First, I’ll freely admit that I am a purse addict. I own many. I don’t want to admit how many. There is much to rationalize: as a small business owner, my office/personal care essentials travel with me from client to client–iPhone, notebook, file folders, pens, keys, lipstick, brush, Chapstick™, BandAids™, Kleenex™–you get the point. No teeny clutch for me. Give me a serious, well-made leather bag and I’m happy. Apologies to all vegans, but I didn’t fight my way up the food chain to carry a water-soaking, dirty-getting, cloth bag.
Big bags are fashion approved at the moment, although I’m not sure if we are all extras in a Western movie or into some sort of alternative sex practice. Many bags are embellished and strapped, chained, pierced, punched and riveted. I find this a cross between Goth Twee, What WERE You Thinking?, and Too Clever by Half. But I’ll admit to being the practical one who thinks Bauhaus and Shaker design is frilly enough.
Somehow, designer are forgetting that form follows function. The idea in use, is, instead, “cheap it down to sell.” So good leather is now replaced by fingernail-snagging microfiber, careful stitching is gone in favor of glue, and the secure and handy double-headed zipper (works no matter how you carry the bag) is replaced by the. . .magnet.
Did anyone ask what women carry in their bags before they forced this on us? Nope. It’s easy to install a magnet, so big, heavy magnets now shut the bag (keeping a handy space for the pickpocket to reach in). Side pockets click shut, and with the click, wipe out the information on computer disks, hotel key cards, and pre-paid metro cards. Magnets are also a danger to Blackberries and iPhones, scrambling information as they malevolently click shut. Pre-paid gas cards, phone cards and gift cards shrink in value (odd, it never adds cash) and I wouldn’t carry one under my arm if I had a pacemaker or insulin pump.
Designers aren’t thinking about the consumer, because the price is king. We raised up among us a Wal-Mart nation, and in an effort to save money, we are wearing magnets that scramble the money we are trying to save.
So purse designers, listen up–give us back the zipper. They work, they are secure, they keep the contents in our purse when we drop the bag. Use the magnets as a closure on your jackets, the fly of your pants, and your shoes. You’ll give us back working closures before the end of the day.
–-Quinn McDonald is a seminar leader who develops courses on business communications. See her work at QuinnCreative.com