Picture it…a perfect Saturday afternoon shopping on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. The sun was out, the birds were singing. I had Gucci Guy on my arm and everything was perfect. Who could have predicted what was going to happen next.
There I was on the ground level of Chanel Beverly Hills. I threw myself onto the lavish Italian marble floor and had a full-out temper tantrum! Like a four year old child, I kicked and screamed, pounding my fists on the floor to the beat of my rant which went something like this…”You cannot – take a girl – to Chanel – tell her – you love a bag – suggest she try it – select a color – offer to buy said bag – then take it back! Who – does that!?! Seriously! That’s – not – ok!” My rant continued. The store was filled with women each glaring at him thinking the same thing; You monster! How could you?
From a young age, I have been mesmerized by Chanel. Absolutely enamored. Chanel on Rodeo isn’t enormous. It consists of two levels showcasing handbags and fine jewelry on the first and shoes and ready to wear on the second. I’ve been to Chanel in Paris, Hong Kong and Rome, but there is just something magical about Rodeo Drive.
Swiftly, but carefully, I skimmed the store eyeing each and every item with great precision. Imagining in vivid detail how I would style a dress or which clutch would accompany me to an upcoming event, even counting the number of compliments which would be bestowed upon me. Yes, this is what goes through the mind of a woman let loose in Chanel.
Then I spotted it, hidden on the second level perched high above. It was the Chanel Boy Bag I had been drooling over for two years. Simple yet classic, a staple every woman should own.
Gucci Guy must have noticed me drooling, as he approached and asked, “Do you like it?”. “Yes.” I said as I continued to make goo-goo eyes at it. “Let’s have a look”, he proclaimed. I gave him a nod in agreement and he swiftly waved over two associates. The bag was stunning in its simplicity – the Medium Chanel Boy Bag, Black Caviar with Matte Gold hardware. It was the right size to carry every day, not too big, not too small, and it was even in my go-to color – black. It was EVERYTHING! But wait, upon closer inspection, it was navy, not black. “Try it on!” prompted Gucci Guy. Reluctantly I did…I say reluctantly because I knew trying it on would mean falling in love and I really couldn’t afford to fall in love. You see I had already been in love earlier this month with Yves Saint Laurent and Christian Louboutin. Oops!
With bag strewn upon my shoulder and full length mirror at my disposal, the ritual commenced. I pulled my long blonde hair to one side revealing the elegant matte gold chain. Lips pursed with hand on hip, I swiveled efortlessly from side to side. I did a classic step-and-repeat in the mirror to see how it looked. “It fits you perfectly!” exclaimed Gucci Guy. “It’s perfect, however, I’m not a fan of navy” I replied as I carefully took the beautiful bag off my shoulder to return it to its rightful home. “We have it in other colors” chimed the remaining Chanel associate. Followed by Gucci Guy who said, “Pick out the color you like and I’ll buy it for you.” The five magical words every woman wants to hear in Chanel: I’LL BUY IT FOR YOU! I stammered “Really?!? That’s so sweet! Thank you, thank you, thank you!” In six-inch heels, I bounced up and down with pure joy. With a hug and a kiss, I directed Gucci Guy to the designated Boyfriend Sitting Area (or as I playfully refer to it The BSA) and off I went to select the color. “P-L-E-A-S-E have the Medium Chanel Boy Bag, Black Caviar with Matte Gold hardware I chanted to myself as I anxiously followed the associate down the impressive staircase.
“I’ve sent someone to see if we have it in black. While we wait, I’ll show you other options” the associate pressed. Black wasn’t a deal breaker, just my first choice so I obliged. Pink, silver, red…the red caught my eye. If they don’t have it in black I’ll take the red. I love red I said to myself as I thought of all the things I could wear it with. “You’re in luck, we have one in Black Caviar!” stated the clerk. I beamed with excitement as I tried on MY bag, this time accessorizing it with a confident smile.
I was sold on the black. Wait…maybe I should get it in red? Is black too basic…am I basic? Maybe I should let Gucci Guy weigh in, after all he’s paying for it. I skipped back up the stairs bags in tow to find Gucci Guy patiently awaiting my return. Before I could even ask, he smiled and said, “I like the black one”. With that, the associate stepped away to begin processing the sale.
To my surprise, he asked THE dreaded question no woman ever wants to hear in Chanel…”HOW MUCH?” I felt the blood leave my body, I was instantly hot and clammy all over. NOW he’s asking the price?!? Are you kidding me? If he was concerned with price, why didn’t he ask earlier, like maybe before he offered to buy it? Now, awaiting the associate’s return, he impatiently rummaged through the bag until he found the price neatly tucked into the pocket. His eyes popped out of his head and bounced exactly twice on the plush rug before returning back to their sockets. Without taking a breath, he started in “That’s ridiculous, a Gucci bag twice this size costs less! NO! It’s too much! NO! – NO! – NO!” (as if one NO! wasn’t enough).
I had no words…I was speechless and that’s when the Chanel associate returned. “I have a pair of shoes I think you would like, they would look great with your new bag!” I looked at HIM to say something, anything, but he didn’t. I stuttered, the words wouldn’t come out, so I forced them out. “Ummm I-I-I thhiiink this is a little out of
my his the price budget range“. I looked back at him to offer something, but he said nothing. I guess it was up to me and me alone to explain Gucci Guy was in over his head. Avoiding eye contact, I awkwardly surrendered the Medium Chanel Boy Bag, Black Caviar with Matte Gold hardware to the puzzled associate.
She stared in disbelief for what felt like an eternity. She broke the silence by offering to show me a less expensive bag. Once again, I looked to Gucci Guy for guidance. He offered none. Out of pure humiliation and still in shock, I reluctantly agreed to see the other bag. Hopefully, it would buy me some time to get a handle on what had just happend and strategize a graceful exit. After all, this was Chanel and I hoped to show my face here again. I tried on the Gabrielle Hobo Bag which retailed for $1,000 less than the Boy Bag. The associate modeled the six ways I could wear the bag making slight adjustments to the straps. Again, I looked to Gucci Guy and this time he spoke up “It’s not right! The straps are too long!”. That’s when I snapped, “Seriously! She just showed us six different ways to carry the bag at different lengths”. He continued to rattle off criticisms about the bag as if that made things less awkward. As though he hadn’t already humiliated me enough in Chanel, now he felt the need to ridicule their merchandise.
So, there I was, on the lavish Italian marble floor, like a four year old child, kicking and screaming pounding my fists. At least this is how it happened in my head. I didn’t actually throw the tantrum. It was merely a fantasy playing out in my mind, a coping mechanism, if you will. Somehow, I was able to contain the meltdown even in my distressed emotional state. In actuality, I politely thanked the Chanel associate for her time and walked out with my tail tucked between my legs. Let’s just say, my dignity wasn’t the only thing I left behind that day.
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