All the pleasures of Soho
(Below is an excerpt from an entry handwritten on 3/11/2017)
On Monday I had to cover for Angela. It was a very long day but I decided to go to the Balenciaga store in Soho after work to buy a black Balenciaga city bag, the one I have wanted since it came out, I think in 2002. The store is on Mercer Street so I took the subway to Canal Street and walked the rest of the way, which was still a pretty long walk but luckily I didn’t get lost. The store closed at 6pm that night so I was trying to walk quickly, since I had stayed at work until 5pm that day.
The store was quiet and a guard stood just inside the door and greeted me when I walked in. I walked down a flight of stairs because I didn’t see any handbags on the top floor. They were all downstairs and they were all so beautiful. So many Balenciaga purses in so many different shapes and sizes and colors.
I was greeted by a male salesperson and then a blonde, female one who asked if I was finding everything OK. I asked about a Balenciaga city bag that I saw on a shelf in red, but asked if they had one in black, and she went to look for it.
The saleslady was refined, calm, quiet, pristine, and confident. I never felt more rough around the edges before in my life. I had a rushed, harried air about me, and my hair was in a curly, low ponytail. I was wearing a cheap, black cross body purse, and I spoke more loudly and hurriedly than she did.
She asked if I owned any Balenciaga bags and I said no, that I have wanted one for many years. She brought out two bags with different hardware styles and I picked the one I liked the best. It was slouchier and less structured. She asked if I wanted anything to drink, like water or coffee. I thought for a moment and said no, that I was fine.
She went to see if the bag I wanted was in stock but it turned out that the display bag was the only one left. She invited me to inspect it and said she would never sell me my first Balenciaga bag if it wasn’t in excellent condition. She was so calm, cool and collected. And she brought out a little form for me to fill out and sign so that they would have my ‘profile.’ She was also very gentle when opening/handling the bags.
When the form was filled out, she invited me to sit on a black leather bench and gaze upon some very expensive shoes. She asked if I would like her to package the bag with the stuffing still inside, which I thought was kind of odd, but said yes that was fine. She told me the total of what the price came to, a little over $1,900, and I gave her my credit card.
She asked for my ID as well, which I wondered if was standard but assumed it was, and she ran my card and asked me to sign. She handed me a beautiful, pristine white shopping bag (with ‘Balenciaga’ printed on the front in black, block letters) which held my lovely, new purchase. She gave me her business card, for if I had any issues or questions, and asked if I wanted to be handed the receipt or have it placed in the bag. So much formality.
I said that in the bag was fine, and thanked her a lot before going back up the stairs where the guard held the door open for me to leave. The saleslady had also tried to sell me some $30 bag cream to rub into the leather periodically to smooth it out after it starts to show wear. But I told her I would come back for that another time.
Honestly I don’t know if I will. I kind of want the bag to look a little worn after some use so that it adds to the character of the bag’s look. And I do plan to use it daily so I assume that wear will likely happen. I bought the purse as a late Valentine’s gift to myself. Last month I didn’t really have the money for it.
The title of this post is a line from the song ‘Pleasures of Soho’ by the Soho Dolls, which I had stuck in my head while walking on the way to the store.
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