28 March 2008

getting more than you bargained for...

some time ago, in those early days of our marriage when the purse was quite light, i discovered the beauty of shopping consignment. i prided myself on being able to do an entire wardrobe (not counting the unmentionables!) on a shoestring budget, often including designer duds & pieces that still had original tags at our local consignment store.

i would go home triumphant...an $80 retail pair of jeans marked $8 reduced to 50% off to make room for new arrivals...cost: $4! my momma would just shake her head...she was part of the "i don't want to wear others' discarded items" crowd. with 4 small children & grad school adventures, i really couldn't afford to clothe the 6 of us on retail in those years. i would just shrug at her comments. plus, i am a clothing hunter/gatherer of sort...i like the thrill of the hunt: that blouse with the just-right fit & color found at the right moment. now anyone can go to the department store & be assured that a certain blouse will be available in the season's colors & standard sizes. not so with consignment stores. which makes finding just what you wanted all the sweeter.

i have to have *something* to sweeten the shopping experience because.......here's the thing.....i don't really like to shop. i would much prefer if the wardrobe just showed up in my closet. but since we all know that won't happen, i do what i have to. now there is one thing (actually two) that will get me into the store & release my inner shopping self.....shoes (right, karina!) & purses! i do not honestly believe that i could have ever uttered these words in my adult life...i need a new pair of shoes or i need a new purse. i have never let it get to that! i do come by part of this honestly though...my daddy was a shoe designer back in the day & i from about age 12 on wore the industry sample size of 6.

lucky, lucky me!

daddy was forever taking stunning italian shoes & redesigning them for american companies. guess who was on the receiving end of the italian pair he used to work up the new design? yep, the same gal who was on the receiving end of the sample pair he used to pitch to the buyers ('cause you couldn't sell that pair!). if there was a special event happening or a new outfit in my wardrobe, daddy would often throw together a new pair just for me. heck, he did all the shoes for our wedding. when D. married me i had a shamefully huge number of shoes & boots...probably more than the number of articles of clothing i owned. around the time our babies started arriving, daddy had the contract for a major children's brand & my girls were in the same boat as their momma...all those shoes!!

along the way a chain of events sort of cured my shoe gluttony...my right foot was broken 3 times over the course of a few year, in the same place. the shape of my foot & its ability to wear sleek designer styles when out the door. and not long after, daddy retired. nowadays it is quite rare that i find a pair of shoes that work on my feet. but that doesn't mean that i won't try on many pairs, just in case! & these days if (i mean *if*) i wear a pair of heels, the air seems thinner up there!

now, about those purses! i have some crazy chick obsession with handbags. i will bypass every single thing in a store to drool over them for inordinate amounts of time. amazingly i do not have a closet-full of them though, only because of two reasons: the bargain shopper in me always wins & my criteria for a purse to purchase is so tight that few actually make the cut & go home. (D. is relieved about that!) the winning purse must have a classic look, have a zippered compartment for my wallet, have only one strap, & be in one of a few colors that i prefer. then it must pass the walk-around-the-store-for-awhile-on-my-shoulder test. now, of course i shop consignment for purses...so many choices & such good prices. the real find that floats my boat: a designer bag in classic design with a price tag that works for me!

sometimes, though, you get more than you bargain for. not too long ago i was looking for a purse in the brown/tan color range with a summery design to replace the older model that really was falling apart. i hit consignment paydirt with the perfect bag~~ a nine west medium brown in summer weave! all the criteria were met with the added beauty of a price tag of $6! it was all mine! on the way home i decided to do the switch-over in the car...but something wasn't quite right, something i had totally missed at the store...

as i made the purse my own with my things, i kept commenting about the odd odor. D. took a whiff & we both agreed that it had a peculiar odor that we had smelled at concerts, or maybe it was just the leather. hmmmmm. i took my things out & put them back in the winter purse, just to be safe. i started thinking...i had planned to use that handbag for some upcoming travel. would the airport drug-sniffing dogs notice? at home i roughed it up a bit...turned the lining inside out.

oh that smell!

it seemed more obvious. so i called my good buddy who just happened to be the chief of police in our town. he chuckled at my story but offered to show the purse to his K9 drug-sniffing partner. guess what?? the dog was not too happy about that purse.....it **had** contained an illegal substance very recently & had traces in it. my bad! no, he didn't cuff me or put me in the holding tank or set bail or anything quite so exciting. but he did ask, with a twinkle in his eye, if i wanted the purse back. oh heck no!!!!!! i said, honey you keep it for your D.A.R.E. program to warn all those teenage girl bargain hunter consignment shoppers....ADD THE SNIFF TEST to your consignment handbag purchase criteria!


erin said...

i'm right with you about the "hunt"! Shopping isn't any fun without it...but that's so funny (*not really* : )) about the smell!

Mandy said...

It went on a bit, but I enjoyed reading this, especially the denoument.

AnnieElf said...

Oh Deb, I had so much fun reading this entire post. I went from consignment shop cheerleading to starting a list of my own purse evolution to Oh NOOO!! What a tale of woe to lose that purse but WHAT a tale. LOL, Annie

Karina said...

I would never have guessed where this post would have ended, but boy was it fun to read. You had me at shoes (thanks for the linky love), then on with the purses, and yay for consignment shopping...but boy...what an ending!

qualcosa di bello said...

erin...the thrill of the hunt!! yeah, it is funny...& i have a better purse now anyway :)

mandy...it's hard to shut me up, even on the computer! ;)

annie...yeah, that purse has gotten more mileage than most!

karina...i was thinking of you the whole time! at least we don't have this problem with shoes ;)