DH and I, along with some of his side of the family, decided to keep Christmas pretty small this year. My family has never been one for extreme extravagance on birthdays, holidays, etc., but tend to give things that are needed, practical, and of good quality (quality over quantity, right?). I never had a problem asking for a good drill or sewing machine for Christmas from my parents, but that would be a big gift to me. (I do agree that SOs should not give vacuum cleaners and blenders for Christmas unless it is specifically *asked* for, i.e. "I want a pink Cuisinart Artisan Food Processor" - that is OK.) DH and I exchanged two small gifts each this year, and that was fine with me.
This past weekend, we took a little trip up to the North Georgia Premium Outlets (which I highly recommend) over the weekend, partially hoping to hit some after-Christmas sales, partially to catch a movie with friends that live up that way. I had heard a lot of good things (and good prices) about the Coach outlet store, which I had never been into before. If you know me, the trendy Coach bags you see in department stores are not really my thing, nor am I the type of person to spend that kind of money. Quality, but practical - that's me. Before going into the store, just to check it out, I told DH that *IF* I were ever to buy myself a Coach bag, it would be small, hobo-style, classic, one-strap, solid-colored (those who know me would probably guess the color correctly), with none of that stamped Coach logo stuff on it. Also, either a zip top or flap over the top so things wouldn't fall out. And of course, it would have to be something I could see myself using forever and a great price. (For me, a purse that I found on clearance for about $20 is a great deal.) Well, we step into the store, and I could immediately walk past most of the displays at first glance - not interested, too much pattern, awful (for me) color, enormous. Upon walking in to the back corner of the store where the clearance section is located, a very nice saleslady was quick to point out that all of the clearance items were an additional 50% off the marked price. This quickly piqued my interest (who doesn't like a 50%+ off sale?), and I quickly scanned the upper shelves that I could see, as the lower shelves were swarming with women who had that driven look in their eyes that was a mix of sensory overload, eye-candy bewonderment, and bargain-hunting frenzy. Top center shelf, nestled between two enormous tote bags, I spotted it. A little black leather hobo, single strap, single flap, simple contrasting white stitching, and silver buckle. Too good to be true, I thought. Once I was able to squeeze my way through the front line and reach up to grab it, I did a thorough inspection. The stitching is immaculate, the leather looks perfect, the whole thing felt really well-made. Now, the price...I flip the tag open - MSRP $218, Factory $199, red-marked $129.99, 50% off. For $65, I was sold. Plus, after my last ARE test just one week ago, I went out for retail therapy right afterwards to work off some lingering nervous energy, and didn't buy a SINGLE thing. I confirmed the discount with the aforementioned saleslady, and asked if there were other onces like it elsewhere in the store. "No," she said, "that's my last one - that's what we call a 'onesie' - a one-time deal." Now to convince DH... I found him floating around the store, muttering mostly about how he didn't like most of the bags and the ridiculous prices (a wristlet for $89??). I showed my find to him and said, "What do you think?" DH approved. If this is the only Coach bag I ever own, I am happy. I was very pleased with my find, and thought I got a great deal considering the quality of the bag. Yay, and happy late Christmas to me! I've only been using it for 2 days and I'm in love with it. It was worth every cent. I'm even considering giving it a name - suggestions welcome!