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August 30, 2013

The ($38,000) Bag Lady

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Handbags are great. Seriously, who doesn’t like a good handbag? Shopping for swimsuits can drive even the strongest woman to brink of despair. Shoe-shopping forces women into a constant battle of good versus evil, otherwise known as comfort versus bunions. Buying a pencil skirt can dismay anyone in possession of an actual bottom. But handbag shopping is your friend.

Gained weight? Lost weight? Ate too much pasta at lunch? Just had a baby? Your handbag will still fit. You don’t need to suffer fitting room hell when buying a handbag. It’s not hard to find a handbag in a colour you like. And a handbag is actually a useful thing to own. I mock gents who shun man-bags and instead jam keys, money and phones in their pockets. Why would you subject yourself to an embarrassingly bulgy crotch when you can simply carry a bag?

Then a $38,000 handbag happened. Oprah Winfrey raised the alarm when she asked to look at such a bag in a shop in Zurich. She claims the shop assistant told her it was too expensive. Oprah called out the boutique for racism and it became an international scandal. Fair enough. It sounds like idiocy levels were high in the shop that day.

Of course this led to an outcry. “Why was Oprah looking at a $38,000 handbag when kids are starving?” “That is an obscene amount of money to spend on a handbag!” “You could buy a family car with that kind of money!” “How many nurses salaries can you get for $38,000?” Et cetera et cetera and entirely predictable.

Firstly, Oprah has done plenty for charity over the years. She has spent literally millions trying to leave the world a better place than how she found it. Most of will never have that sort of financial power and even if we did, how many of us would give large chunks to charity?

Secondly, it is her money. She earned it. She worked hard. She didn’t get rich by selling drugs to kids or peddling arms to dictators. It is her money and as such, she can do what she damn well pleases with it.

But as a dyed-in-the-wool lover of a bargain, I don’t get it. Not so much because of the ridiculous price tag but because I’d much rather have 760 $50 bags than one $38,000 one. I can’t be the only woman alive who gets bored with her bags. And once I’d spent $38,000 on a bag, all I’d have to look forward to is that inevitable moment when I’d realise it was a bit tatty and full of scrunched up receipts, long-forgotten lipsticks and rogue tampons and I’d be officially Bored With The Bag. Sigh.

 

Written by Georgia Lewis.

Georgia Lewis is a London-based writer. She blogs at www.therantmistress.blogspot.co.uk

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