Today, Meelyn and Aising went to an ARCHES yearbook staff meeting, so after I dropped them off, I had three whole hours to myself in Carmel. And although there are many fascinating places to go in Carmel, if I have at least ninety minutes to myself, I always go to a certain charity shop where some amazing bargains can be found on barely worn clothing, often designer brands that I wouldn't even pretend to be able to buy otherwise.
I love that store and we buy lots of clothes there. My kids, in their Hilfiger jeans and GAP tops and Talbots sweaters? All secondhand from this shop. But the thing that draws me like a moth to a flame is the Locked Cabinet.
The Locked Cabinet is stuffed with expensive handbags, wallets, jewelry and other stuff that is costly enough that the clerks would like to keep a close eye on it, mostly because everything there is small enough to be stuffed under your coat and walked right out of the store, with no one the wiser. I always check out the Locked Cabinet, mostly out of curiosity, but today, my eyes went out on stalks like a cartoon character's.
I saw this Louis Vuitton handbag in the Locked Cabinet, complete with the engraved LV padlock and wee little key and the glam tag embossed with "Louis Vuitton, Paris" on it.
The price? Nineteen dollars and ninety-nine cents, my friends. I had that cash whipped out of my plain black leather shoulder bag so fast, the clerk's hair almost caught on fire.
"I just sold a Prada bag for $24.99 about ten minutes ago," he said conversationally as he handed back my change. My fingers went numb. Could you imagine finding a Louis Vuitton and a Prada on the same day?
I brought the bag home, trying to resist saying, "My preciouuussssssssss" and stroking it with a loving hand. The internet was a gold mine of information: My new bag, which has no signs of use whatsoever, is a Speedy 30 Monogram Tote Bag (dumb name, isn't it?) and purses identical to it are currently being briskly bid upon on eBay for several hundred dollars apiece, with multiple bidders and reserve prices. The original retail price was apparently $605.00.
I am fuhhhhhreaaaaaaaked out. Really, I am. I can't decide if I should carry it (turned out in my Mom Clothes, which is to say sport pants, henley neck sport tops and casual Sketchers sneakers)nonchalantly hanging on my arm, or whether I should sell it on eBay and make a few hundred dollars off my $20 investment, or whether I should reverently stuff it with tissue and put it in a box and let it gently age until it is a true vintage bag instead of one dating about six seasons back or so.
My husband opines that such a bag doesn't really fit into my lifestyle, what with the aforementioned wardrobe and the van with the chipped paint on its nose. The girls murmured appreciatively at the idea of my keeping it, since they have been to Macy's and Jacobsens and marveled at how some people will actually spend $700 on a purse. I think I just want to look at it for a few days while I make up my mind -- praying all the while that I don't spill a Diet Coke on it -- and think about how something that never, ever, ever, ever happens to me actually did.