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Wish Pearl Necklace

My mother-in-law bought my little sister (who is 8) a horrible item called a wish pearl necklace. I'll try not to be too graphic in describing it, but let's just say you 'mine' for your own pearl.  I accidentally opened the package (wrong name tag) and became very upset.  After calming down, I spoke with my mother and she insisted that I give my sister the necklace kit.  Very grudgingly I obliged with the condition it not be opened in my vicinity and she cannot wear the necklace if she is with me.  I've decided to try to find the company, but so far I am only finding the packages on eBay http://cgi.ebay.com/WISH-PEARL-Harvest-the-Pearl-Make-a-Flower-Pendant_W0QQitemZ180066983459QQihZ008QQcategoryZ3844QQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem. 

To make matters worse, my best friend (who is also a veg*n) was helping her grandmother (who is in her mid-seventies) open her present and guess what was inside...Yep, another d**n wish pearl necklace!  Of course, she had the same reaction as I (and I think most people) did/would. 

My question is, what can be done?  Has anyone else experienced this?

That is just gross all the way around.  You could write the person selling them on eBay for all the good that will do.  I wrote a note so someone selling thick paddles for "discipline" which I thought was just horrible as animals and children should NEVER be hit!  It didn't do any good.

I am afraid this is the country we live in.  Everything is governed by the almighty dollar with no regard to life of any kind, no kindness towards strangers, no sensitivity for the beauty of the world around us...well not be the majority of people.  Some of us were put here to slowly, quietly change the world and try to make it a more gentle, loving place for all of creation.

I am sorry this was upsetting to you.  I won't say "toughen up" but rather I think you are right to set liimits in your own home.

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I don't like the idea, but I can see the appeal--I'm sure most people who buy/like these things never think about what they're actually participating in, it's just not something most people worry about.  In that same vein, I don't think your mother-in-law or your friend's grandmother meant to offend or upset either of you--in fact I would not be surprised if they were actually offended by the reaction both of you had (I'm not saying that you shouldn't have reacted that way--you are obviously strongly opposed, but just put yourself in their shoes... how would you feel if they had this reaction to a vegan item you gave them?  There may actually have been a lot of thought put into the gift--"She's such a free-spirited, idealistic soul--she would definitely find meaning in such a gift"--I'm sure animal rights never crossed her mind, most people don't think it extends to marine life. Also, many of us wear jewelry because of what it represents , this pearl means something special--even personal--for non-animal rights activists and has nothing to do with the animal explotation we see it representing).  I don't think not allowing your sister to open/wear it in your vicinity is a good way to actively protest the selling and buying of these types of items (indeed it would be better if you were to educate her first, and she herself then made the decision to stop wearing it--much more effective and you might even find you've recruited an activist in your wake).  We have to remember that the people participating in these types of things most often have no idea that what they are doing might be wrong.  You need to inform them first, in an open, rational and calm manner.  Automatically becoming upset whenever you're in the presence of animal products just makes people think you're crazy, elitist or unnecessarily picky---they just don't understand why you're responding that way.  In effect you will meet hostility--which is just a manifestation of misunderstanding.  Let's start our protests on the right foot.  To make peace you must yourself be peaceful.

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I agree with Idioglossia.  I really have nothing else to add, but I just wanted to say that she beautifully expressed what I was thinking.  I think that the overwhelming majority of veg*ns are veg*ns because they strive for more peace and balance in the world.  We just have to remind ourselves that we need to be peaceful with and have respect for humans (even the ignorant) as well as animals for us to make any good impact.  BTW, I get very, uhhh, impatient, at times with others, so please don't fell that I'm judging, because that is not at all how this is intended!  I'll be the first to admit that I need to remember to respect others more often.

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Perhaps I should have given a little background to the situation...I baked about 6 dozen vegan cookies to take on the trip to PA.  I packaged them in a little gift basket with various other veg friendly goodies - candles bath stuff, etc.  My MIL refused to try any, saying that she had 'normal' cookies already.  Who defines normal?  To me, eating eggs and meat is NOT a normal thing to do!  So after turning the other cheek on that insult, I offered to help fix dinner which she refused.  Then she proceeded to serve my husband and I soup with hunks of ham, saying that bean soup 'needed' ham.  Well, then I was sort of glad that I had so many extra cookies or we would have starved.   ;)  Then the pearl situation occurred.  When I say upset, I mean nausea and tears upset, not yelling and making a scene upset.  

Idioglossia - I like your idea of educating my sister, but I don't know how to handle this tactfully.  How can I explain this type of thing to an 8-year old without traumatizing her for life?

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I had to look on the link as I didn't understand what it was...and I think this sort of thing is a sad commentary on modern society. Like finding a coloured pearl is going to determine your life's outcome...yeah. Didn't do much for the poor oyster, now did it? Ugh.
Maybe the idea of educating your little sis could be a long-term project; obviously you don't want to spoil her Christmas and upset her right now, but maybe you could work on gradually bringing new ideas to her attention.

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I just looked up "wish pearl necklace."  What a crock of sh--- !  No, I wasn't going there, people.  I meant "crock of shell!"  Literally!

Is the "mollusk" dead when you open the can?  Does it smell?  It looks like a can of bean dip or something!  What is the recipient supposed to do with the leftover "gel" and dead "mollusk" anyway?  It seems kind of repulsive to me.

Anyway:  mdvegan--based on your story, it sounds as if your MIL has a problem with you and hubby's veganism.  Well, a little bit of a problem anyway.  How could you lead her darling baby astray like that?!?  Is nothing sacred?

You said you were having the meal at your house and your MIL wouldn't let you cook?  In your own house?  Have I got this right or was that a different time?

Couple lessons here: 
1--never go away from your own home without all food for you and your vegan family packed--then you'll never have to be hungry again, Scarlet. 
2--with that mother-in-law, I'd never mention veganism to her again--just bring and offer the cookies and if a snide remark is made, ignore it--clearly she's getting off on the conflict.
3--if she's proven that she won't let you cook because you'll ruin it through veganization, don't offer to help her cook again--invite her to your house where you've already cooked vegan--if she doesn't want to eat your vegan cooking, she can bring her own--just like you do to her house.

If you have an 8-year-old sister you want to educate, you will have an easy time doing it if you are the model to her rather than the instructor/indoctrinator.  Eight-year-olds are naturally tender-hearted.   Keep being vegan around her and as she asks questions, answer honestly and gently.  She'll get the idea.

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Ughh, sorry MD.  I can see where most omnis would give a gift such as this because they don't know better, but your mother-in-law just sounds like a real peach.  I don't have any advice for you, as I'm gearing up for my own MIL conflict.  Some people just really can't stand anyone who sees the world differently than they do.  But your mother-in-law, <<groans>>.

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Is the "mollusk" dead when you open the can?  Does it smell?  It looks like a can of bean dip or something!  What is the recipient supposed to do with the leftover "gel" and dead "mollusk" anyway?  It seems kind of repulsive to me.

As a little girl, I would have found this totally gross.  :P

I think many people are more threatened by vegetarianism than just about any other life style choice. Even if you never say a word about your dietary choices, their simple knowing about it makes them uncomfortable. You'll note that they rarely take issue with people who won't eat something because of religious reasons. I personally think it comes from an unconscious knowledge of the cruelty & suffering of their diet, so they lash out at us. This is one of the reasons I become more & more reclusive as time goes on.    :-\

MDVegan, I'm sorry you have such a close minded MIL. It reminds me of Cheerio's post a few days ago about her dad, who claims it bothers him that the family doesn't sit down & share the same meal. It's a mean-spirited control issue.  :'(

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Oh dear.  Sorry to hear about that MIL of yours, mdvegan--things are a little clearer now.  I don't think I've ever had to deal with opposition to veganism that is that bad.  And about your sister, you've received some really good advice above.  Chocsoymilk and yabbitgirl made some good points--be a model and do it in the long-term.  When she ask questions, answer them honestly--but always with your kiddy-censor activated.  It may take a while, but it'll work.

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Hi. I just looked it up. You harvest the pearl?  It sounds really gross and disgusting and I can't imagine too many kids would be thrilled to wear it after that experience!

However, I will say that the whole mermaid thing is quite strong with young girls for a bunch of reasons.  And the mermaids are often accompanied by mermaid paraphernalia, including mollusks and pearls.  I also think that most people--even if they are very sensitive to veg issues--just don't think about mollusks (or bugs for that matter) the same way they think about other animals.  Now, if there were a tiny baby veal calf in that tin that you had to mine through to get your goody--well, that probably wouldn't be such a big seller. 

I feel the same way about  ant farms, butterfly farms, grow your own tadpole, bug kits, goldfish, etc.  I also hate the way my kids' preschool keeps little frogs in little tanks.  Our rule is no stuff that uses living creatures or formerly living creatures.  So far my kids haven't asked why this doesn't apply to trees, but I'm waiting for that. 

It sounds like your MIL was just downright hostile.  Is she usually difficult? If not, perhaps she mistook your generous gestures with the gift baskets and offers to help cook and thought you were criticizing her.  From her point of view it is probably like "shake and bake chicken was good enough for my son for 22 years and then this chickie came along and suddenly it's tofu tofu tofu . . . . " Also, I sometimes get the sense that others think we believe we are morally superior to them because we dont' eat meat.  And truthfully, sometmes I DO catch myself feeling morally superior, but then I have to stop myself because that is such a dangerous, no win path to go down and it's really plain stupid at that.

Good luck! My only advice is that you wait a bit and really try hard to repair your relationship with your MIL. Otherwise, you put your husband in a really uncomfortable position and while it might be bearable for a couple of years, after several years of your family and your wife not getting along, it becomes a huge strain.  (That's what happened to my husband and his first wife!)

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Thanks for the advice, guys.  Fortunately, my in-laws live about three and a half hours away, so we only see them once or twice a year (they won't come visit us because we have six cats and eat vegan ::)) so it isn't an issue that comes up frequently.  However, everytime we visit something like this happens.  You'd think that DH's mom would realize that he is 33 years old (yep, he's got 10 years and a month on me ;)) and is very good at taking care of himself.  I think that since his younger (27 years old) brother lives just down the street and eats dinner with his parents every night, MIL thinks that she needs to make up for the time she misses with DH...or something...trying to be kind here...  Oh, and my little sis was over for a visit last night and she had some veg*n hot chocolate which she really enjoyed.  I also picked up a few animal books for her to read, including Charlotte's Web.  Hopefully the gentle persuasion will be effective in the long run.  After all, how many of us were veg at that age?  (I was, but I know I'm an exception to the rule.)

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Food is often such an emotionally-charged issue, even without the veg*n element. So many of our celebrations centre around special foods, and in many homes the kitchen is the heart of the house. In the States, I have to say the kitchen was the most-used room--we did our homework there, serious talks took place there, the phone was there...and on and on. (In Spain, it is painfully evident that most kitchens are designed with room for only one person--traditionally the mama, who does all the cooking and cleaning up. There simply isn't room for more than one person to be in the kitchen at the same time, and be able to move around!)
Who was it said, "Patriotism is just memories of what we ate as children"? It's a valid point. Even in many religions, food is central to the rites, whether it be a sacrament or a communal meal.And then, if you have family members who have lived through hard times, the Depression, or in my DH case the famine after the Spanish Civil War, food equals love. Offering food, sharing food, bringing something special, isn't just about hospitality, it's a way of saying "I love you."
So to a lot of people, when you radically change your diet and outlook on food and where it comes from, you are striking at the very base of society as they see it--tradition, the family and all. And you tap into a very emotional (ie not-thought-out) response. They feel threatened, and respond with hostility. WE know that's not what we're doing, but that's how many people who don't share or understand our viewpoint see it.
But hey, DH now eats tofu, sweet potato vermicelli, and other oddments that just 2 yrs ago he never would have touched. Don't give up, you may be surprised. Yes, true, some people will never change--but if you go quietly on your path without getting defensive in turn, you could be in for some pleasant encounters.

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Great, great, great idea with Charlotte's Web!  That was one of my favorite books as a child!  Such a lovely story!

You'll be surprised at what an impact you and your veganness will have on your sister.

If I'd had a vegan role model, I'd have switched a lot earlier!

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hi. I got one of these when i was al ittle girl. This ios nothing special but a chea lovely gift. What did you get for your mother in law? because that pearl is a cheap gift the necklace is not silver the pearl is bascially crap so why are you complaing and if you want one of these i fuound them at dillards maceys somewhere and its nothing special so there no complaning its the gift that you give when you dont know the person adn you would like to give a cheap gift on the other hand your little sister dosent know but to be happy so put it this why. on the other side of the world (at leats for me) in Sudan you got kids dieing. there killing male kids now. Male kids are walking millions of miles to saftey seeing their "brothers" be eaten by henyious. So are you seriously going to complain when your not threaten with your life any day and can eat because as my theory you got what you got be greatfull you can atleast exchange gifts.

I don't think you read the previous posts before responding.  The problem isn't with the cost of the gift, but rather the fact that some poor creature had to die for the sole purpose of profitability and entertainment.

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