How I Bought a Liz Claiborne Purse for 91 Cents
Less than A Dollar
I am rough on many things, particularly jewelry, shoes, and purses. That is why I generally purchase inexpensive versions of those items. Even the best-quality, high-end brands can’t endure my wear. Sadly, they last the same ephemeral period as bargain basement purchases. Maybe things will change if one day stainless steel becomes haute couture.
I Have My Standards
Still, I have my pride and personal standards. I do not own shoes or purses sporting cheap white stitching that looks like barn door trim. My frugal earrings must not be chipped or cheap looking. My thrifty shoes must not be shiny plastic. If I am tempted to purchase something with weak construction, then I must be satisfied that I can repair and maintain it before going public.
Shopping is NOT Spending
Some people think that the word “shopping” is a euphemism for “buying.” Au contraire. Not the way I do it. For me, shopping is data collecting. How can one recognize a good deal if she isn’t on top of market fluctuations? So, if I suspect that I will imminently need a new Thingamajig, I start studying ads and trolling through appropriate departments in retail establishments. For the aforementioned three consumer categories, my reaction to the data –in other words, the current market prices – is usually “You’ve GOT to be kidding!” Remember, I destroy these items with ease and rapidity.
Finding the Acceptable Purse
If I put a new purse acquisition out for bids, the specifications would be:
Approximately 250 cubic inches of storage volume
2 (no more, no less) compartments, preferably zippered
At least one outside pouch on each side
With more than two compartments, I need to re-think what I will put where. Been there, done that. With one cavernous compartment, anything I want at a particular moment wriggles to the very bottom. Get real. I want half a chance of locating my keys, or wallet, or phone.
Liz Claiborne at the Goodwill Store
Yes. In other areas, it might be called the Rescue Mission, the Salvation Army, or the thrift store – but you get the drift. It is used stuff at unbelievably low prices for poor people. This is not consignment. It is rock bottom. I shop there regularly.
I know some savvy consumers who drive to the rich suburbs west of Philadelphia to scour those thrift shops. (Anyone need a slightly used tux?) However, to me the amount I would need to spend for gasoline negates the savings. I guess one could justify the expenses as part entertainment value – similar to justifying driving to a casino. Nevertheless, I shop locally. Doing this, I still find many nice, gently used items.
The purse I scored had only one defect that I spotted: a faint mark on the front which suspiciously resembles the adhesive residue from a one-inch piece of masking tape. One has to search to find it; it does not LEAP out at the world. I am guessing it is from a tape price tag at a yard sale. Since it’s so simple for me to get that kind of mar within weeks of using a purse, and because it is so imperceptible, I bought the Goodwill Claiborne purse. I am a happy camper.
The Recession is the Mother of New Tricks
Maybe you have higher standards. Maybe you have a grand income source. But, maybe the adventure of this appeals to you. Or, maybe you are scratching your head for yet another way to spend less due to the recession or other demands on your pot of dough. If you never considered thrift store shopping, now is an opportune time to give it a try!
P.S. - That 91 cents is the total of the price plus the PA sales tax. :D
Photo and text copyright 2011 Maren Morgan.