I’ve always LOVED purses. In fact, I can remember almost every single one I’ve ever owned. My first real purse, which I carried to school in 5th grade, was cream colored with fringe and beads and smelled like leather. I loved it. The most I ever spent on a purse was at the Cadeau ,on the drag, across from the University of Texas campus. I carried it in Moscow until a band of gypsy boys ran up from behind and ripped it off of my body. I fell to the ground and skinned my knobby knees reaching for that expensive purse…they snatched it before I could grab hold of that pretty leather strap. Sigh.
I’ve owned a few coach bags, one little number my niece gave to me. It’s my make-up travel bag, and it’s red. A friend gave me a cute Brighton clutch that holds everything I need – plastic, iPhone, and lipstick. I dream about a Kate Spade or Michael Kors, and settle for steals and deals at TJ Maxx.
Which brings me to the purpose of this post.
A few weeks ago I was in the market for a satchel in which to carry a small computer, glasses, the above-mentioned Brighton clutch, a bottle of water, while at the same time adding some flair and style to my lifestyle of travel and meetings…meetings…meetings. So, being a Maxxinista, I popped into my favorite TJ Maxx and found a She and Josh bow-tie satchel in black. I loved the bow. So, I made the purchase, $39.99 even though I wasn’t sure it was what I really needed or wanted. A few days later, the bow was driving me insane and the after clasp kept popping open, so I decided to return it.
Miraculously I kept the receipt (a discipline I’ve never mastered much to my husband’s chagrin).
Today, upon returning the purse with said receipt, the salesperson informed me that the receipt skew number didn’t match the style purse, so she’d have to talk to a manager.
Soon after the purse section manager stood in front of me and said, “This purse is not from this store, I’ve never seen this purse, and we don’t sell this style. We’ve never sold this purse.” I stammered, and hardly knew what to say, “I, uh, bought it here over on that rack just a few weeks ago.” She was indignant, “No, we don’t sell this purse. I’ve never seen it before, and that’s my section I know everything that’s there, and this was not there.” I replied, trying very hard not to raise my voice, “Well, the purse was there on the day I bought it…are you calling me a liar?” She then proceeded to tell me that the bag was definitely not worth $39.99 – it was worth $16.99 on a good day. She continued by suggesting that, like many other women, I was pulling a fast one on TJ Maxx by trying to return a bag of lesser value, that I didn’t purchase at their store, in order to get more money.
To that I replied, “I can imagine that happens quite often, and I’m sorry to hear that, but I can tell you — quite honestly — that I bought this very bag off of that very shelf.” She would not budge. So, I left…She & Josh Bow-tie satchel hanging limply at my side. Feeling somehow guilty for a crime I promise I didn’t commit.
My dad used to tell me that your reputation is all you have (I got that lecture a lot as a kid). And as I walked out of that store I felt so weirdly helpless. The purse return didn’t matter to me as much as my reputation and character. I was falsely accused of stealing – or attempting to – and there was nothing I could do to convince that unhappy salesperson, and all the salespeople who were listening, that I wasn’t lying – that I wouldn’t lie.
Bob said, “You aren’t perfect, but I know you’re not a thief.” I needed him to say that. 🙂
He reminded me of Jesus – He was falsely accused too. Spit upon, mocked, scourged. He endured the cross, despised the shame… for you, and me, and that lady at TJ Maxx. I think I’ll go back and tell her about Jesus.
The Bible says, “A good name is to be more desired than great wealth” (Prov 21:2). And today I learned it’s more desirable than a cute purse too.
P.S. I called TJ Maxx customer service and talked to Joan. She’s refunding me in full.