I have trouble with bags. The problem is threefold: firstly, I carry a lot of stuff around and don’t have time to transfer it all between bags depending on my mood and/or outfit, so at any given time I need ONE bag, and one bag alone, which will do duty under all circumstances.
Secondly, I get bored with bags quite quickly, so there’s no point spending much money on them because they tend to get charity-shopped within six to twelve months.
Thirdly, I have very specific requirements. I need to keep my phone and travelcard in an external pocket which is both easily accessible and safe from passing muggers. I need a separate compartment for my keys, BBC staff pass, mints and sunglasses (summer) or gloves (winter). I need another compartment big enough for the make-up I cart around and don’t use. I need to be able to store – at minimum – a book, a bottle of water, a shopping bag, an umbrella, my purse and a plastic folder containing various bits of paper relating to Things I Need To Do. And I need two sets of straps, short and long, so that I can choose whether to hang the bag over one shoulder (easier), around my torso and over the other shoulder (safer) or both (both). Oh, and a separate pocket for my iPod, because the case is encrusted with crystals and if I store it next to anything else the crystals fall off.
So I was delighted yesterday when I found this bag in Dorothy Perkins, which fulfilled every single one of those requirements, and wasn’t horrible, and was a colour (black, if you can’t be bothered to check) which would go with everything else I own.
I duly took it up to the counter, but as the sales assistant was removing the stuffing (is it called that?) I noticed the main zip sticking. “Oh”, I said, “that zip looks a bit sticky, do you mind if I just check to see whether they’re all like that?”. She rolled her eyes and shrugged, which I took as a “no, please go ahead”.
Well, they were all like that, but I decided it didn’t matter enough to make me not buy the bag, so I went back to the counter, where the sales assistant was now serving someone else. She saw me and asked her colleague to serve me. The colleague said “No, I’m going upstairs”, looked at me and said “you’ll have to wait your turn.”
SIGH, I thought. And then I thought: you know, the bag’s not that nice, and I could buy one from a shop with polite salespeople. “Actually”, I said, airily. “I think I’ll leave it, thanks.”
And then I went home and ordered it from their website, for £5 extra. I know I don’t sound it, but I feel like the winner.