Sunday, June 15, 2008

Poo on Designer Names

She had been eyeing up the Dooney & Bourke handbag Michael gave me for Christmas over a year ago. I gave it to her this winter. It was black so we ordered her a spring Dooney in ivory for her birthday last week. Now Gina’s in Dooney heaven. I just don’t get it. What’s all the fuss about? A handbag is functional. You scrape it, bang it, and it still carries your junk.

I’ve had several favorite handbags with bargain price tags. The one I loved the most I bought at Target five years ago for $16.99. It was comfortable on my shoulder as a perfect fit for me, and it was organized just the way I like it. Sadly, the strap got caught on a rack of my bottom desk drawer at work and I had to free it with scissors. I almost cried.

Yesterday she invited me to SouthPark Mall to look for shoes she needs for a wedding she’ll be attending in a few weeks. “Mom, you’ll love this mall.” (Yeah, right – I’ve heard about it.) Maybe I’m the only person in the Charlotte vicinity who hadn’t been to this exclusive mall, featuring stores like Neiman Marcus, Tiffany & Co., Louis Vuitton, Nordstrom, Ralph Lauren, Hermes, Burberry, and St. Johns Boutique. I like Ralph Lauren but I’ve never been to Neiman Marcus. I like nice things, but...


Valet parking is offered to customers in a shaded garage but we parked on the steaming hot deck near Nordstrom, another store I avoid.

We fondled diamonds at Tiffany’s. I thought my favorite ring, modest at less than 2 carats, would be almost affordable. With a huge belly laugh on the way out of the store, Gina told me the price was $41,000. Ok. I’ll put in on my Christmas list. That’s obscene but the diamond was brilliant beyond words.


Here I am in the dressing room at Nordstrom standing on freshly vacuumed carpet and feeling sort of like a dandelion in a field of poppies. There were plenty of dandelions at the mall, just like me. A beautiful black lady played elegantly on a baby grand piano in the middle of the store. I wanted to take her picture. Gina, being self-conscious and not yet embracing the concept to live life like it’s your last day, live for the moment, or life is too short to hold back, worried that I might be arrested for stalking. Oh, but wouldn’t my arrest be blogworthy? Heyall yeah!

I drooled over an eight-inch tall tropical bird at Swarovski’s.

We found twenty-five thousand pairs of shoes at Dillards. They were all tempting and beautiful but those six-inch heels would put me face down on the concrete, maul my face real good, and cripple my ankles for the rest of my life. What? No Keds?


This mall didn’t showcase Hondas, Kias, Chevys, or Fords – only Mercedes, Audi, and Lexus. South Charlotte is wealthy. The Rite Aid nearby looks like a resort.

On our way out of the mall, Gina suggested we visit Bob Ellis, a store full of Gucci handbags and shoes. “Wow, Manolo Blahnik! Have you heard of these shoes? Feel this shoe, Mom.” She knows her designer names. “And look at these! Jimmy Choo! Oprah’s favorite!” Oprah can afford hundreds of pairs of seven hundred dollar shoes. I laughed out loud. I saw smiling women sitting on their shoe thrones trying on four hundred dollar pairs of strappy sandals. And I thought about the children in Charlotte who walk around barefoot out of necessity.

We didn’t visit Neiman Marcus. I’ll go back and visit, replaying a few scenes in the back of my mind from the movie Pretty Woman. There will be no obscene amount of money to spend, nor will there be major sucking up. Just me and my camera.

Leaving the parking lot on the way home, we laughed so hard. The shopping trip cost us a gallon or two of gasoline, an eleven dollar lunch at Showmars, and an undergarment for Gina. No shoes, yet. Next trip.

If I weren’t so tired of looking at fifty thousand pairs of shoes during a six mile walk, I’d have asked Gina if she would accompany me to Target. I have a twenty-five dollar gift card burning a hole in my wallet! Whoot!

Back home, back down to earth,


Dragonfly needed a little gentle grooming.


Good to go.


LauraHinNJ said...

Oh Mary, I don't get the whole mall thing, either. Or the shoe thing. Or the bag thing.

Helping out that dragonfly... I get that.

Glad you're here on earth with the rest of us.


I'm with your daughter on the D&Bs, Mary. I have two. I'll have to send you pics sometime. ;o)

Anonymous said...

I recently bought a Prada bag. It says so right on the label. My husband about died -- you BOUGHT a Prada????? No, honey, I bought a FAUX Prada. It is leather but that's the only thing real about it. :) I could care less about labels -- does it fit, feel good, look good, and last? That's what really matters!

Beth said...

I think you would come closer to getting arrested taking a picture in the fitting room than at the grand piano--but maybe you snuck that picture in when the daughter wasn't looking! Great post, I have a shopping daughter too and love to spend the time with her but would never do it on my own.

Jayne said...

I am so with you Mary! The whole thing about $200+ pocketbooks baffles me endlessly. I have a friend who loves the Brighton line and she has these stacks of like hat boxes they come in perched in the top of her closet. She actually CHANGES bags depending on the outfit. Bahahahahahaha! Me? I have a tan one for summer and a black one for winter... $35-40 Stone Mountain from Marshall's outlet store.

RuthieJ said...

I'm guessing you didn't see any biker chicks at that mall either, did you??

Ditto what Laura says! :-)

Kerri Farley said...

Mary...the dragonfly groomer!
Way to go!!

Crayons said...

Hi Mary,
This is a clever post. I actually stopped reading it after a few paragraphs and scrolled to the end. I couldn't bear to read more about consumerism. I'm glad I scrolled! One dragonfly holds more wonder that the millions of square feet held by the mall.

Robin's Nesting Place said...

I don't care one bit about brand names. I couldn't believe it when I found a Dooney & Bourke handbag with a Dooney & Bourke wallet inside for only $5.00 at a garage sale Saturday. They look brand new too! That's my kind of shopping!

NCmountainwoman said...

I am so with you, Mary. We live a relaxed lifestyle and L.L. Bean is about the most prestigious designer around.

You may be the only person I've known to groom a dragonfly. Way to go.

Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

This is why I love you May!!

Peg Silloway said...

Another wonderful, Mary-full post with good common sense. I'm with you on designer names and the insanity of $700 shoes that I couldn't stand in much less walk in! Who wants to be an unpaid walking advertisement for someone else? I do admit to having a Coach bag, but only because I found a nice dark green one on eBay and snuck in with a bid at the last minute. ;-)

One golden dragonfly with gossamer wings is worth more than 10 D&B bags.

Corey said...

My mom always called that store "Needless Markup". I think the two of you would get along famously.

Sherry at the Zoo said...

What a hoot! I don't like the mall and avoid it at all costs! BUT TARGET? LOVE IT!

Sandpiper (Lin) said...

I am passionate about hating shopping! LOL

possumlady said...

I'm so with you about designer names. My favorite purse also came from Target for $11.99 three years ago. It just depresses me to go into malls now to see so much useless stuff. The only time I go into one now is when I visit my eye doctor. I will then make a side trip to Williams Sonoma for some Ravida olive oil. Sooo expensive, but sooo good. I only allow myself one bottle a year.

Cheryl said...

Fun post but the best part for me was you and the dragonfly at the end.
My heart falls in my shoes when someone asks me to go shopping with them. I would rather be in my garden counting bumble bees.

Q said...

Dear Mary,
Hummm...time spent with daughter.
Time walking....not buying....delightful.
Cleaning Dragonflies is important work! So glad you were there to tend to the important stuff of this world.
Your dragonfly is a gem as are your Hummingbirds and the butterflies.

beckie said...

Mary, I had to smile at this one. I have a 16 yr. old granddaughter who loves designer, but she also loves a bargain and will only buy on sale or at second hand shops. As with the others and you...I could care less. Comfort and practicality are my style. Glad you had a fun day with your daughter. Time well spent! Oh to photograph a dragonfly.

JeanMac said...

I, too, would rather find a good bargain at Target or wherever.
Another great post!

Susan Gets Native said...

I NEVER pay full price for ANYTHING.
I get 90% of the girls' clothes at a second-hand store, and since we are lucky enough to live in an affluent town, we get lots of designer clothes and shoes. I got a brand-new Fossil purse for $3.

And Mr. Manolo should be forced to wear some of the shoes he designed, see just how horribly they will twist his ankles.

PJ said...

Love it, but your 1/3 acre is bliss compared to the wants of America-nice to peek in though once in awhile! Happy belated birthday to your daughter..what a neat tribute...oh, the dogs love them and the poor hot earth you have...hope there is relief soon!

Debbie said...

Mary, I am so not a shopper. (Unless it is my favorite garden center, craft store or Lowes!)

At least you were a very good sport and went along!

I also find the prises obscene and think of all those that have so little in this world. My conscience would not let me pay hundreds of dollars for a pair of shoes.

dmmgmfm said...

I love cousin Sadie (age 9), hurries me through the shoe section (and even makes me look at the ceiling sometimes) at Dillards when we are on a tight schedule because she knows if I start looking we'll be there all day.

Alyssa said...

I totally agree with you Mary. There are so many people out there who are incredibly poor that malls like you visited seem obscene. I don't get into name brands and am kind of turned off by it all. There are so many REALLY important things in this world and making an already wealthy company more wealthy isn't one of them. It's just so frivolus. I think you fixing the beautiful dragonfly's wing was a fitting ending to a thoughful post. It said it all!!

KGMom said...

Mary--the other day I had to wear heals (just 2 inch ones, mind) and I about DIED. Give me my Clark sandals in summer, and my clogs in winter. Now if the hoity-toity shoe makers make sandals and clogs (and I don't mean those little strappy dealies) then I am all for it.
As for handbags--I try them on before I buy--you know, sling it over my shoulder. Does it FEEL right?
I am so with you--ignore the designer labels.

entoto said...

I am so with you on this!~ I am not a shopper nor do I understand all this stuff about really expensive brands. Now, if only we had a Target up north.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Mary it sounds like you went to another planet. It is always fun to 'look' at other planets.

Anonymous said...

Great to see you in the mirror and high five for helping the dragonfly!

Rose said...

Great post! And amen to everything you said.
I wonder if any of those women buying $700 Jimmy Choo shoes would have given a five to a poor mother needing gas for her car??

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