though we’ve got so much it hardly matters.

    We’re better than that.

    Giving to charity is a noble cause. But let’s not re-wrap ignorant consumerism and call it charitable giving.

    If you’ve said it once, you’ve said it a hundred times, Budget Fashionista—pay for quality, not bogus trends.

    NAY NAY NAY!!!

    Those look like the kind of bags my aunts used to cart around their crocheting in when I was a child.  I think we might still have a couple somewhere in the basement.  LOL

    My opinion?  Buy a tote bag to carry your stuff and donate the difference to your favorite charity.

    I visited the brick and mortar location of Intuition in LA (on Pico Blvd), and everything is ridiculously overpriced.  I saw the same exact items that I saw in NYC (handbags, shirts, blouses, tees, hats,  etc) at 3x the price. This store has become an “IT” location.  Celebrity mags usually feature a celebrity (Britney, Lindsay, Nicole etc) shopping there. How much of their profits from the selling of these bags are they donating?  Nay and Shame on Intuiton!!!!

    It’s so easy for some of us to buy an expensive bag, with some of the proceeds going to “charity”, and write it off as our contribution to society and the world. I honestly feel that people who buy this bag will be using that kind of logic.
    So, if you want to donate to the “Help the Designer buy various flats in various exotic locales” fund, please, please, shove the image of starving and malnourished children out of your head and buy this bag.
    This designer really needs your help.
    Along with the bag, they’ll enclose a picture of the designer, so you can see who your hard earned money is going to.
    You can write letters-they’ll be ignored by the designer, but you can still write them.
    Please. It would be terrible if this designer has to suffer with only ONE flat in NYC.
    This designer only eats three luxurious, gourmet meals a day!?! If you donate, this designer can eat four.
    So please, call 1-800-HELP-DESIGNER, to buy this bag and help a designer.


    nay fo’ sure.  i have about 5 of these bags from each time i go to mexico and i do not think i have ever paid more than $5. 

    although i am with you mama, these bags can carry everything.  recently i fit my toddlers entire wardrobe for a month in it including his trucks and trains.

    i def love me my market bag!

    That’s a huge NAY!!!!! The audacity to charge that much money after the $35 donation. Companies feed off of our consumerism. Volunteering and donating to your surrounding community will make you feel soo much better than carrying around a $100 bag 😉

    those bags look they are worth 10 bucks something i would find at the local grocery store and extremely ugly!

    I find it offensive when companies take advantage of those in third world countires for their own benifit.  Granted, they are giving a donation, but if their interest was truely for others, I think the donation would be a lot more.  On behalf of all of my friends and family who live in third world countries where I have been, I am offended.  It doesn’t make me want to buy from them very much!

    NAY to buying more crap, period. 🙂

    By the way, I’m jealous you got to live in Ghana. That is where my folks are from. Ah, home! 🙂

    NAY… i live in a developing country…

    i would not even pay 50 cents here…

    i�ve seen too much produce being toted in that kind of bag to even be able to fathom anyone wanting to pay more than 10 dollars for it…

    those bags only cost a dollar or two in chinatown.  i would not spend anything more than that on one of those bags.

    isn’t gap doing the same thing with the gap (red) line.  it’s ridiculous, most likely they jacked up the price from what it would be if they didn’t use it as charity. so they are still profiting.

    This must be a joke.  NAY NAY NAY.
    I live in New York and the only people that have bags that look like that are the bag ladies who talk loudly to themselves.

    I say a BIG NAY ALSO!!! Aim not really understanding the buy a shopping bag to buy grocery’s.Yes I understand it is for the enviroment,but if I had to pay even $5.00 a bag I would have my grocery money spent.

    HEYYYY AKWAABA!!!! I totally know what you are talking about being that my parents hail from the wonderful country of GHANA!!! and grew up with these bags all around the house. now to see your feature about them being 95.00 dollars I had to show my mom so we could both laugh together and in typical Ga fashion my mother said(I’m spelling it somewhat phonetically)  “qwuaa! ama yey seca!!” which would mean in Ga “what! they are crazy!!” thanks for the laugh fashionista

    Yay on the market bags in cute designs and colors, nay on Intuition’s horrible price tag.  I’ve seen lots of cute market bags, and bought a really useful oversized one with a cute assorted fruit print all over it for just $10.

    I actually just purchased one from (or if you’re fortunate to live in NY you can go to the store)for only $1.95. 

    So I definitely say big fat NEGATIVE!

    nay nay nay
    its been to long the
    acceptance of profiting off the labor
    of poor people especially in
    3rd world countries frankly Iam appalled.

    get over yourselves. they are cute and it’s fun. I appreciate kitch.

    You cannot copy the content of this page.