In addition to this photo documentary focus, I discovered another monthly challenge to join while reading Belle's post yesterday: Laurie Halse Anderson's WFMAD challenge (Write Fifteen Minutes a Day). I have yet to develop a writing routine and summer is nearly over. I decided that it is either time to put up - or shut up, as the old saying goes. Fifteen minutes a day is nothing, right? And if a very well-respected, bestselling author is endorsing this challenge I would be a fool not to hop on this bandwagon.
So now that you know the background, let me explain why Vera Bradley is the topic for both of the challenges. Yesterday was the 101st Birthday of Miss Vera and the stores were having a day long celebration with specials every two or three hours and chances to win prize give aways all day long. Now many of you have been fans of these lovely quilted handbags for years. What you need to know about me is this:
- I hate to carry a purse (I prefer to carry keys, money, and credit card in my pocket and leave my cell phone in the car)
- I had not even heard of Vera Bradley until last year when I was preparing for BEA and all the tweets were about the new VB bags purchased for the occasion.
- I am a sucker for anything that is remotely considered a "bargain"
- While I like to pride myself on having a mind of my own and a healthy dose of will-power, I am apparently easily swayed by popular opinion.
So....yesterday I decide to visit the store for the open to noon promotion: the All-in-One Wristlet for $20 (regular price $32). That is nearly 40% off and this is actually one of the three VB items that I own and use. I immediately thought of the possibility of Christmas gifts. When I arrived at 11:35 the store was definitely crowded, but the selection of wristlets was still good and I decided to purchase only one (rather than three for each of my "girls") for Christmas. I left the store feeling very proud that I did not over-buy, that I found a great "bargain", and that I purchased a Christmas gift before Labor Day.
However.....the seed of temptation had been planted deep within my brain and before I arrived home I had already plotted my return visit later that afternoon when the Mailbag would be on sale for $49 (retail value $68) AND it included a FREE mini-zip wallet (retail value $27). OH MY! This was an even better deal than the wristlet. I like the idea that the mailbag can be slung across your shoulder (alleviating some of the uneven distribution of weight and causing severe shoulder pain when lugging around half my possessions on a weekend trip).
So, at 5:00pm I was on my way to the store --- again. It certainly did not help matters that my daughter and her friend were there: Megan having already purchased the mailbag special and lauding its versatility and her friend declaring that it is her most favorite VB bag in the collection. I had twenty minutes to decide and the checkout line was getting longer by the second. Soon my hands began to sweat. If I was going to take advantage of this most amazing special then I needed to make up my mind quickly. Which fabric pattern? Would I really use the purse around town (or simply for those future vacation trips that are not even a remote possibility for the next several months/years)? Do I really like the wallet style? Fifteen more minutes....oh no...what do I do? Would I regret the purchase decision once I got home - or would I regret not saving all that money? Ten more minutes, it was going to have to be either now or never.....
I decided to forgo the "bargain" I really did not like the wallet (so the savings of $27 was not accurate) and I just wasn't sure the mailbag was the right handbag for me.
Well, I certainly felt better. I looked temptation in the eye and said "NO THANK YOU" I was feeling quite proud of myself for the second time that day.
But wait.....the final special of the day was indeed the best. For from 6:00 to close you could choose any one item in the store for 20% off! I tell you, at 6:01 the women literally came out of the woodwork! The store was busy at 5:59 --- it was impossible to move at 6:01. The line formed at the cash register and snaked down one side of the store, across the front doors, down the other side of the store, and to the far back! I do not exaggerate - I bet there were over 75 women (many with their school age daughters) waiting to take advantage of the sale.
I am not sure if it was the lack of oxygen in the store, the hypnotic effect of the fabric patterns, or the pull of mob mentality, but suddenly I found myself transformed. I was no longer the strong-willed, independent women who cares less about fashion; I was this VB connoisseur who helped others make purchase decisions (I notice a lot of women today are selecting that bag for their child's lunch), who envisioned my wardrobe filled with all styles of VB purses (the Knot Just a Clutch in the Night and Day print would be the perfect accessory for those rare times that Geoff and I dress up for a night on the town; the Mini Hipster in Hello Dahlia is the perfect little bag for those European trips I plan to next within the next decade), who somehow miraculously had memorized not only all the different handbag styles, but all the festive names of the fabrics: Very Berry Paisley - Symphony in Hue - Poppy Fields. The names are so whimsical and the colors so vibrant and full of life that that you can't help but smile and feel good about the world. Suddenly spending upwards of $80 for a purse seems reasonable (this coming from a woman who hesitates to spend $12 on sale). For, after all, you can't put a price tag on happiness, can you?
Before I know it, I have stood in line 50 minutes and it is my turn to check out. In a rather zombie-like state I notice that I have handed the cashier the Vera bag in Sittin' in a Tree fabric and have gladly allowed her to charge my card the $72 retail price - minus 20% of course! I gratefully take the package from her and make my way to the front door.
Once outside I take a seat on the park bench and begin to catch my breath. I am a little light headed and decide to take it easy. Slowly I return to my senses....WHAT HAVE I JUST DONE?! Instant buyer's remorse hits me like a ton of bricks. "I can't afford this?" "What on earth do I need with another book bag? -- Sure, I'll use it for school and it will be great as a carry-on bag for all those adventurous European vacations I will take - but did I really NEED it now?" Of course not.
And so now today's focus will be: Do I return the bag and chalk up the experience to temporary insanity - or do I keep the bag and use it as a constant reminder of the power of mob mentality?