|Harper's Bazaar February 2018|
When I first started working in retail in the 1980s, I worked in a accessories department in a major department store. One section of the department was the locked cases for the Gucci handbag department. One would think that would be a coveted assignment for a four hour shift, but I found it challenging. I was not schooled in high end bags at this point of my career. I knew that the bags were popular and that they cost more than my bi-weekly wage, but their double-G pattern did not hold my affection as it did for the customers who came to buy them. Plus, given the vinyl fabrication of the bag, they were hard and awkward. As carefully as I could merchandise them attractively in the case, they would fall from their spot in an unpliable thud on top of my head whenever I opened the case to show one to a customer. If memory serves, one must have bruised my forehead from a tumble. I also remember once or twice having a dream of not owning a Gucci double-G bag, but of one tumbling onto me from the case beating me up. It was probably the coveted 'doctor's bag.'
A couple months into my tenure selling a bag that I knew nothing about, my manager approached me to return one. Interestingly, one was never sold to her. And I doubt that anyone would think that she would own an expensive bag given her determination to wear a smock to work everyday. And was it a coincidence that she was off to Vegas the next day for a 4-day vacation. I may not have known about the bag, but I did know that she probably went into the locked cage in the store room that held the back stock and thought that the money she would gain from returning it would make for an afternoon's delight at the slot machines. Yeah, I turned her in and took the $500 reward for tipping off internal theft. The manager lost her job. I don't remember how I spent the $500; perhaps, I should have bought a Gucci bag as a trophy of sorts.
And through the beauty of this lovely mermaid drawing, I see it clearly and remember it fondly. It is better in a Utopian world, for it is unforgiving in its structure and not for us mere mortals to own.