Gents, this is a post about earned value analysis*.
My trusty handbag for work is coming to the end of its useful life. I bought it in Brussels, when I was visiting a friend. I got all excited that they still had C&A shops when the chain had been closed in the UK for years, so we went in and I ended up spending 7€ on a green bag. It has had pretty much constant use since then and takes a battering on the tube and from being stuffed in my desk drawer at work. It is big enough for a novel or an A5 notebook, has a selection of pockets for keys, phone, hair accessories, Oyster card and has an adjustable strap so I can wear it across my body or over one shoulder. In short, for over two years it has been the perfect office bag.
A tube of lipgloss leaked in it the other day and that was the catalyst for a clear out. I was on a training course recently and packed my own teabags – and never unpacked them. They were a bit manky at the bottom. I also realised I haven’t done my expenses for about two months and the receipts are now looking pretty tatty.
I’ve been looking on and off for a new bag for a while now. When I was in New York in March I went round the department stores, thinking I could take advantage of the excellent exchange rate. But I didn’t buy anything. Then I went out in London, half-heartedly, to try to find a replacement. The lipgloss incident was the last straw. On Saturday I took another friend into the Radley shop on the King’s Road in Chelsea and vowed not to leave until I had spent an extortionate amount on a practical, work bag.
Actually, we did leave before I’d spent any money. We got the choice down to three, went and had lunch across the street and then went back for a final view. A Radley handbag is an investment and not a purchase to rush into.
I never cared much about brands and labels when I was younger. In Paris the French trends were hard to follow and the designers were often people I had never heard of and didn’t rate. Now though, something of the London scene is rubbing off and I’m not sure that it’s a good thing. I can spot the Radley Scottie dog at 100 paces. I can tell the difference between Cath Kidston’s Rambling Rose and Washed Roses fabric prints from a single glimpse as I pass someone on the escalator. These are not skills I ever thought I’d have, and to be honest, I’m a bit embarrassed that I have them now. Having said that, I shall take great pleasure in decanting all my office paraphernalia out of my green fake leather C&A 7€ bag and into a beautiful Radley bag. Then I’ll shove it in my office drawer like I do every day, and how it stands up to the daily beating will be the true test of quality.
* Not really. It’s about handbags. If you can work out how to calculate the Cost Performance Index of a handbag over a four year lifespan taking into account planned usage of five days a week then drop me a line.