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Hunt for a handbag

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.

About Elizabeth Harrin

Elizabeth HarrinElizabeth Harrin is a Fellow of the Association for Project Management in the UK and the award-winning blogger behind A Girl's Guide To Project Management. She's passionate about demystifying project management and making tools and techniques work in the real world. She's also the author of several books including the PMI bestseller, Collaboration Tools for Project Managers.


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