Tuesday, June 05, 2007

YOU GO...


What do you call that little wire where you put one end in your camera and one end in the computer, thus allowing you to upload photos? It doesn't really matter does it, since I forgot to bring it with me. So: Words now, pictures later...

The latest in the series of Parisian shopkeeper vs. me hostilities was really the pinnacle - one hopes anyway. I had hobbled down to the K.Jacques shop, which is tiny, late in the afternoon. It was jumping with customers and I couldn't even get in the door, so I resolved to go back early the next morning. Wandering along to rue Malher I was looking at this shop I've often passed but never felt compelled to go in, called Gavilane. There are gothic looking lycra clothes and skull pendants in the window - sort of Ozzy Osbourne meets Flashdance. Could be someone's cup of tea but not mine. Incongruously there were some really lovely vintage handbags in the window, and never one to pass up a possible shopping coup, I decided to have a look. You could drop me off in the most unappealing retail location ever and I will always unearth something worth buying.

Anyway in I went to the shop - first commiting the unforgivable sin of forgetting to say bonjour. I was only interested in the bags and what a choice - I could've bought them all and immediately saw the one I wanted. A burgundy leather frame bag with a cool stainless steel clasp and a really thin shoulder strap - it had been re lined at some point and there was no label. The man in the shop said it was "good leather." I would say it was Spanish leather and had not been an expensive bag when new. Then I noticed there was a water stain on one side. If it had been 15 or twenty euros I would've bought it in a second. Fifty and I would have thought twice. In fact I've never paid more than fifteen pounds for a vintage bag so that would have been stretching it. But it - and all the other bags were ninety euros. Ninety! I could've bought it but why pay such a hefty commission to someone for their good luck in finding it? It's the thrill of the hunt and the bargain that makes it all the more satisfying.

Since in Paris I feel I must always give a reason for not buying something, I said quite honestly that I thought it was lovely but it was too expensive. The man started saying, "Yes you can go out there and buy lots of bad cheap bags. You go! You go and buy bad bags out there! You will find many bad bags for ten euros. Me, I have good bags!" I had to agree with him and said so, again praising the loveliness of his bags. I kind of thought we were having a bit of light hearted banter but before I knew what was happening I was being physically ejected from the shop and found myself standing confused on the pavement outside. Then - did he just slam the door and lock it behind me? Yes he did. I looked down at the floor for answers and saw only a dead pigeon in the gutter - possibly the only previous customer that day. This only heightened the sense of surrealness.

How curious, I thought. Then I thought actually that's quite sweet that he cares so much about his bags. It's absolutely true that you could rifle through the depots ventes of Paris all day and find loads of faux leather '80s clutch bags for ten euros, but never a really nice one. I almost thought of going back in the next day but when I walked past on my way to K.Jacques my man must've seen me approaching because - again - he closed and locked the door! I mean whatever next? Customers wanting to spend money in your shop? Disgraceful. Anyway I had a little chuckle to myself then went on my way to buy sandals, or as I now say: Tropeziennes.

The girls working in the K.Jacques shop were SUPER NICE, even cooing in sympathy and I think a little admiration over the impressive bluey purpleness of my broken foot. They patiently let me try on every sandal in the shop and I ended up buying the Orion ones and being seriously tempted to get another pair as well. Oh yes, I do believe I have a new obsession.

9 comments:

Bombay Beauty said...

This is shocking treatment. Where is Oprah when you need her? I suggest you go back with your camera... I agree with you though, there is something frightening yet admirable about the pride he takes in his wares... Indeed, he is a vintage handbag Nazi! Cheers, BB

Anonymous said...

well that store-keeper was boring. c'mon to buy a buy with a bag "avec une tache" for 90 euros is too much. And there you go! people were super nice about your toe...and you were worried. Gorgeous sandales...
delphine

Fi said...

The thought of that shop man and his bags really made me smile. I know it was ever so rude of him, but I am quite delighted by the image of a very cross Parisien shopkeeper. xx

Mrs Fashion said...

Oh this is why I hate Paris!
Stupid, rude old man - bleurgh.
Mrs F x

Anonymous said...

speaking of oprah...didn't they not let her into some expensive boutique in paris....claiming they didn't recognize her?
delphine

Anonymous said...

Love your... tropeziennes!
Shopkeeper: well, that's shocking. Knowing you (one of the politest persons in the whole wide world), it seems incredible that he did what he did. And honestly, someone who takes that much pride in his stupid bags, must be really a psycopath. Well, enjoy Paris anyway!
xxx
Mia

Elle said...

I believe it's called a USB cable... The French can be rude at times, huh? A French lady (you know those people working at the counters where you check in? What do you call them?) at the airport called my friend stupid to his face. Lol. Actually, that's pretty funny...

l'embrouillamini said...

Ooo good choice on the shoesies. xx

Anonymous said...

Hi to all, personally I prefer the tropeziennes made by RONDINI in Saint tropez in their workshop. These are the original tropeziennes and now you can buy their sandals on their website / e-shop : http://www.rondini.fr