Project Stimulation: Return to Sender

I've hit a snag when it comes to online shopping (my preferred method of procuring everything from underwear to vitamins): sometimes what you see on the monitor is not what you take out of the box seconds after the UPS guy drops it on the porch.

OK, it's no bait and switch because I technically got what I ordered it was just when I got it, I didn't want it because it was what I got. True that, huh.

My first disappointment was a pair of sandals which ended up compounding my disappointment since they weren't the sandals I wanted in the first place. I'd been threatening to buy a pair of Corso Como Fiddas for so long that it became a running joke between me and, well, me. When I was finally ready to just do it, Fiddas in my size and preferred color (cognac) were no longer to be had anywhere on the Internet. Bugger that.

Sandal shy but determined to buy a pair, I began my search for something belle laid, so on the border of being ugly that they're undeniably beautiful. I clicked through pages of websites, visiting the handful of online stores I favor and found myself heart to face with Frye's Vanessas in slate, a version of my now ubiquitous wardrobe color gray or grey whichever you prefer.

I put my order in, went on with my life and like the dog, was at the door the second the UPS truck pulled up a day or two later. Hurray, I thought, I finally have a pair of sandals my sisters will both curl there lips at and admire me having the balls to wear. And that's what I thought until I saw them on my feet. Even with a fresh pedicure, the wonderful color and fine craftsmanship, I knew they weren't going to work out. And it wasn't that the heel part was already rubbing even though I was standing still.

While they are belle laid, they're more laid than belle. They've gone back and I don't even mind the $4.50 it's going to cost me off the purchase price for shipping. Sometimes when a thing isn't right, it just ain't right. Even though I'm sure if I see them on another gal, I'll think those are nice sandals and realize the problem wasn't with the shoes, but with my feet, calves, knees, thighs...

What is it with me and handbags? I rarely have occasion to pull one out, but I still had the overwhelming hankering to buy not only a bag, but a nice one I'd be happy to own and could pull out whenever I needed to.

This is where things started to go wrong. I put way too many expectations on a poor purse. Sometimes a purse is just a purse and I really, most sincerely thought the Campo hobo from J Crew was for me. I liked the shape, minimal hardware and the color, slate again, and, I admit, that I was willing to buy it retail with nary a second thought. Not only retail but online retail even though J. Crew's shipping charges are beyond off-putting.

I did everything I was supposed to. I thought about it for a few days, went to my local J. Crew to see if they carried it, pulled out my tape measure and tried to visualize the size, but in the end all those efforts were for naught. I suppose the size of the box it was shipped in was the first indicator of disappointment to come.

As soon as I pulled the bag out, even before relieving it of its plastic bag then felt bag, I knew it was way too big. As in as wide as my hips and a tad too tall which just made me look like a kid carrying her mommy's handbag. No matter which way I carried it, in the crook of my arm, on my shoulder, by the handle, its proportions and mine just didn't mesh.

It was my mistake for investing so much, and I don't mean money, in a pair of shoes and purse. At my age I should know better. A pretty picture doesn't always make for a pretty reality. But if I see a gal trotting about in my Frye Vanessa sandals and J. Crew Campo bag, I'll feel a slight pang for what could have been but feel OK in knowing that those two things just weren't for me.

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