STUDENTS have designed a handbag that emotionally bullies shopaholics into not spending money.
The handbag has a built-in sensor that detects when bank cards have been removed and then plays a voice message.
Shoppers are asked in a theatrical “cockney” accent “Do you really need this?” or warned “You’re already in your overdraft”.
The Excuse Me? Excuse You! leather satchel has been created by University of Dundee trio Leanne Fischler, Kirsty Sneddon and Rebecca Smith.
The fourth year art students have designed the bag so that the speaker gets louder the longer it takes the owner to return their “plastic”.
Shoppers who do resist temptation and return their cards promptly are praised by the ‘man in the bag’ with comments such as, “Good on you, I believed in you”.
The bag was designed as part of a project challenging the notion of consumerism.
The students say of their creation: “‘Excuse me? Excuse you!’ is an old friend looking out for our best interests.
“Excuse me? Excuse you! is an attentive character. Embodied within a hand-crafted messenger bag, its evocative whispers make spending money emotionally harder.
“With every scuff in the leather, your relationship with the bag grows; it is a piece of fashion that never becomes obsolete.”
The serious point behind the bag, according to the students, is to expose the extent to which society has become materialistic and object-orientated.
“Inverting the value given to consumerism”, the bag “creates a negative association with spending”.
Leanne, 21, said: “We are interested in design activism – making a point through design.
“The project aims to make people consider what they already own and whether they need to buy more.
“Consumerism is all about presenting yourself favourably and the bag does the opposite by embarrassing you in public.
“This is a one-off bag designed to create meaningful conversation – it’s not for selling.”
Kirsty, 21, revealed that the nagging voice of the handbag was provided by the Professor of Design Policy at Dundee University, Mike Press.
She said: “It’s a coincidence that we’re talking about this project near to Christmas, but excessive spending is certainly a part of it nowadays.”
Rebecca, who was in charge of designing and hand stitching the bag, says that they have received a great reaction about their idea so far.
She said: “I think our message has come across well and people have been able to see that design can be used in the context of social improvement.”