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An Open Letter to T.J. Maxx

Dear T.J. Maxx,

For your consideration, I submit this evidentiary photo of a (formerly) lovely handbag that I purchased at your (formerly) beloved establishment on Friday, April 2, 2010.

Infamous Blue Handbag

You’re probably wondering what happened to it. Did I break a pen on it? Fingerpaint with it? Or use it to clean up a makeup accident backstage at Blue Man Group?

Amazingly, T.J. Maxx, all I did was wear it. Twice. First with a two-year-old leather jacket, and then with a pair of jeans that have been washed several times (and at this point I’m sorry that I haven’t kept track of how often). Oh, and I also used leather cleaner on it, but you probably can’t see that.

Because I have never had this happen to any of the ten bajillion other handbags I own, I deemed it a flaw with your merchandise. I know, I know, silly me. My stupidity was made plain by one “Mr. Butler” when I attempted to exchange the bag—receipt in hand—at your 350 Washington St. location in Boston. (6 p.m., Tuesday, April 6. Give him a raise.) He advised me that the problem was not with the bag, but with my clothing. And then he turned his back on me and walked away.

I am sorry to have wasted his time.

Now, I suppose I could see his point if the bag had come with a warning of some sort: “ATTENTION: Do not purchase this item if you are prone to wearing jeans, dark leather, or any other clothing with pigment. Suitable for angelic hippie types ONLY.” And, to be fair, my wardrobe could be at fault. I’m sure I’m the only idiot who fell for that whole dark denim legging craze a few months back. Most people would probably be fine.

I, on the other hand, am stuck with a non-returnable, non-cleanable $60 mistake.

What do I want from you? Well, short of getting my $60 back (which is obviously what I really want), I would like you to know that I will think long and hard before purchasing anything at T.J. Maxx ever again. And, with that in mind, I’d like you to tell me how important my $60 is to you in the long run. If you are that concerned about your bottom line, then please accept my condolences. Even after this fiasco, I’ll be sad to see you go. My mother (who, by the way, saw the evidence and swore you’d take it back) will be absolutely devastated.

If, however, this small sum is nothing more than a flash in the pan for you, please consider empowering your associates to do the right thing for an honest, unhappy customer.

(Not that Mr. Butler would have exercised this power had it been given to him—so I hope he sees that $60 profit reflected in his next paycheck. You are lucky to have him on your side!)

Thank you for listening.

All the best,
Laura

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Giving new meaning to “spare tires”: English Retreads

A friend of mine just started working for these guys, and I think their stuff is really cool. English Retreads uses recycled truck innertubes to create kick-ass handbags, belts, and even doggie collars (for actual dogs; not for you).

They’re really trying to get the word out, so if you sign up for their email list (they promise not to spam), they’ll send you a coupon for 40% off any order in the month of July. Overall, their products are pretty affordable, so this is a super sweet deal.

I know the badassery of tire-chic isn’t necessarily for everyone, but if you know someone who’d be psyched about this stuff, spread the word!

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New belt!

I have entered the world of belts with removable buckles — because the rooster buckle I bought from Max and Zane is pretty useless otherwise. (I can’t link straight to the buckle ’cause it’s one of a kind and it disappeared when I bought it! It has a rooster.)

My new belt shall be cool. It’s not a huge deal, I know, but I’m always amused when I make purchases that necessitate other purchases. This isn’t quite as great as buying pants because you have nothing to go with your new shoes — THAT is the best! — but it was fun nonetheless.

So if anyone comes across a kick-ass wolf belt buckle, you must let me know. In fact, I could probably find one online right now … but I’m going to behave. For now.

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Show me the swack! Or better yet, let your t-shirt do it.

It’s hot out there today! If you’re like me — and I know you are — you’re wishing you had a t-shirt that loudly advertises your swack and pit stains. Am I right?

Well, guess what? It’s your lucky day! In fact, it’s everyone’s lucky day … because HYPERCOLOR IS BACK!! Courtesy of American Apparel. No, you’re not dreaming. Be sure to send them a thank-you note.

Okay, so they’re not calling it “hypercolor.” Updated for the new millennium, it is now known as “thermochromatic” … but don’t let the name fool you. It’s the same cutting-edge, sweat-enhancing technology that we all remember so fondly from 1989.

So when you see a hipster walking down the street sporting one of these babies (and I have a feeling soon you will), be sure to grab a big handful of material in your sweaty fist and twist, twist, twist it as hard as you can to activate the pretty colors. After all, isn’t that what hypercolor is all about? Beautiful traditions like this one never fail to withstand the test of time.

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The most depressing $250 price tag ever.

Why, Marc Jacobs, why, why, why??!?

I may need to pursue retail therapy elsewhere to help myself recover from this.

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Dangerous website du jour: Max and Zane

Warning: I guarantee that just about everything at Max and Zane is 100% frivolous and you absolutely do not need any of it.

I, however, need this, and this, and this, and especially this — made from a recycled Scrabble tile.

Obviously this goes without saying, but internet shopping is the devil. I used to at least have to take a long lunch break and go for a walk to be financially irresponsible during working hours — yes, the very same hours that earn me the money I irresponsibly spend! Now, I can do it between meetings … between emails … or between scintillating paragraphs about the world’s best harbors. (Not that I’m doing that now. Oh, no. I’m, um, on lunch.)

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Dangerous website du jour: Shanalogic

I am both blessing and cursing the coworker who turned me onto this awesome site. On the one hand, I will soon be the proud owner of an octopus baby doll tunic. On the other hand, do I really need an octopus baby doll tunic?  Regardless, a lot of the stuff on this site is really fun and I hope it gets more people in trouble.

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