Thursday, November 4, 2010

It's all in the bag

In NYC, everyone needs a bag. I don't mean a purse, I mean a tote bag to haul stuff around in. We are away from home for hours and hours every day, without the ability to use our car for our locker. Like an urban hiker, we have to pack everything we'll need for our day on the streets.

For me, my bag usually holds:
water bottle
folder of headshots/resumés
granola bar type snacks
regular purse
extra bag for purchases
phone charger

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.

1 comment:

  1. Monica:
    After being here for 6 years, I have come up with a plan regarding bags. I carried, for a long time, a very heavy messenger bag that included many of the items you have listed above - except the gnomes, mind you. It got heavy and it hurt my back so I developed a different plan.
    I downsized to a smaller vertical messenger bag that will hold my wallet, phone, kindle/goodsized book, ipod and my printed directions so I don't get lost in New York. Then I carry another bag to carry other stuff around that can hold my lunch, umbrella or stuff I buy during the day, so I don't have to gather more plastic bags. Both of these bags can go across my body, so they don't get swiped, and I don't have to carry both bags everywhere I go. If I want to go light, I just carry the purse with all of these essentials.