Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Wallet Paranoia

Things were supposed to run smooth and be enjoyable. There is this store in downtown Chicago named Nordstrom Rack where you can get, among other things, beautiful designer handbags for half the price of the upper end retailers and I got the useful habit of visiting the location from time to time to see what’s new. The handbag stage of my life is not so intense anymore, partly because for a while I got almost everything I truly fancied and the peak was reached a day in July 2008 when I bought, beware, five beauties in a single breathe. Because, as the ladies truly sympathetic to the cause are fully aware, buying handbags is not about functionality but about honoring the sheer beauty materialized into the world in the form and smell and gentle feel of genuine leather with big fashion labels attached.

I didn’t want to buy any bag this morning, only to admiringly caress a few and talk to the best. After this was accomplished I moved on to the wallets area.

Truth to be told, I need a new wallet, something neither too fancy nor too common. After all, a wallet is a kind of investment in your medium term personal pleasure, so you can’t just act randomly. Believe it or not, for six months I haven’t found anything appealing enough. It should be leather, nice color, interesting design, a little bit of craftsmanship, well organized insides. I don’t want that much, as you can see. The odds of finding something suitable today seemed adverse up to a point, when the tendency unashamedly reversed itself.

It is my idea that should you want to find something interesting to buy, you have to already carry some item in your hand and then other beautiful things will immediately follow.

True to the form, I had a not-so-interesting wallet in my hand and before three additional minutes have elapsed, I found a navy blue wallet, leather, not expensive, perfectly organized. I decided to buy it but I kept browsing the shelves anyway, just for the fun of it.

I kept juggling tens of wallets, looking, sniffing and slightly disapproving. Now, for the convenience of further reading, let’s treat wallets like they are persons with feelings and caprices and let’s name the first interesting one “Navy”. The brand was Mundi, like in Sic Transit Gloria Mundi.

In about five minutes I dug out “Natural”, a nuance of cognac, fine trimmed leather wallet which instantly got irreversibly attached to my sensitive soul. From then on I wasn’t myself anymore, so I just kept digging, completely indifferent to the intricate unfolding of the exterior world.

In another five minutes or so I met “Bamboo”, a greenish, fine trimmed leather wallet, exactly the same design like the above mentioned “Natural”. The brand of “Bamboo” and “Natural” is called Hobo, and sports the core message that women accessories should be both stylish and practical. I couldn’t agree more.

At that point I simply wanted badly all the three of them because these are my very favorite colors: green, cognac and navy blue.

Since at the present moment I’m not engaged at my full potential with the job market, I was forced to be somehow selective and being selective took me two whole agonizing hours.

I listened to the voice of reason for a while and I said I would stick with the option to buy “Navy”. Then I thought that I deserve no less than the best and “Navy”, albeit the most well organized and not so expensive, was definitely not the most charming. And charm matters.

“Natural” was simply irresistible, that perfectly balanced nuance of cognac which makes my insides melt. Beautiful trimmings, soft leather, nice interior, not so many slots for credit cards and business cards though. But the feel and the smell of his heavenly leather!

“Bamboo” was exactly the same design, only green wit a shade of grey. “Bamboo” and “Natural” looked perfect together, like soul mates wallets. But then I thought I won’t carry two wallets in my purse on the same time anyway. Now how would you decide between the two of them? Every time I decided to buy “Bamboo” I felt that “Natural” looks at me deeply disappointed. I was sure that should I buy “Bamboo”, every time I would look at him I would also see the sadness of the renounced “Natural”. Conversely, every time I decided to buy “Natural”, I was sure I would be haunted by Bamboo’s disappointment. Now how on earth to solve this drama?

And then there was “Navy” with that hard to resist I-know-I-am-not-good-enough-for-you expression on his figure. I was brave enough to put “Navy” back on shelf and I went near a mirror to study myself with “Bamboo” and “Natural” taking polite turns in my hands. For a brief span of the morning I decided to buy both of them.

Then the inevitable happened and I also found a pajama top which I liked. Then I found a watch. Then I went back to the shelf to dug out “Navy” again and explain that I still love him. Then I renounced the watch. Then I renounced the pajama top and I found myself exactly at the very beginning, trying to decide among three wallets.

Next step was deciding to buy “Navy” (very functional) and “Bamboo” (very beautiful). I put “Natural” back on the shelf and got ready to pay.

Then I committed a fatal error. I went back to the shelf to say goodbye to “Natural”. When I saw him again I couldn’t actually say goodbye so I took him back in my hands and I started the whole decisional ordeal again. I felt my tights aching (I was on high heels), my head was dizzy and I had this soft feeling of being ready to faint. Now what? seemed to asked Navy, Bamboo and Natural, in a silent and knowing coalition.

In the meantime, the line to pay became so crowded that I simply felt unable to honor it. All I wanted was to run away in the fresh, cold, life threatening Chicago air.

But how about the wallets?

I decided to remain calm and act logical only that I couldn’t remember exactly how to do that. I took some pictures of the wallets and I breathed in and out like they recommend at those smart yoga sessions. Yoga is nice but I’m not so sure that is really effective when an otherwise decent person like me is touched by the buying paranoia. At this point I saw the wallets like three wild animals trying to eat up whatever was left from my sanity. I simply couldn’t buy them or renounced them or o combination of the above.

Let’s summarize.

Had I bought “Navy”, I would have had an unpleasant feeling that I traded off beauty for functionality, an idea I am strongly adverse to.

Had I bought “Natural”, I would have been traumatized for life by the sadness of the renounced “Bamboo”.

Had I bought “Bamboo”, I would have been traumatized for life by the sadness of the renounced “Natural”.

Had I bought all the three of them, I would have paid too much, although for a few minutes I entertained the idea that by paying each wallet with a different credit card, the total amount spent would somehow be less scary than if charged to a single credit card.

I entered the store at 10.30 in the morning and I left it at 12.30 without any wallet and I felt an indescribable relief that at least the three of them will be able to psychologically support each other through the huge disappointment of being collectively rejected by a fine consumer like me.

But, as Scarlett O’Hara so appropriately emphasizes, tomorrow is another day and a decision can be made and wallets can be bought.

So, just to confuse me a little bit more, can you tell me which one is The Best?