Thursday, December 11, 2008

Bursting the Handbag Bubble

As is typical of the season, I receive about ninety-five ads, catalogs and solicitations in the mail every day. My kitchen counters are awash in shiny, full color spreads from Home Decorators', Walmart, Kohl's, Touch of Class, Fred Meyer. All clamoring for their share of the general population's fast-disappearing discretionary dollar. Some retailers are even trying to adopt the, "Our loss is your gain" tactic. Kind of like, "We're sinking fast but you can get some real good deals before we go under…"

And then…and then, there's Nordstrom. Steadfast in its appeal to the "Haves." As opposed to the "Have Nots." Or the "Did Have but Won't For Longs."

Nordstrom with its hand-picked selection of $250 costume jewelry watches, with which one can adorn one's wrist while toting a $600 designer handbag. Nordstrom…in all its unerring allegiance to pricey, unnecessary affectation.

Nordstrom stands alone here in the Pacific Northwest as a testament to the excesses endemic to the lifestyle of riding the economic bubble. That bubble which burst…sometime in the relatively recent past. (The Bush Administration is allowing now that it actually burst sometime last December…?)

But burst it has; causing those of us who might once have foolishly considered the purchase of a $600 purse to pull the strings on our shabby little $25 tote bag as tight as we can, the better to hold in the funds we need to merely survive.

Not that I ever entertained the notion of owning a multi-hundred dollar handbag. But it makes you wonder…who would? What in god's name would make a stupid purse worth what many people pay in monthly rent?

What were we thinking?

Makes one realize that this country was badly in need of an…economic correction, doesn't it?




emmapeelDallas said...

Yep, we're WAY overdue for an economic correction. $600 handbags, $40,000 cars and million (& more) dollar homes. Who can afford this stuff? Well, precious few, it seems, not that that's stopped anyone...

sunflowerkat321 said...

This is exactly the point I was trying to make when I commented on the previous post. I am constantly stunned at what people will pay for an everyday item with a high end logo. How can it possibly be worth it? It's pathetic how we have bought in to shop at the "right" places, carry the "right" handbag, wear the "right" shoes, drive the "right" car, etc, etc. Did you know that you can buy a Coach collar for your dog?

If we come out of this economic crisis appreciating the folly of excess....that will be the silver lining on this very dark cloud.

JACKIE said...

There's been an ad for closet organizers; you know the hooks that hold several hangers and cascades what they're holding. Well, it seems they work for handbags too. Six to be exact. Lordy, lordy, I never found a need for more than one. And I've never worn anything that had somebodies name on it; except for Levi's 501 jeans. LOL

Michelle said...

I am definitely guilty of the handbag consumption. lol
At one point I had 10 Coach handbags and 2 Dooney and Bourkes. I sold all but 4 Coach's and 1 D&B this summer. The other 5 bags will be going as soon as I can get something out of them.
When things were good it didn't seem so insane to drop money on designer handbags. Now I shake my head and wonder what the hell I was thinking.

Kathy said...

I don't know what we were thinking ... was it all about 'keeping up with the Joneses?' I admit, my oldest was thrilled this year when she bought her first designer handbag ... for $225.00. I didn't bat an eye ... she saved for it, she shopped for it, she needed it for some reason.

I love that she enjoys it. I really do, but I could not spend that kind of money on a bag for myself (or anyone else) and feel good about it.

Too many people go hungry, are cold, need something.

Cynthia said...

Our culture says that the only way you have value is if you have money, beauty and power. When I see someone advertising high end logos and names, I always wonder just how insecure they are. (Yet, I still carry the good leather designer purses I bought when I was in my twenties.) I fear our country needs more than an economic correction, but a values correction. That's such a slippery slope though. The good intentions of promoting just common respect can become a rocky hellbound road of totalitarianism. (Sorry about the tangential thinking there.)