As with all things in life sometimes we have to learn lessons the hard way.
I have been perusing the bootsale app Shpock for some time and was thrilled to come across this lucite bag for £40.
This was to be my christmas treat to myself and it was for collection 2 miles from my house! I couldn't believe my luck.
I have always wanted a lucite bag and this one with it's carved lid in browns and yellows was perfect, or so I thought.
The bag had the most beautiful carved details on the underside of the lid.
I went and collected the bag from a lovely local lady who informed me that it belonged to her mother in law who had passed away a year ago and, she told me, she has so much other stuff to sort through.
I expressed how sorry I was for her loss and she said she hated using the technology of the app. I gave her my number and told her to feel free to get in touch if she had anything else she would like to sell. This lady was not a vintage seller.
I was so gleeful all the way home, I kept looking at my new bag and thinking how well it would go with my bakelite bangles.
I was a little distracted by the kid on the buss eating chips and stinking the whole place out with vinegar, but as it turns out it wasn't his food that was the problem.
When I got home the smell followed me there. I examined the bag and noticed it was wet inside and stank of this vinegar smell. Luckily I have some experts amongst my vintage facebook friends and one of them quickly jumped to help me out despite it being almost christmas eve and probably not having time for my silly questions.
You can see here the brown sticky marks that have since appeared.
They told me to get the bag away from other plastics basically. When a Lucite bag smells of vinegar and is greasy/wet, and has a condensation look to it (I took these to be wear and tear) the plastics have begun to break down but also this can spread to other things, there is no cure for it. It's known simply as "the disease" she informs me.
My bag couldn't not be cured, there is no handbag Dr to call, nothing to be done. I was a bit heartbroken.
The clouding on the lid, like condensation is another sign to look for.
I contacted the seller who said her son had cleaned it with water before I arrived, I took it upon myself to tell her what the expert had said and also that it can spread so if she has other items she needs to be careful and examine everything and get rid of anything with similar signs. I also told her that if she is not sure what it is made of she should be especially careful as lots of nasties were used in these old items, I was worried for her son too if he is digging around in this stuff.
She could have offered me a refund or return, she could have said something but no offer was forthcoming. When I informed her the bag was not useable she said it was a shame. No sign of my money back, it's a case of buyer beware on that one as I have no rights in this case, sold as seen.
So the lessons I learned on this one would be:
When buying things from a dark rainy doorway take time to examine them.
Sniff things before buying them (attractive)
Handle them, check inside, run your fingers around them to see if they feel greasy/wet
Look for cloudiness or condensation looking marks
Count your blessings when you don't get formaldehyde exposure
As for the fate of the bag I didn't know what to do with it since I didn't want something nasty going to landfill and it's just so bloody beautiful but I don't want it in the house.
The sensible option seemed to be to use it as a planter and take it to my grandads grave, he was in the fashion trade and was a very fashionable young man himself. I put some stones in the bottom and filled it with these fake plants (I don't want to kill real plants with the nasties) we'll see how long it lasts outside.
Nicest and most expensive plant pot I have ever bought that's for sure! I'm sure I'll find my dream bag one day, I am also sure it won't be £40.
So be careful out there shoppers, we are all learning new things every day about our vintage treasures. I hope this helps some of you avoid this pitfall.
Until next time