Saturday, October 22, 2011

Lady Bags

Nijmegen and the surrounding villages have a collective population of about 250,000 people, and on Saturdays, it seems like every one of them is pouring into the markt. They buy shoes, clothes, knick-knacks, outdoor gear, books, etc. And sometimes--just sometimes--you might even see a woman buy a purse.

There are a plethora of cheap and not-so-cheap purse sellers, and a decent number of high-end purse-and-luggage stores (sorry, Wenneke's doesn't count). Given the sheer number of €5-purses to be found, one could reasonably be expected to wonder how the high-end stores stay in business. The answer: they're actually in cahoots with each other.

Most women will naturally gravitate towards the less expensive items, because they're Dutch and they're women (we're like that). With purses, though, you definitely get what you pay for, up to a certain price (€200, by my reckoning), and the trick is to get a bag that will last long enough to justify the price, while still spending as little as possible. But at some point, you just get sick and tired of the handles breaking, zippers getting stuck, clasps no longer clasping, and, in some of the really cheap bags, you can even wear a hole right through the bottom.

It is at this point that the woman decides that she IS GOING TO GET A NICE BAG, no matter how much it costs, one that doesn't fall apart and one that will last the ages. And so she visits a high-end shop, looks around nervously, and then, after several weeks of agonizing choosing, makes a decision. She will have put more thought into this one bag than she has for all of her previous bags put together. It may even frighten her when she makes the purchase. But she makes it anyway, because it will be the last purse she has to buy for a long time.

At least, that's how I envision it, because there really is no other explanation for how the posh stores stay in business. And that's certainly what I was thinking when I bought mine.

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