I found the best deal of my life two months ago, and it’s riddled me with guilt ever since.
I was in Salvation Army searching for a few inexpensive items for a costume I needed for a skit. I’m partial to handbags, so while I was on the hunt for a purple dress I meandered over the purses hanging on the wall.
On the top hook, buried in the very back behind six other ugly handbags, the familiar “C” printed on and woven into Coach bags caught my eye.
Could it be?
No. Who would giveaway a Coach purse to Salvation Army?
It must be a knock-off.
But wait — let me look at that.
I took the purse down, and examined it. Clearly no one ever used it. It was pristine, and still had that new purse smell. The logo, the stitching, the tag, the lining all looked authentic.
Oh. My. Word. It’s a brand-new-Coach-bag-and-it’s-only…$12!
I didn’t really shout yippee, but I almost did. I might have jumped up and down a little bit.
I’m not usually into designer labels. I kind of think it’s poor taste to walk around flaunting pricey stuff with big emblems that advertise how much you paid for them.
But it was a COACH bag.
I saw all these other women walking around with their bags adorned with giant “Cs”, and I wanted one too. So frivolous, but I wanted one. It was against my own rules, but I WANTED one.
I took my treasure home, and did some further research online to make sure it was the real deal. There’s nothing wrong with not carrying a designer handbag, but there is no worse crime than carrying a knock-off designer handbag. If you can’t afford the real thing, just get a nice purse from Target. Which is what I usually do.
The bag checked out. It was 100 percent Coach.
Now before you get too impressed, let me tell you, this is the smallest purse Coach makes. Also making it the least expensive.
But it’s still Coach!
Purchased at a Coach store, this bag would have taken me for $128.
To use my new purse, I downsized significantly from the large, faux-leather tote from Target I used all winter. It was a huge sacrifice of cargo space, but…
IT. WAS. A. COACH. BAG!!!!!
Sometimes I have to carry the Coach purse and the Target purse just to hold everything. Is that some sort of statement on the weight of modern consumerism or what? (Mathew Weiner eat your heart out. Sorry. Random Mad Men reference there.)
I took my Coach bag to church, moms’ group, the school pick-up line, and I started feeling kind of — icky.
I can’t afford a $128 purse. People who know me probably know that. Are they wondering if my family forfeited a week’s worth of dinners so I could buy it?
Do people who don’t know me think I’m more well-healed than I am? The purse’s diminutive size makes it seem even more frivolous. Not only can I spend $128 on a purse, I have so much money I’ll throw it away on a wallet-on-a-string!
Or do they think I’m just a wannabe? I can’t afford a full-size Coach purse, so I bought the cheapest one just to flaunt the logo around.
Last week a woman from out-of-town stopped me in McDonald’s to ask, “Where did you buy your Coach purse?”
“Um, I found it at Salvation Army,” I admitted sheepishly and a little red-faced.
She said, “Oh. I thought maybe there was a store near here. My daughter wants one.” She gestured toward the tween girl sitting next to her.
I directed her to the nearest Coach location and ran away.
I still carry my little bargin-shopping badge of honor around with me. I mean, it is a COACH purse for crying outloud!
But I’m conflicted by it. Have I finally bought into the whole name-brand rubbish?
Sometimes I find myself tying to hide my designer bag when I go places, because I don’t want anyone to think I paid $128 for a change purse.
Maybe I’ll put it inside the Target bag. I’ll still know it’s there.
It is a COACH bag!