For me, my bag usually holds:
folder of headshots/resumés
granola bar type snacks
extra bag for purchases
And it MAY hold:
extra pair of shoes
laptop and charger
(Were you paying attention? One of those items is fake- I don't usually carry lotion.)
This morning, I had a revelation. I realized that the store with the coolest bag wins. If a store sends you out the door with a kick-ass bag for your overpriced purchases, you may use that bag over and over again, and what does THAT mean to the store? Free advertising.
Perfect example: A few months ago, I desperately needed a new yoga mat. I'd not packed mine when we moved, and I NEEDED ONE NOW. (It's the same feeling I had when I bought Bento for the computer.) So Dean and I trek all over our neighborhood until we stumble on a little shop called Lululemon.
I'd never heard of it before, but apparently, it's like hallowed ground for yoga enthusiasts. So Dean and I buy a yoga mat. (Side story: When we took it to the counter, the woman said, "What type of yoga do you do?" I replied, "The kind a person does when they don't ever really do yoga, but think they want to, so they go out and buy a mat." Turns out, there are different mats for different types of yoga, including one type where people voluntarily cram themselves into a heated room and sweat all over their new mats. To each his own, I guess.)
And here's the point of the story: They put the mat in this awesome tote bag.
The bag is covered in sayings like, "Do one thing a day that scares you," and "Dance, sing, floss, and travel." Inspirational things for city folks like us. And the thing is, I see these bags EVERYWHERE. Little ones, big ones, on the arms of the elderly and the bouncy- they are all over the place here. And every time I see one, I think of going back to that pricey, elitist, awesome store to spend money I don't have on items I will rarely use.
Their scheme worked. Damn you, Lululemon. Damn you and your kick-ass bags.