Chinatown Shopping Adventures
I have been looking for a simple, spacious, and more “classy” bag to lug around all my crap when I go out or to work. Basically, something more professional than the backpack I’ve been rocking. I have quickly started noticing a trend with a specific bag. Nondescript, decent size, and a variety of colors. EVERYONE has it.
I caved into the madness. I really wanted to figure out who made it and how much it cost. There were several times I came close to stopping and asking one of the many women carrying it. Close!
Then I remembered, Google knows everything.
"Nylon solid colored bags with leather straps" was the only thing I could go off, and it worked.
Then I saw the price tag.
Seeing as I’m in NYC and cheap, I went off to do research about shopping for handbags in Chinatown. :P
I even went to Bloomingdale’s and one of the flaship stores in the city to check out the colors and size options. Obsessed much?
Ventured into Chinatown one day after work just to get familiarized with the streets and pricing, but everything seemed to be closing up shop at that time. Some store owners didn’t know what I was talking about when I simply asked “Longchamp?”
In one instance, the store owner pointed me to the back of his store and pushed in the wall to reveal a secret closet. He motioned for me to go in before him and I thought, “OK sure why not, but please don’t kill me.” I asked for a price. About $100 off the retail price. I tried to get him to go lower but he wasn’t budging. I also wasn’t carrying any cash so it was more of a practice run. At another shop, they had a walkie talkie with someone one on the other end waiting for an order to bring something to the store. The price was a few bucks cheaper but when they brought me the bag I was disappointed with the quality. So I went home and planned to come back some other day.
Today was more fun. I crashed at a new friend’s place last night in Midtown, and instead of going back home, I headed to Chinatown during the tourist rush.
I got out of the subway and stopped by La Colombe Torrefaction for iced coffee. My summer bucketlist includes visiting as many different coffee shops in the city as possible.
It was busy when I walked in so I was glad I was just getting coffee to go.
After that I started scouring the side streets I had checked out before but I there didn’t seem to be much action. Then I started walking up Canal and started seeing the walkie talkies again. I also started hearing: “Handbag? Coach? Prada?”
So I slowed down and responded with:
What color you want?
Large brown. How much?
Ahh, I can get it cheaper.
No I give it to you fo $60 dolla
No sorry, thanks.
And then I started walking away.
I saw the woman hold up 5 fingers and yelled for me to come back with “Miss miss I give it to you for $55!”
So I countinued my trek up the street and saw another woman with a small bag filled with DVDs and decided to ask again. She pointed me to another woman that was the designated bag wrangler. Instead of walkie talkies, this woman was rocking a bluetooth headset. There were other buyers standing around waiting for their “orders.” This crew seemed to be dominating the block.
So I decided to start haggling again. They were selling for the same price but were more willing to budge when I started to leave. I started at $35 again and the decreased the price by $10 the more I pestered. We eventually settled on $40 when I told them that’s all I had in cash. Mission complete.
In the end, I walked away with a large purple bag. I also saw another girl pay the same price for a medium sized Le Pliage. Win? Let’s see how long this baby lasts.