I was leaving for Shanghai in a couple of weeks so I sent a shopping request email to my friends asking if they wanted me to bring back anything. An email appears in my inbox from my shopping comrade and it reads “I am turning 30 in a couple of months and I want to treat myself to a Hermes Birkin bag. If it’s not too much trouble, can you please pick up a 36cm Birkin Bag w/ gold buckles in black for me?”
Once, my best friend Betty and I promised each other that we’d buy Birkins for each other when we made it big. We still don’t own one (but we’re still working hard.) And because of my earlier research, I knew how much this Birkin bag would cost–a whopping $10,000. I was happy to take on this shopping challenge with somebody else’s wallet.
I headed to Hermes uptown. I don’t even remember what I looked like that day but I was treated like Julia Roberts’ in Pretty Woman on her FIRST try at Rodeo drive. I waited 30 minutes on the corner until some snooty lady came to assist me. “What are you looking for?” I said proudly that I want to purchase a Birkin bag. The big black one, 36cm w/ gold buckles. She pushed her glasses lower and scanned me. The way she scanned I probably don’t need to go for a physical for 10 years. She gave me a look that said “Ok, I will deal with you since it is a recession”-look and disappeared into the stockroom.
I waited for that Birkin for a good 30 minutes. She comes out w/ orange small birkin bag. I asked for big black bag but she comes out with this orange small bag, and it’s $6000? She tells me all the other Birkins are reserved for customers they have previous relationships with and the tiny orange one is the only one she has available to offer. She tells me I should try the Hermes by Wall street. What the.?
Fine, bring it lady. I was determined to deliver. I headed to the Wall Street area, walked into the store and started looking around like I was interested in all Hermes had to offer. I get a salesperson to shadow me and she eventually asks me what I do. I say I am a designer, she says that WAS her dream. Bingo, I hit the sweet spot. After 15 min of letting her verbally vomit her ex-dream before pre-Hermes sales associate, I go for the nuts. Tell me what a girl has to do to buy a Birkin bag?
She says Birkin is only sold to customers that have relationship w/ Hermes already. What does that mean? It meant I needed to buy other Hermes stuff and apparently, that relationship had to start right then and there. I pick out a belt for hubby’s Christmas present and a bracelet for me. She tries to push for other products and I give her that look that says “don’t push me or I’ll walk out.”
She knows it’s time to bring out the Birkin. She goes to the stock room and my adrenaline is pumping. She signals me to come to the dark corner of the dressing room. She brings me back a black Birkin, 36cm. Gorgeously plush and magnificently crafted. But my eyes stop at the silver buckle. Crap, how do you spend 10k on a bag when it’s not exact they ask for. She pressures me to make decision quickly. It’s 3pm which means it’s 3am in Shanghai. I phone and wake up my friend… Yes I woke her ass up. I tell her the situation, she cuts me off and says not to buy it. Huh? I feel deflated.
And yes, I am ashamed to say but I got suckered into buying the belt and the bracelet (I love this bracelet though). I swore at that moment, that I would not be the victim of Hermes’ f-ed up process that only caters to already rich. Nothing material is important enough to beg to spend 10k. So no Birkin for my friend, and no Birkin for me anywhere in the near future.
I will just buy 10 other bags!! Sick, I know.