Shocking I know. I'm happy to have a new tote bag. I really needed it It's close to my avatar bag but with different ribbon. I love it. It has one outside pocket which fits my keys and cell and then 4 inside pockets for all my junk.
For me It's a combination of all the things mentioned. It gives the bag a finished look, it prevents anything from moving and it's a couple more seams over each strap for strength. I always backstitch the strap areas when I do my top seam. I know how heaviy my bag can be so I want to make sure everything I make stands up to that.
I work in a corner of our family room right now. *sigh* We're looking for a new house so I ca have a sewing room but it hasn't happened yet. I'll be working from home forever anyway since our plan is if I start selling enough..is for me to stay home with our girls and avoid those lovely daycare bills.