Worst mistake of my life -advice needed!

veganphysicist

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I don't even know where to begin... My story is embarrassing and I am so ashamed of myself. I would really appreciate any advice from my fellow vegans out there regarding my terrible situation.

So basically my boyfriend told me he would be interested in seeing me wear a faux fox tail toy. After looking through many different options, I found one on Etsy that was super cheap -only $20 and it had about 2,000 positive reviews. I bought it and it arrived very quickly, but when I opened the package I felt very uneasy because the fur seemed so real. I sent a message to the vendor on Etsy and to my horror he said that it was an actual real fox tail.

The worst part is that I had assumed it was synthetic fur because so many of the other tabs I had open said in the descriptions that it was synthetic fur and the description of this one did not list the material of the tail -only of the toy. I know I should have double-checked the description before buying it, and knowing that it was my own negligence that caused this tragedy makes it so much worse. The vendor won't accept returns due to the nature of the product, which is understandable, so now I am left with a piece of a dead fox and I have absolutely no idea what to do with it. If I had a backyard I would probably dig a grave for the poor fox but unfortunately I live in an apartment.

I know I sound calm in this post but I have been sobbing all day and having nonstop stress diarrhea. I am literally sitting on the toilet right now as I am typing this. I had to walk to a nearby store to use their restroom and buy more toilet paper and I felt extreme guilt even when I saw birds on my way to the store. I scheduled appointments with two counselors to help me cope with my intense feelings of guilt, shame, and regret, but until that time I am completely on my own. I can't tell anyone but my boyfriend and counselors because I am too ashamed and embarrassed.

I just made an anonymous account on this website to seek advice from people who are like me because I know my boyfriend and counselors will never be able to see this situation from my point of view as a life-long (okay, since I was four years old) animal rights activist, vegetarian->vegan, and person who is completely against hunting and the fur-trade. I feel so disgusting right now. I am horrified that this is so common (2,000 reviews?!) and that foxes are murdered to make toys. I am so ashamed that I gave these monsters $20 to basically murder a species that is becoming endangered all over the world. This is by far the worst mistake I have ever made in my life (so far).

I would really appreciate any replies that have to do with:
1) How to cope with guilt from a terrible mistake like this (I feel like such a bad vegan and hypocrite and I know I can't undo this)
2) What should I do with the fox tail (it is currently on the floor of my room in its original packaging)
3) I know I can't undo my crime, but how can I attempt to make up for it? I was thinking of donating at least $50 to an animal rights organization that fights against the murder of foxes to try to save other lives even though this fox died. I already left a one-star review on the website to warn people that this is a real fox tail because it wasn't clearly expressed anywhere in the title or description. So hopefully they won't get anymore purchases from people who have consciences. The vendor has been sending me angry messages about that but I don't feel pity for people who profit from murder so I'm leaving my review up there.

If anyone has any advice at all regarding this I would greatly appreciate it! Thank you so much.
 
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Damo

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$20 seems a little too cheap for a genuine product, I've purchased a few synthetic leather products before that felt like the real thing but they were not. Send me a message with a link of where you bought from?

The person who you contacted may have only been a sales representative, they could have just told you "yes it's real" to keep the sale. It happens.

I don't believe anyones a perfect vegan, they all make genuine mistakes every now and again myself included. You just have to learn from those mistakes.

Have you told the seller that what you've purchased is unused and is still in it's original packaging? I would have thought they'd accept it back in the condition it's in.

I honestly wouldn't beat yourself up about it, it was an honest mistake.
 
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veganphysicist

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I know right?? I thought fur was supposed to be expensive. It didn't even look real in the picture and all of the comments made it seem like it was fake but it turns out that it's a real fox tail. I got suspicious because the hair looked exactly like dog hair. So sad :(

I haven't even accidentally had meat in such a long time, like probably elementary school. I still get nightmares all the time about accidentally having meat and it freaks me out. And then my worst nightmare happens! It honestly makes it so much worse to me that it's a type of animal that is becoming endangered all over the world. It feels just as bad as if I had accidentally ran over a dog or something, but worse because I basically paid a murderer to kill a rare and beautiful animal.

I did tell the seller that what I purchased was unused and still in its original packaging but because I opened the package to look at it (like when I noticed that the fur didn't look fake), the seller can't take it back. I understand that but still the seller was a complete jerk to me. After I wrote the review warning future buyers that the tail is a real fox tail, he got all mad at me and kept sending me messages that I'm ruining his business and that I should feel bad about this. I told him my only regret is that I paid someone who profits from the murder and torture of animals and that my review won't affect his business if his future customers don't have consciences.

I'm starting to feel slightly better about this. I posted this same story on another veg forum and some vegans replied with the advice that I should donate the tail (without the toy of course) to an animal rescue and wildlife rehab center so an orphaned animal can feel comforted by the fur, which is sad and sweet at the same time. I haven't picked an animal rights activist organization against fox hunting yet because every time I saw the pictures of the poor foxes I was crying a lot, but I will do that soon.

Thank you for your compassion and understanding. I find that is a more common trait with vegans than other people. I am still on the journey to self-forgiveness for my terrible mistake. I have definitely learned from this at least.

You asked for the link, I'm not sure if you meant via private message (not even sure how to do that on his website) but here it is: (removed)

I apologize in advance if you meant via private message if this link is outside of the community guidelines for what is appropriate for a post. I can edit out the link if it does not meet community standards. You can see that the tail itself without the toy is only $12, which I guess is another reason why I thought it wasn't a real fox tail. You can also see in the related links that this vendor also sells like lime green tails so I thought for sure it was going to be fake and kind of cheap. It would be nice to know that I'm not a complete idiot for assuming this tail would be synthetic even though it's not explicitly stated... although now I know to never make that mistake again. I don't think I could even buy cheap synthetic fake fur after this. I am probably going to be haunted by this experience for the rest of my life.

Thank you for your kind words, Damo.
 
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veganphysicist

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Oops, sorry about that! Did you mean private message then? Did you already get the link or could you explain to me how private messaging works on this website? Is it "Start a Conversation"?
 

Damo

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Fur normally is expensive which is why I'm doubting the authenticity of the product you've purchase, it does still sound too cheap to be genuine.

I guess that's fair enough if the product has been opened, online sellers value their reviews a lot but that still doesn't excuse the way they reacted to your review... At least you know for next time to ask before you purchase?

Ah, donating to a wildlife rehabilitation centre sounds like the right place for the tail. I don't know what else you could do with the tail.

It's no problem :)

Oops, sorry about that! Did you mean private message then? Did you already get the link or could you explain to me how private messaging works on this website? Is it "Start a Conversation"?
I did mean private message, don't worry about it. I did see the link, I would have thought the tail may have been synthetic from the cost... Surprised to be wrong though. Yes "start a conversation" is how you send a private message.
 
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veganphysicist

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Okay, I'm really glad I'm not the only one who would have thought so... I felt like such an idiot after I found out it was an actual tail. The fur does seem very real though, at least in person. Not so much on the website, especially since they offer it in so many different unnatural colors. So disgusting. I don't think I would ever even buy synthetic fur after this experience. It would just remind me of my guilt. I am looking forward to donating the tail though. I will write a note about giving back to the animals something that was stolen from them along with a decent sized donation to whoever is caring for these orphaned foxes. It could never bring back the life of this murdered animal but at least it would be an appropriate gesture. Thanks again for your response.
 
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winter.frost

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Hello. I'm taking my time to process this thread but I'll post my thoughts as I read on:

1. Why can't you still bury the tail somewhere? Obviously you can detach it to the rest of the toy but surely you could get out of town and find somewhere to bury it? I agree that would be a nice thing for you to do. Although I have just read on to the point about giving it to a Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre, which would also be nice.
2. The most you can feel guilt over is not reading a web-page more clearly. But I think we've all done that. I remember for many weeks after going vegetarian I was still buying pesto with parmesan (clueless about the difference between vegetarian and animal rennet). By the time I realised my mistake I must have bought half a dozen jars, and whilst I was sad and shocked I was also kind to myself - had I have known, I wouldn't have made that mistake. People make mistakes. I don't think you should be feeling any shame at all. You are absolutely not a hyprocrite, the definition would not apply, since your reaction is so clear. A hypocrite would just think 'but it's a nice product so I'll keep it'.
3. You haven't committed a crime, you made a mistake. That's one vegan to another telling you that. The idea to donate to a fox sanctuary etc. is a good one.

All vegans feel deeply for animals, and most of us do experience sadness - to some degree - when we make a mistake, but I really think you are being way too hard on yourself. It just doesn't do to be having nightmares over mishaps that happened years ago - you have got to let go. It doesn't make you any less of a vegan or animal lover, but you have got to look after yourself too. The next time the memory comes try thinking 'OK, that was a pity, but I can move on from that now'. Holding onto guilt and shame isn't a method of honouring animal life in this instance - the best way to do that is through eating vegan and through your present decisions.

If I had 'accidentally ran over a dog' the clue in the phrase here is 'accidentally'. I would cry, and I would probably - as you have suggested - think about securing another dog's future by donating an amount to a dog sanctuary. If my driving had been the cause, I would probably change it. I remember once my kitten brought in a baby mouse in her teeth and, had I been better prepared, I probably could have saved that baby mouse - but I wasn't prepared, so the mouse died. Ultimately, now I have a whole host of tools and am prepared for anything my cat might bring home. I learned.

It's always worth checking community guidelines before you post on a new forum. Here we aim to be open to anyone aged 12+... so I think I'm going to try editing your post so that it better fits our guidelines.
 
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veganphysicist

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Winter.Frost,

Thank you for your response, I really appreciate it. The organizations Cuddle Coats (http://cuddlecoats.com/how-it-works.html) and the Fox Project (http://foxproject.org.uk/how-you-can-help/) were both suggested to me as possibilities for the donation of the tail and for my cash donation. I will likely end up sending the tail to Cuddle Coats and donating money to the Fox Project.

Your story about rennet reminds me of when I was seven years old and I found out that gelatin is made from cow bones and other animal parts right after I had eaten an entire box of Peeps marshmallows. I was crying all day and I felt so terrible that I had been eating non-vegetarian food for three years after I had become a vegetarian. At least avoiding rennet isn't so much of an issue for me now that I'm vegan. I know this is just another mistake just like that and that it's a lesson that I learned the hard way. Thank you for understanding and offering your advice. I am slowly starting to forgive myself...
 
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gab

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Hi,

A slightly different perspective perhaps: for online goods, you have the right to cancel your order 14 days after you received the item. Quote:

"Your right to cancel an order for goods starts the moment you place your order and ends 14 days from the day you receive your goods. "

Taken from here: http://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/regulation/consumer-contracts-regulations

About the guilt that you are feeling, you seem to be making yourself sick with guilt - is that good for the animals ? Or a healthy activist could achieve more for them ?

Gab
 
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veganphysicist

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Gab,

Unfortunately I live in the United States and Etsy's guidelines state that a seller is not required to allow returns. I was sick with guilt and very upset yesterday because I was so horrified that I had purchased a tail from an animal that is becoming very rare in the wild and was probably caught in an inhumane ground trap where it suffered for hours with a broken leg before dying. Thinking about this kind of thing is why I became a vegetarian when I found out what meat was when I was four years old, so I don't mind having a conscience that does this to me but yes, I wish my reactions to it were not quite as physical. If I could change that, trust me, I would. I definitely did not have a fun experience in that public restroom in the store yesterday. Thankfully I am feeling much better today now that I have a set plan for what I will do with the tail and my donations. I am looking forward to this chance to make a small difference in the lives of other animals.
 
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Hi, it sounds like you made an honest mistake or were even deceived by someone else with the description. It is not you that committed the crime. I would not feel too badly about this. Hope things work out well for you.
 
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veganphysicist

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Jamie,

Thank you for your kind words and understanding. I have been feeling better today. It certainly helps having a set plan. I wish the best for you as well!
 

HeyThere

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Don't beat yourself up about it. It was a mistake and now you know better for next time. You may as well get use out of the product if it doesn't make you too uncomfortable.

Best wishes.
 
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