Thursday, December 3, 2009

Not My Bag

One of the great things about city living is the adventure of finding the best/cheapest _________. Yes, you are supposed to fill in the blank with a take out restaurant, the cheapest pair of shoes, or like me, the best coleslaw (which is at the Baton Rouge, by the way)

As you faithful long time readers know, I am a fan of the shoes and the purses. Living here, however with city prices and Canadian taxes has forced me to be a little more frugal in the accessory department. At one point I feared I was never to own a new purse again. Then I found the cheapest purse shop.

There is, of course, ultimately a price to pay for such wonders of the world. In this shop you trade good prices for a healthy dose of annoyance and aggravation.

The small shop on the corner is owned by an Asian woman who employs young Asian girls (most likely family members) to "sell" the purses. I fear that people of this culture do not quite understand that North American women do not need to be sold, nor want to be sold a purse. A purse speaks to a woman and it speaks a different language to every woman. The right purse sells itself. The purses that are sold to women are often the one-night-stands of the accessory world - ok in a pinch but you'd never be seen in public with it nor would you ever show your friends.

Some purses speak the language of practicality and to some a purse will speak the language of beauty. Some women go for the feel of a purse and so will opt for the more expensive softer leathers (which also appeal to those who enjoy the smell of a good purse. ) Some are taken in by the trendiness of a purse, or the size or shape. The point is, the draw to a purse, similar to the draw of a man, is different for different women. A purse cannot be sold by a young girl who tries too hard to sell it by reciting it's various features.

The problem in this shop is that the owner (who does not speak English - at least not in front of the customers) insists that the girls do their job by selling a purse no matter how much the customer asks, pleads and begs to be left alone to browse the selection. Hence, once you step foot in this shop there is a salesgirl stuck to you like a polyester skirt to tights in the middle of January. And there is nothing you can do about it. Trust me, I've tried.

For instance, yesterday I decided, as I stood outside the shop and took a deep breath, that I was going to tell the girl right away that I was just looking. So I did. And I said it quite assertively, dare I say forcefully. She backed off. I felt successful. But I had underestimated the real source of power, my true arch nemesis, Asian Lady, Purse Store Owner.

Seeing the girl back away she spoke harshly to her and once again she proceeded to "help" me. Stubbornly true to my Irish heritage, I once again explained that I just wanted to look. That's when Asian Lady, Purse Store Owner called in for backup. Out of thin air another young girl appeared, this one a little less timid, obviously experienced in the ways of the strong-willed customer and she stuck to me no matter how I struggled. She was impervious to my tactics - ignoring didn't work - neither did pinning her to he wall and explaining to her while only inches from her face that I just wanted to look at the purses. She just kept at it until I made a decision to purchase a purse (this one is of the almost army surplus variety only in somewhat distressed black) probably a little faster than I would normally just to get away from her. (although the purse I chose was the right one - I knew the way one knows when meeting The One.)

And then I realized what should have been totally obvious from the beginning. Much like the Soup Nazi - annoyance, beating down your resistance is their selling technique.

And it's genius.


  1. Purses rock! Glad you found the right one. Maybe you should bring some pepper spray the next time you shop there to keep them away?

    Green-Eyed Momster

  2. Good idea, but that won't fly here I bet!!!


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