Don’t put a purse on the ground

Informant Data:

The informant is a 19-year old American student who was born in Santa Monica, California in 1996. She’s lived in Los Angeles County all her life with the exception of when she lived in Paris between late August 2014 and mid December 2014. Her father’s ancestry is American as far as back as the founding of the Plymouth Colony in 1621 (but before that, the family is originally from England), and her mother’s ancestry is Romanian. She is a freshman at the University of Southern California and thus currently resides in Los Angeles, California.


Contextual Data:

My informant and I arrived at my home in Santa Monica where I placed my backpack on the floor. My informant told me I shouldn’t put my bag on the floor. When I asked her why, my informant told me that when she was visiting her Romanian grandmother to get a facial, her grandmother told her not too put the bag on the floor because that would mean you would become poor. When I asked her why she seemed to believe in it, she told me that it just seemed to make sense that it’s not good leaving bags lying on the floor, so it just seems like a good philosophy.



“If you put a bag or a purse on the ground that means you’ll be poor.”



I feel like this folk belief is tied to the simple idea that one should value one’s possessions, and that when one leaves something of value on the floor (and purses can often be very valuable, whether it be the purse itself or the money that is likely in the purse), there is underlying idea that the floor is the lowest place you could put a possession. So essentially the belief seems to be really saying that if you don’t value your possessions and you’re careless with them, they in some way lose their worth, and thus make you poor. This belief may have also been originally a warning meant to advise people not place a bag or a purse on the ground specifically when one is outside in order to decrease one’s risk of having their bag or purse stolen.