CC 82: The Young Journalist With Shopaholic Tendencies

In today’s fresh new confessional we meet a young journalist from Indonesia whose love for bags knows no bounds. As a teen our confessor acquired his first bag after locating a dusty, but barely used, Coach bag that had been gifted to his grandmother a decade earlier. It was love at first bag and this collector finally was able to purchase his first designer bag (a Saint Laurent Muse Two) with the holiday bonus from his job. From there this self-proclaimed impulse-buyer acquired many covetable carries like an Old Celine Tri-Color Trapze, Balenciaga Work RH Chevre, Gucci GG Supreme flat tote and more. Though he only shops the pre-loved market as that’s what his job affords, this confessor isn’t shy about his shopaholic tendencies, admitting to occasionally purchasing items on impulse and once even secretly borrowing money from his late-grandmother’s estate. Overall this confessor gives an honest and candid look into how he’ll do whatever it takes to indulge in his passion for bags. After all, to him they’re emotional investments, sparking joy within even on the most ordinary of outings. Read the full confessional below and don’t forget to submit your own!

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The Basics

Age: 25
Gender Identity: Male
Location: Jakarta, IDN
Occupation: Journalist
Industry: Media – daily newspaper
Salary: $5,000
Household Income: $5,000

The Bags

Are you a PurseForum member? Yes

How many bags do you own? 9

What bags are in your collection?

For work: 3.1 Phillip Lim Pashli large, Balenciaga Work RH chevre, Proenza Schouler PS1 large

For play: Gucci GG Supreme flat tote, Yves Saint Laurent Muse Two medium, Yves Saint Laurent Y Ligne clutch, Celine Trapeze tricolor large

For daily chores: Marc by Marc Jacobs Ligero tote, Coach Barclay

How much is your collection worth? Around $10,000-ish going by retail but I paid about 10% of that

What is your most expensive bag? The Celine Trapeze, both in terms of retail price when new and how much I paid for it preowned (a month’s salary, if you’re wondering)

What are the most important brands or pieces in your collection? My Yves Saint Laurent Muse Two, as it was the first designer bag I bought with my own money with a holiday bonus – paid fully in cash as I avoid credit cards unless absolutely necessary. Nevermind that it smelled and felt like the tail end of 2008, it was my first “proper” bag after years of $20 pleather bags that fell apart within three months.

What age did you get your first designer bag, and what was it? Probably 16 or so, I stumbled upon the Coach Barclay in my attic as I was doing some cleaning. My grandmother was gifted the bag by a relative in the States, but apparently it was too big for her and it spent the next decade or so filled with old newspaper and collecting dust.

It was old, musty, and the straps and trims were cracked to death, but it held on and carried my textbooks all the way through senior year, where I was christened “Most Fashionable” partly because of the bag.

Is there a specific bag you are looking to purchase next? I’m always on the lookout for a Saint Laurent Cabas ChYc because of the Y hardware, but the desire has been partially sated by the clutch version. I’d probably try and get a Celine Phantom as a chuck-everything-in-and-go daily bag.

Any particular bag that holds a special sentimental value? Aside from the Muse Two, I’d say it’s the Pashli.

Ever since I got my job, I’ve been paying off my mother’s car for the better part of two years. January 2020 was the first month I didn’t have to pay for a disintegrating minivan, so I think I deserved something nice for a change. I’ve always wanted one since my college days, but all my money went to buying fabrics and trimmings (fashion design major).

It wasn’t the right size, wasn’t the color I wanted, one of the strap hook’s stitching came off, and it has lost any semblance of structure. But it was one thing off my wishlist, and I’ll take everything life throws my way. Small victories, right?

Do you feel like your bags change people’s perceptions of you or how you’re treated? Oh definitely. I’ve seen with my own eyes how plunking down the Celine on the floor of a (carpeted) restaurant sends the waiters scrambling for an extra chair just for the bag, or the time I got bumped to front row from second during my fashion week coverage simply for the Y Ligne clutch that didn’t even match my outfit’s color scheme.

Even Zara sales associates gravitate to me when I carry one of the recognizable styles, even when I’m just there pass the time or to get a T-shirt.

However, I do feel that carrying any of them on the job is rather awkward, as journalists here are lucky if they get more than minimum wage. Seeing one toting around a bag worth a year’s rent raises a few eyebrows, especially when outside of fashion events.

I get stares all the time, and people have said to my face that they originally thought I was a snobby rich kid who’s there only for the CV before they even talked to me. One of my co-workers even thought I was applying for a fashion stylist role (no such thing in newspapers, I assume), and another thought that I was an Instagram figure (I only have like, 100 followers or so).

I suppose it’s quite hard to carry designer bags in a place where the monthly minimum wage is a smidge below $300. Perhaps it signifies conspicuous consumption and raging inequality – especially given my job as a journalist – but I feel like it’s treated way more frivolous than say, consumer electronics. A (male) friend asked me why I spend so much on bags, without realizing that his latest model iPhone is three times the price I paid for my Celine.

But hey, life’s too short to worry about people worrying about your Balenciaga.

The Shopping

How often do you buy new bags? I ideally like to limit myself to one bag per year, but since I’ve already bought five, I think I’ll say “when the stars align and the price is right”.

Which stores do you frequent the most? I buy all my bags used from Reebonz and a local platform called HuntStreet. I don’t have a particular brand preference, but I’d like to experience each brand at least once.

Do you ever buy second-hand bags? Where do you buy used? Yes, as stated above. Realistically, with my current job (and salary) I can only afford used. Even if I get paid more, I’ll still buy used just for the savings alone, along with the bragging rights for having scored a chevre Work from 2006 for only $180.

Do you sell old bags to pay for new purchases? I’d like to, but I can’t seem to bring myself into it. Each bag tells a story of where I am in life, and I’d rather not part with my treasured memories.

Do you ever feel societal pressure to purchase more bags? Yes, back when I used to hang out with all the other fashion majors back then. Everyday’s a runway with them, but since I couldn’t afford designer back then, I always turned looks with handmade clothes instead.

Now, at least in my situation, I think the societal pressure is to NOT buy more bags, since it’s not a particularly good look to carry half a year’s minimum wage when everyone’s struggling in this pandemic brouhaha.

Do you consider your bag purchases investments? I think this is what I tell myself when I swipe my card, but who knows with trends these days. I consider them emotional investments instead, where they bring me joy even when I’m just using them to go to the market or so.

Who influences your buying decisions? Me, mostly. I have a specific fashion direction for my style, and that includes bags. I do keep up with trends, but I don’t actively pursue them. For example, even when the tiny bag movement was at its zenith, I won’t touch anything smaller than a Kelly 32.

Are sales associate relationships instrumental to your shopping? I mostly buy online, so not really. I’d love to get in touch with one though, hopefully so I can get advance notice for new drops.

Why do you enjoy shopping, beyond just acquiring something new? I feel like it’s because of the freedom of having disposable income. Growing up, I had to ask my parents whenever I wanted something, so having my own money to throw around is pretty amazing as a concept.

It got to a point where if I go out, I’ll have to buy something – even if it is just a can of soda – so I’d feel like I didn’t go out for nothing.

Have you ever felt like you received inferior service at a store or boutique due to your appearance, ethnicity or gender? The Zara sales associates started noticing me more when I speak English, have dyed hair, or carry a designer bag, so yeah. Honestly, I’m not even sure if they get commissions anyway, but maybe they think I’d spend more?

In luxury boutiques, I feel that sometimes the bag you carry will influence the staff. I once showed up in a college T-shirt and jeans wearing platform sandals but was immediately tended to because of the Celine, whereas a well-dressed lady carrying a Michael Kors bag that was there earlier was left alone.

The Money

Who pays for your bags? Me, even if I have to create an Excel file to plan how many times I have to not eat out for the month in order to make the purchase feasible. None of my family and friends even tried to gift me a bag, since for all they know my nine bags cost more than a new car.

Do you set aside a budget for your bag purchases? I usually set aside my annual holiday bonus for it, but sometimes the plan goes out the window if I see something vaguely interesting and within my price range.

For the record, my bonus is around $280 but given twice during Christmas and Eid.

The Taboo Topics

Have you ever purchased a counterfeit because you couldn’t afford a designer item? Not really, but I like buying particularly dumb looking counterfeits just for the laughs. I once bought a tote bag that says “Balneicaca” and used it as my shopping bag, usually stored inside the actual Balenciaga just to see the reactions in high-end malls.

Do you ever hide purchases from your significant other? No significant others, so no.

What’s the craziest thing you’ve done to afford a bag? I have two stories that are contenders, so you decide:

I bought the Gucci flat tote using my father’s credit card, which he said I can use “for emergencies only”. Well, one day I decided a Gucci tote that can hold exactly one continental wallet and one phone constituted an emergency, so one midnight I temporarily changed his registered phone number to mine so that the sale notification wouldn’t go to him. All for a 0% installment on a $250 bag. I’ve since paid the card charge, but looking back that was quite the rollercoaster.

The Celine I got shortly after my grandmother passed away. She left quite a bit of money in her bank account, which will be closed. Since I used the same bank and had mobile banking, the family decided that I would hold the money temporarily until they can figure things out. During that time, the bag went on sale by 35% off, with an additional 10% off on top for one day. I couldn’t take it anymore. I said a few apologies and a prayer, and took the plunge. I quickly paid back the amount with my next paycheck, but I’m not sure my grandmother would be too thrilled with that. No hauntings so far, so I guess she was fine with it?

Do you think your shopping is ever a problem? Have you ever felt like you were struggling with a shopping addiction? Honestly, yes. I’m not sure where I got the shopping addiction from, but money management has always been tough for me. Many times I find myself splurging out after a paycheck and basically having sleep for dinner until the next one just because I impulsively bought something for the price alone.

It doesn’t have to be expensive, it’s just the thrill of walking out with something in your hand or waiting for the delivery guy to ring the bell. It also doesn’t have to be me purchasing, sometimes I’d talk people into purchasing stuff even though I’m not the one using the stuff.

To my knowledge, I haven’t overcome the shopping addiction, but I think I’d be a great personal shopper if I ever consider a career change.

The Rest Of It

Any other expensive hobbies or passions? None, all of my spending money go to my bags and future bags.

Anything else you would like to include? Perhaps I’d like to reiterate an earlier point I made:

Life’s too short for you to worry about people worrying about your bags.

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