When someone gives you leather as a gift

Katrina

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What do you do when this happens? So far it has happened twice: once with my ex years ago, who gave me a leather watch knowing I was vegetarian. I asked for a receipt. He didn't have it. I wore the watch, but never felt comfortable about it.



The second time was today. My brother gave me a journal bound in real leather. I've been vegetarian for 20+ years. Just a couple months ago, I complained to him about how hard it was to find hiking boots not made of leather, and how I try to not buy leather. So he buys me leather? So what I said was "it's not real leather, is it? Ok.. Well I'm vegetarian... but thank you..." I felt like such a jerk saying that, but come on. It's not like he just met me. I don't feel comfortable using it. He told me he will look for the receipt. If he can't find it, I'll keep it for a while and then give it away or sell it.
 
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PTree15

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Ugh, I'm sorry that happened to you, Katrina. I sometimes wonder whether people think they will "convert" veggie family members back to omnivores by buying such gifts. I think he just didn't want to make the extra effort to find something that wasn't leather. Also, a lot of people think being veggie is just about the food and they forget about things like leather.
 
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Indian Summer

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It depends on the exact circumstances. In some instances I would return it to the gifter, in other cases I would return it to the shop to exchange it, or give it to charity, or possibly in some rare and unlikely cases I would consider keeping it - maybe if it were some item of affectionate value or related to family history somehow.
 

Katrina

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The shop he got it from does not accept returns because of covid. I contacted them to see if they will make an exception. It's not like I chose it for myself. And it's offensive!!

I doubt they'll say "yes," so I think what I'll do is ask him if he wants it back to gift to someone else. It was quite expensive. I don't know what he was thinking. I'm actually kind of mad at him for putting me in this uncomfortable position.
 
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silva

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The shop he got it from does not accept returns because of covid. I contacted them to see if they will make an exception. It's not like I chose it for myself. And it's offensive!!

I doubt they'll say "yes," so I think what I'll do is ask him if he wants it back to gift to someone else. It was quite expensive. I don't know what he was thinking. I'm actually kind of mad at him for putting me in this uncomfortable position.
Yeah, if it were someone not that close I could brush it off, but your brother? It's hard to not think it wasn't intentional!
Although maybe it's one of those things like he was thinking so much about what to get a vegan he got exactly the opposite? :laughing: . Like "she doesn't want animal products, doesn't want animal products.....oh hey that's an animal product!"
 

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I've been a vegan for 30 years, but my dad occasionally still offers me meat or dairy. I know for certain that he's not trying to "convert" me or offend me, though. He simply forgets - he's absent-minded about certain things. Or maybe it's because I very rarely talk about veganism (except in this forum).
 

David3

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The shop he got it from does not accept returns because of covid. I contacted them to see if they will make an exception. It's not like I chose it for myself. And it's offensive!!

I doubt they'll say "yes," so I think what I'll do is ask him if he wants it back to gift to someone else. It was quite expensive. I don't know what he was thinking. I'm actually kind of mad at him for putting me in this uncomfortable position.
.
It was his error, not yours. You didn't do anything wrong, so please don't worry about it.
.
 
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Danielle

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I think some people don't realize that leather comes from animals, they think it's synthetic.
I didn't get leather as a gift, but I got non vegan deodorant and I'm unsure what to do with it. And Colgate, but bf can use that.
 

Andy_T

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In such cases, I politely - but adamantly - return the gift and explain that I do not use dead animals.
I am pretty sure the person giving the gift will know other people who will appreciate it.

Has happened maybe 10 times to me so far, none of the givers (including my wife) was truly offended after I had explained my reasons.
 
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Bitki

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I would return it to your brother. I would explain that you don't buy or use leather. If you accept it then he won't take it seriously. Tell him to re-gift it to someone who will use it. I would first check with the shop though as some of them use faux leather. If you return it you can be polite about it, honestly I can't see how anyone could be offended by this.
 
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I'm not sure what the right thing is to do with this specific gift but I would just tell him clearly and politely (and possibly others) what your position is.

If he does it again, maybe return it. I am not sure about return it because it is almost confrontational and could make vegans/vegetarians look bad, damaging vegetariansm/veganism, and therefore causing more animal suffering. But that is quite debatable mind you.

Another option is a "no present pact". it has environmental benefits too to consume less, half of the presents people buy are needless consumption. It also makes it easier to save money and to have some spare for charities perhaps. I basically told everyone except my wife and kids that I would do a no present pact with everyone except those that told me otherwise. Since that point, I've only bought regular presents for the people that said they wanted to which is my parents mainly. (However there are advantages to buying presents in emotional connection and relationship building.)
 

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I am so sorry it happened to you. To show how people approach the topic and what your beliefs are. It's so sad considering it's people who know you and are important to you! I would probably give a gift and an edition that is not a funny joke. If you've been a vegetarian for 20 years, I don't think anyone would just forget it. It is simply ignorance of you and your beliefs.

It reminds me a bit of my beginnings with vege and the fight with my grandmother who, knowing that I did not eat meat, tried to smuggle something in my food. When I realized and wanted to talk to her about it, I heard "Oh, once you eat it, nothing will happen to you, you won't die from it"
 

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What do you do when this happens? So far it has happened twice: once with my ex years ago, who gave me a leather watch knowing I was vegetarian. I asked for a receipt. He didn't have it. I wore the watch, but never felt comfortable about it.



The second time was today. My brother gave me a journal bound in real leather. I've been vegetarian for 20+ years. Just a couple months ago, I complained to him about how hard it was to find hiking boots not made of leather, and how I try to not buy leather. So he buys me leather? So what I said was "it's not real leather, is it? Ok.. Well I'm vegetarian... but thank you..." I felt like such a jerk saying that, but come on. It's not like he just met me. I don't feel comfortable using it. He told me he will look for the receipt. If he can't find it, I'll keep it for a while and then give it away or sell it.
Sell it and give the money to an animal charity.
 
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LadyVegan

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What do you do when this happens? So far it has happened twice: once with my ex years ago, who gave me a leather watch knowing I was vegetarian. I asked for a receipt. He didn't have it. I wore the watch, but never felt comfortable about it.



The second time was today. My brother gave me a journal bound in real leather. I've been vegetarian for 20+ years. Just a couple months ago, I complained to him about how hard it was to find hiking boots not made of leather, and how I try to not buy leather. So he buys me leather? So what I said was "it's not real leather, is it? Ok.. Well I'm vegetarian... but thank you..." I felt like such a jerk saying that, but come on. It's not like he just met me. I don't feel comfortable using it. He told me he will look for the receipt. If he can't find it, I'll keep it for a while and then give it away or sell it.
I just say thank you in the moment. Later, like a month or so later, I remind them I do not use items made of animal materials - in a general way - not specifying the gift. If it's someone I'm really close to, I may ask them to buy me the item I would want in the material I would want it in and keep the leather item as well (in this case - the type of journal you would actually want). I believe the most important thing is to have people associate anything and anyone 'vegan' with positivity - even if the individual may be intentionally being disrespectful. That way, it is their behavior and only their behavior that is questionable. You can leave the situation knowing you thanked them for the gift and showed the other items that are just as good and vegan. They'll also learn the lesson that if they want to play a prank and get a leather item, they'll end up spending more money getting the non-leather equivalent as well, so it is easier/cheaper to just start with the faux-leather item. I stay super happy and thankful for BOTH gifts. They can only direct their annoyance at themselves at that point and do better next time. Please also remember that most people simply think leather things are very nice - the majority of the time they are not even associating it with an animal or vegans. So I always give people the benefit of the doubt - even if I'm 99% sure it was done intentionally. I used to feel more urgency in making sure everyone was being as vegan as possible, but after 20 years of being vegan and a little training on how human habits work, I've started understanding that, as the use of animal products is main-stream internationally, the key is positive association with anything vegan so people can start substituting vegan items into their life. I would write something wonderful about my brother in the journal he gave me, have him read it and later purchase something he would love for his birthday, but make it something vegan. When it gets closer to your birthday or the next holiday you'll be getting a gift, perhaps start suggesting vegan items you want - send a link even (not hard-to-find items - something that is easy to get). The goal for me is to show being vegan is simple, easy, fun and delicious - no matter how negative someone is being. This seems to work. The easiest way to help people consider a vegan lifestyle is not to argue with them, but to give them a bowl of delicious vegan food (a gift idea for your brother and other family members).
 
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Mikkel

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It depend on who gave it to me and what the item is. If it can't be returned, I would give it to charity. I usually just say thanks and regift it later as I've done with too many gifts during my life... (I've never been a huge fan of radom gifts...).