Sometimes you meet someone who forces you to rethink everything you’ve ever known. And so it was as my daughter Jenny and I strolled through Nordstrom recently. Our toes had just broken the invisible threshold between sunglasses and bags when a chirping sales associate swooped in on Jenny. Within nanoseconds, and using some kind of spooky designer sixth sense, she had become aware of Jenny’s Rebecca Minkoff bag and saw a commission in her grasp. But Jenny’s light-blue leather beauty is the only truly extravagant accessory we’ve ever invested in. It was a special 17th birthday present, and was only bought after much mall-walking and agonizing on Jenny’s part and following the advice of two fabulous and funny guys who convinced her she couldn’t go wrong—and they were right! But it was a one-time thing, and more valued because of it.
As we made our way to the Winter Sale table, the sales associate fluttered after Jenny like the bluebirds around Cinderella (only much less helpful): “Hi, how are you today? Are you looking for a bag? Do you have something special in mind?” Jenny tried to lose her with a slip around a display rack, but the woman simply doubled back and resumed her attack. “We have some lovely bags…”
“We’re just looking,” I said, trying to draw her off. But she was no seagull distracted by my stale crust of bread. In the same moment that she’d registered Jenny’s bag, she had taken full measure of my $10 Target purse and now bestowed upon me the Withering Smirk of …Seriously?. It was just enough time, however, for Jenny to skirt around the table to a rack of hanging bags.
And it was here, as Jenny lightly fingered a taupe leather shoulder bag, that the revelation took place. “Isn’t that beautiful?” the saleswoman twittered. “Now it’s only one hundred and fifty dollars. It’s practically free! You just have to do it!”
In what universe is $150 free? I wondered, followed closely by, how much does Nordstrom pay its employees, anyway? I know there are plenty of people who would agree with this sales associate’s so called bargain, but I wasn’t sold.
We headed toward territory I knew the woman wouldn’t tread—the “Final Few” rack, where $60 wallets-on-chain-straps hung forlornly. Watching the woman’s grin fade, Jenny and I knew we’d made our escape.