Invention: Purse Holder

Of course I carry a purse, where else would I put my sunglasses, iPhone, pens, journal, gum, keys, wallet and credit cards? And no tiny little clutch for me, either. Give me a substantial purse with a shoulder strap and I’m a happy shopper. Until, of course, I have to use a stall bathroom.

For “your safety” many stores (even hotsy-totsy ones!) have removed the handy hooks to hang your purse. Some even left a big, ripped hole. I’m not sure why–so you don’t hang yourself? So someone doesn’t come in, notice the Manolo Blahniks  visible under the door, reach over the door and swipe your purse? I’m sure it’s happened, but if you compare purse snaggage to necessity to have your hands to do more important things, it sounds like the squeaky wheel got the hooks removed. Easy solutions: Put the hooks lower so only a female giraffe can lip your purse away. She won’t get far unnoticed. Put a small V-shaped roof over the hook so only a magician can figure out how to snag that purse. Or put the hook on the back wall of the stall. But no, instead, they leave us trying to clear away clothing for the seat while still hanging onto a purse. It’s undignified.

If I come zipping into ladies’ room a quick glance will tell me that the walls are smooth and featureless. I’ve hung the purse around my neck (not too comfortable), even bitten the purse strap–which instantly make me drool, leaving me with a wet strap that gets strange looks when I’m washing my hands.

I’m a tool-creating mammal, so I solve the problem my way: I purchased a belt buckle blank, one without the thing that fits into belt holes. I also purchased a yard of stylish cording, doubled it, and tied an equally stylish knot. Using the larks-head knot, I attached the cord to the buckle’s center post. Using another LHK, I attached the other end to my purse. There wasn’t a lot of length between buckle and purse strap, but there doesn’t need to be.

When I go into the stall, I simply leave the buckle part outside the door, shut the door, and let the purse drop. It will stop at the door lock. If I am being pursued by monsters, I can also slam the door shut, lock it, then lift the purse enough to drop the buckle into the slot between door and lock wall.

The buckle lies flat against the door (because of the knot), the purse stays suspended inside, at door lock level. Easy peasy. If the hinges are low enough on the door, you can do the same on the wall side. If the buckle is not esthetically pleasing, you can use a medium- to large-size button with a shank and have a more decorative device.

In any case, I can now keep my purse off the bathroom floor and safely in the stall. Because it requires almost no mechanical ability, I thought I’d share.

Note: Thanks to all the people who suggested that I make and sell these. Let’s do the math. Cheap buckle: $2.30, 1 yard decorative cord: $1.00. Simple packaging: $0.50 Total materials: $3.80. I could make 5 in an hour.  Let’s say I pay myself $15/hour–which comes to about $31,000 a year, so labor is $3.00 each. Total so far: $6.80 without profit, or let’s say 20 percent profit brings the price to about $8.20 each, wholesale, $16.40 retail.  No one would pay $16.40 for these–they’d say, “Oh, I can make this myself for a lot cheaper than that.”

You’ll notice this doesn’t cover benefits or insurance, so if I wanted to make a profit,  I’d have to go to a sweatshop, deny workers health care, paid vacation, and a decent wage. And that’s not worth it for me.

©Quinn McDonald, All rights reserved. 2011.

–Quinn McDonald is a writer and tool-inventing mammal who loves the simple life–as long as her purse is kept off the bathroom floor.