An Ode To My Purse: A Tale of COACH Leatherware, Crazy Craigslisters, & Depreciating Purse Values

Back in the not so roaring year of 2008 when President Bush part deux was still in office and house prices were falling like a skydiver with no parachute, I went out and bought a brand spanking new COACH Purse. I don’t know what it was about this particular purse that called to me, it wasn’t necessity that lured me into the store, I have a closet full of purses…it was just one of those things I will never be able to explain. Maybe I was seduced by the spotlights in the store shining down on the antiqued bronze hardware and the sales lady’s exotic overuse of the word “amethyst” in reference to the soon-to-be-mine purple handbag. Over maybe it was that the fact that the sales people went on to tell me about the removable adjustable shoulder strap, the special COACH Legacy Stripe lining, the zippered interior pocket, multifunction open pockets, and the signature turnlock closure on the front pocket. I don’t know what it was, but I was DROOLING! Then the sales people followed this hard sell up with a quick mention of Garcia leather, limited edition, and use of the word satchel. I mean I wasn’t just buying a purse I was buying a satchel, and a lifestyle! I mean really…how can you say no to a satchel?! In my mind I really was one step away from having a horse, jodhpurs, and riding around on the English countryside before returning to my manor house.

Well, fast-forward two years to 2010, and the dream is dead. The satchel is now just a purse and I currently have dental floss, a beat up wallet, and four different kinds of lip balm/gloss/lipstick rolling around on the Legacy Stripe lining. The reality of the purse is that it’s a chore and a half! Why didn’t I notice this when I was so busy convincing myself an amethyst purse was a must in my closet?! The purse weighs as much as a newborn when it’s empty! That doesn’t even include my usual assortment of sunglasses, store loyalty cards, and folded up pieces of printer paper with notes on them. Worse than it’s overfed Cabbage Patch weight, due to its gargantuan size I am constantly knocking stuff off displays in stores! Finally the worst of the worse the purse looks very fuddy duddy when used with the removable shoulder strap. The purse doesn’t quite fit on my shoulder with the smaller straps so it’s constantly falling down my upper arm to my elbow, or further, before I have to heft it back up onto my shoulder to try again. So what I ended up with was this awkward thing hanging on my arm at my elbow joint like purple blob. My purse, aka albatross, from hell was made to go out and see other purses and be seen by other people and purses, but I seriously think it’s giving me back issues! I was totally disillusioned! This purple purse problem was getting out of hand!

The easiest solution to the problem is to stop using the purse, but it is practically brand new. You don’t stop using a practically new, season appropriate, purse mid-season. That is practically sacrilegious, so that forced me to think of another practical solution to this purse problem…SELL IT ON CRAIGSLIST!!! Putting anything out there to be sold on Craigslist is kind of a nerve wracking experience for me. There is something about my Craigslist ads that attract the crazies and delusional people in the Craigslist world, and when I posted my purse, karma sure didn’t disappoint me! I got an e-mail from a “very interested buyer” who wanted to trade me a couple dollars in cash and a “like new condition” COACH signature handbag for my gorgeous, plush, beautiful amethyst COACH Legacy handbag (see how quickly my opinion of the albatross changed when faced with a potential trade?!) At first glance, this deal wasn’t horrible, I mean I really didn’t want another handbag, least of all a used handbag, but I was willing to take a peek and consider it! And five seconds after opening the follow up e-mail with the pictures of the purse up for trade I was ready to decline the offer. I don’t know why she thought I would be tempted by a very ho hum purse that is missing the shoulder strap!!! This is like the used car equivalent of telling someone the car is in “showroom quality”…if show room quality means a car missing all four tires! This whole thing was getting to be more effort than it was worth! It was time to but the purple problem in its dust bag and bury it in the bottom of my closet and forget about it, but how does a person ignore a $750+ purse?!

See, this is the true reason I was holding onto the purse like a dog with a bone, the $750 price tag. I read this article about how Sex & The City totally skewed women’s perception of “what’s affordable”. Basically the article talked about how these beautiful amazing designer pieces were shown to us week after week on these beautiful people living in gorgeous apartments and somewhere along the way we forgot it was all make believe…and maybe that is what happened with me and this purse. Granted I didn’t pay $750, I have my sneaky sales people ass kissing, coupon wielding ways, but still it wasn’t a “designer” original purchased from Ross for $19.99. Sure it’s just COACH, it’s not a Gucci, Prada, Louis Vuitton but the common sense part of me was balking at the fact that a purse used for a solid 7 months wasn’t even worth $160 on the open Craigslist market. I have been reading a lot recently about financial fitness and making wise consumer decisions, why the hell isn’t there a huge “DON’T BUY OVERRPICED PURPLE PURSES” on any of these lists?! Okay, maybe that one was self-explanatory, but still! Considering the cost of these handbags why isn’t there are public outcry on the depreciation of handbags?! Why is no one complaining that purses like mine, which trust me is on the cheap end of the purse market, is worth less than 20% of what I paid for it?! Someone should probably come up with one of those financial calculators that estimate “how much house can you afford or how much car can you afford” for purses. You could put in your income, your shoe buying habits, and where you buy most of your clothes, and how you pay for it and it will spit out “how much purse” you can afford!

So here I am, with my purple purse, hoping someone makes a semi-decent offer on it, but I am not hopeful. Mostly I am just getting people who are asking me questions like “Is this an authentic COACH purse?” and “Is this a made for outlet purse” or “What kind of condition is the purse in?” even though the title for my ad says “Authentic COACH Legacy Amethyst Purse! Not an Outlet Purse! Great Condition!”

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