Friday, May 4, 2018
Approximately 85% of the items in my closet are from secondhand stores. We have three of these shops in Kemptville: The Salvation Army Thrift Store, To Be Continued Consignment, and The Score. One of my favourite things to do when I have time between appointments is to browse the new weekly arrivals. You never know what you will find.
Many times you will find clothes in these shops that haven’t even been worn. The Score, in particular, carries clothing that I saw just last week on the tables at Costco in Barrhaven. This week they are hanging just as you walk in the front door, with the tags and size stickers still on them. For about half the original price.
One hot summer day last year I was flipping through the items in the “new” section of the store when I came across a brightly coloured patchwork cotton skirt with the face of a Japanese woman and a dragon in bright emerald green and silver on the front. It reminded me of a crazy patchwork skirt I once owned from Asia. I looked at the price tag. The original $129.00 had been covered over with an orange sticker reading $21.99. A deal in any country for a never-worn designer skirt by the Spanish brand Desigual.
The stores have all done their seasonal turnover now, and they are giving great deals on cool weather items that they need to clear out. I decided to have a quick look the other day, and I found quite a few things in my size. As I was cashing out, I looked up on the wall where the handbags are displayed. (By the way – if you buy a handbag in a thrift store and it is a bit grimy inside, take one of those germ-killing wet wipes and give it a good swipe. Don’t forget the inner corners and pockets. You can also leave it out on the porch overnight with the wet wipe still inside. This will disinfect your bag and leave it smelling fresh as new).
I saw a cute little leather purse. It was two-toned in shades of brown, a classic vintage style. It looked like something from the 60’s. I’m not much of a purse person - I lug most of my things around in a huge tote bag that stays in my car. But when I stepped closer and read the label, I received a bit of a shock. Prada. Price tag? $14.99. I grabbed the purse off the hook and placed it discreetly in front of the cashier.
“Did you see this?!” I asked her in a hushed voice.
“Yeah! You never know what you will find…” she smiled and calmly rang up my purchases.
I grabbed my bag and hustled out of the store.
At home, I Googled “small leather Prada bag”. I scrolled through the photos but couldn’t find an image of the one I was holding. The average price of a Prada bag appeared to be $2,000. About the price of a week in Mexico…or a small secondhand car. I was pretty sure my bag was a fake. After all – I had lived in Taiwan for three years. I own a pair of knockoff Puma sneakers that could easily pass for originals but they cost me ten bucks on the night market. I’ve seen the back alley pop up shops and the dingy warehouses full of “Coach” and “Louis Vuitton” purses. The chances of the purse I bought for fifteen dollars being a real designer bag were pretty slim.
But then…what if someone was doing their spring cleaning and accidentally threw the purse in the donation bin? I decided to put the bag in the closet instead of posting the image on social media like I normally do when I find something awesome. I was afraid that post would prompt an immediate response: “Hey! Where did you get that?! That’s my $2,000 Prada bag that I lost last year!!”
Finally, I turned to YouTube and searched “Prada bags: real vs. fake.” I watched three videos that all confirmed, my bag is not real. It’s a really nice-looking copy. I might give it to Mom for Mother’s Day – after all, I inherited my appreciation of great thrift store finds from her. You probably won’t catch me out in public with it, though. I don’t want people to think I spent $2,000 on a tiny handbag that doesn’t even hold a book and water bottle!
Posted by Diana Leeson Fisher at 12:32 PM