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Poverty, purses, and pythons, oh my!

Just another red bag, not THE red bag

I rarely click on any of those millions of ads that show up unbidden on the Web, but this morning I really couldn’t help myself. It was a Cole Haan ad featuring a big, beautiful bright red hobo-style handbag, the kind I’ve been dreaming of for months. So I clicked. Such an innocent, easy thing to do over morning coffee — shop.

The click didn’t take me directly to the purse of my dreams. Nope, it took me to a page full of black handbags (when they’re Cole Haan, you don’t call them purses). Okay, fine, have it your way. Make me hunt for the red one.

Then I noticed the fine print under the first black one: $2,450! I almost spewed coffee all over my keyboard. I’ve gotten used to my preferred style of handbag creeping up to $300 plus, well beyond what I have any business spending, but $2,450 is ridiculous.

I really wanted to know what could possibly make a handbag worth that much, so I clicked for details. Aha! It seems that precious purse is made of genuine python (and it’s not black, it’s “Deep Forest Python”). I really really dislike snakes, but python (skin? leather?) is beautiful once it’s off the python. So beautiful that I once bought a pair of python cowboy boots (discussed heatedly in subsequent divorce proceedings, but that’s another story). Python can be rather high maintenance; the edges of the bigger scales are delicate and easily damaged. But hey, if you spend $2,450 on a piece of python, you’re going to lock it in a glass display case anyway, aren’t you?

Besides, it’s one thing to wear your python underfoot, where it belongs, and quite another to nestle it safely under your arm, close to your heart.

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