Monday, April 03, 2006

TODAY I CRIED AT THE DRY CLEANERS...


You know when you have a favourite piece of clothing that you know you’ll treasure forever, that makes you so happy just to look at it and completes any outfit? That was how I felt about my favourite Marni bag. A butter soft kid leather clutch bag, in dusky rose/beige it was (can you see where this is going?) a vintage style frame bag with the perfect brushed bronze clasp that closed with the most satisfying clunk. The leather was ruched around the frame and fell in soft waves into an oval shape, just the right size. The strap was designed to wear around your wrist, so the bag would dangle in an alluring way leaving your hands free to say, drink Champagne or dance wildly. I even loved the lining, no glitzy evening-y tat, just unbleached cotton – so Marni, so ‘this is the best quality bag you will ever own’. Of course I bought it at a hefty discount, not being in the purchasing of £700 bags for occasional use bracket.

My beloved bag served me well for oh, three years. It managed to be perfect for any event, an important interview, first dates, weddings, parties. I knew I would have it always, would probably still be using it when I'm an old spinster, propping up the bar at Claridge's. But it was starting to look a little grubby, and having many exciting upcoming occasions to take it to, I thought I’d treat it to a professional clean. It wasn’t cheap and the price went up according to how much the item was worth. So I said £100. Kicking.self.hard. They sent my beauty away and I missed it in the two weeks I didn’t have it.

So I was very excited to get it back this morning.

When they handed me the ‘bag’ (I use the term loosely) even through the plastic wrapping the first thing I noticed was the holes. As if rats had been frenziedly gnawing at it after some rottweilers had dragged it repeatedly through a bramble patch. The cleaning process seems to have involved a hot wash in an acid bath, followed by a good scrubbing with a cheesegrater. The leather, now a sorry tie dyed mess had leaked on to the lining, turning it pink. And there is no longer a lovely band of leather covering the metal frame. In short my bag looks like it has been attacked, Texas Chainsaw Massacre style.

The bit I couldn’t believe is how they had the gall to put it on a hanger and pop it in a plastic bag ready for collection as if I might not notice it had been destroyed beyond all hope of repair.

The icing on the cake? A little note left inside which reads ‘we were unable to remove some of the stains from this item’. Even if I get compensation it will come nowhere near to covering the cost of a new bag – or a new anything from Marni.

The lady who works in the dry cleaners was very sympathetic – it is being ‘sent away’.

She asked if I wanted it back and I didn’t know what to say, I just stood, stunned, blinking back tears in a way more appropriate to someone who has just been told, ‘I really am sorry. There was nothing we could do to save your legs once the gangrene had set in’.

You may be reading this and thinking ‘it’s just a bag, you're so shallow’ and I am surprised at myself too. But in all honesty I am G.U.T.T.E.D. I want to cry and not a Fendi Spy, a Mulberry Elgin or a Chloe Betty bag can make it better.

7 comments:

susie_bubble said...

Oh gosh...that story almost made me want to cry! I would have sobbed and thrown a tantrum if it was me! What have they offered in terms of compensation???

Anonymous said...

...what can I say?
Really, words are very hard to find. Can you sue the drycleaners for not having told you beforehand that it was a risky operation? Painful, but the sacrifice of your bag shouldn't be in vain. At least it would teach them something.
xxx
Mia
Ps just in case you think I'm taking the piss... I'M NOT!

Lola is Beauty said...

Aw thank you, I'll survive! They are going to call me next week to discuss what they can do , but since I told them it was only worth £100...

A Novelist said...

I am so sorry. That is horrible and I feel your pain. That happened to me once with a beautiful cream dress I had. It was perfect for the spring and quite expensive too. The fabric was baby soft and felt wonderful next to my skin. I had taken it there before and had no problems and the dress was only 3 months old at that point. When I got the garment back from the cleaners, there were tiny little holes throughout my dress and some ugly yellow stains here and there. It looked worse than when I had brought it in, and sadly, they said they weren't responsible for any damage during the cleaning process.

Hopefully the establishment you used can compensate you in some way.

Good luck.

Julia said...

Oh. My. God. That is devastating. I'm really sorry to read it, and feel your pain. I'm sure one day, when you least expect it, you'll stumble across a bag that makes you just as happy. Fashion karma.

Paola said...

I just had to de-lurk to commiserate. DEFINITELY on a par with gangrene and it makes my blood boil when people don't honestly own up to a mistake...

eurobrat said...

Just. Awful. You have me near tears!