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Bag, borrow or steal?

bbosLooking fabulous on a student’s budget 

By Valeria Lento

No, your co-worker didn’t get a raise. So how do you explain all those trendy, new purses she’s been sporting recently? Clearly, she has bagged, borrowed and stolen them.

Bag Borrow or Steal, Inc. offers a wide selection of original designer handbags for its members to borrow, thus saving women the hassle of having to peruse elite boutiques in the search of the ideal bag for a special occasion or black-tie event.

Members can select from six different membership options, ranging from “trendsetter” to “diva deluxe.” The monthly fee range from $19.95 per month to $149.95, depending on a customer’s personal needs and preferences. BBOS requires a three-month minimum commitment to satisfy its initial terms. After that, membership may be cancelled at any time.

A $9.95 round-trip charge, which includes a prepaid UPS return tag and full insurance, is assessed to a member’s account every time a bag is borrowed, and there’s no time limit on a member’s “borrowing” needs, as long as the account is in good status. If a member decides she wants to keep the bag, she has the option to “steal” it for a discounted price, but this only applies to select items.

Bag Borrow Or Steal, Inc. is a Floridian Internet-based corporation that offers an expansive virtual purse closet to all its members. The entity was formed in June 2004, and membership has grown massively in the past year.

Stacey Lapidus, BBOS’s creative director, said the service’s success comes from giving women “the ability to continue to try new styles without the financial commitment associated with purchasing them, as well as the novelty of having access to a closet of hundreds of the most fashionable handbags at your disposal 24 hours a day.”

The service attains its purses through direct relationships with the designers featured on the Web site, Lapidus said, and all bags are in new or like- new condition. “In the case that we do not have a direct relationship, we utilize sourcing methods that range from authorized distribution channels to retail sourcing,” Lapidus said.

Katrina Abutog, a psychology sophomore at the University of Florida, is interested in joining BBOS and finds its services very appealing for young college women who don’t have much to spend on new trends.

“I don’t really have the budget to afford all the trendy purses out there, so this is the way to go if I want to look good with a college budget,” she said.

BBOS calls on women to “dress to impress,” but some take this calling as an invite to overindulgence and superficiality.

“We have a lot of vain people in this world, and we live our lives on the credit card,” Kaleena Thompson, a UF journalism senior, said. “We can’t really afford it, so we put everything on the card, and that habit has carried over into other areas of our lives.”

Although Thompson admits the idea behind BBOS is rather innovative, she’s not interested in trying its services: “If I have to go on a Web site to borrow purses, then maybe I don’t need a purse,” she said. “I’d rather save my money, go to a real store and buy an affordable purse that I could keep forever.”

Regardless of some criticism, BBOS continues to grow, as its members continuously demand more selections of trendy arm candy.

The service’s appeal stems from “a combination of the value the membership delivers and the novelty and enjoyment that our members continue to experience as our site and program continues to evolve,” Lapidus said.It seems to be a big help to all those hoping to look and feel like a million dollars without having to spend nearly as much.

“I think it’s a waste of money to be wasting $500 on a little Chihuahua purse,” Abutog said.

For more information on how to become a member or to simply browse the virtual purse closet, visit

0 0 126 01 April, 2005 Advice, Fashion, Lifestyle, Money April 1, 2005

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