It’s All About the Bag

Today’s blog entry is one I’ve had on my mind for more than a year. I hope today I do this important topic its due justice.

People who know Spain and Spaniards know what I’m talkin’ ’bout. And I ain’t not talkin’ ’bout a revolution, neither!

I’m talking about what bag Spaniards choose when, for example, they take an old sweater to a sister’s house across town, they do the day’s market shopping, or when they take a nice bottle of wine to a friend’s dinner invitation.

I, for one, would usually grab the first plastic 2-handle grocery bag from the top of the one-thousand-bag-pile to carry just about everything. But Spaniards are particular. It’s got to be just the right bag because, afterall, people are watching what bag you’re carrying and you wouldn’t want to be caught carrying, say, a LIDL (super cheap supermarket) or “TODO POR 100” (cheap-o Chinese stores) bag and have to admit you actually shop at those places.

The usual bag of choice is the famed white with green, two-handle, thick-plastic El Corte Inglés bag with the pleated bottom. Choosing this bag tells the public, “Look! I do my shopping at El Corte Inglés. I’m not some commoner, don’tchaknow!” Others really pushing the self-image envelope might choose a Mongo or even Zara bag to say, “Hey! I’m into fashion!”, or some another bag from some other fashion line with which I’m certainly not familiar so I won’t attempt to be falsely knowledgeable here.

El Corte Inglés is, by no means, the rich-person’s department store but nor is it a place to go for anyone on a budget. Their store brand line is decent and somewhat reasonably priced. But WITHIN El Corte Inglés there are a number of select, high-end fashion departments. They even sell furs, for goodness sakes!  75 Euros is what you’d maybe pay for their cheapest Levi jeans. (that’s about $96, folks!)

Sometimes I have to laugh to myself because, NOW that I’m aware of this fact, I’m constantly glancing at the bags people are carrying and wondering what NON-El-Corte-Ingles-items are inside. It’s funny to see an incredibly warn El Corte Inglés bag which appears to have been used for 5 years of transporting everything from documents to the day’s supermarket goods and the green El Corte Inglés lettering is still barely visible from wear and tear.

One time I was going to a friend’s house for dinner and I grabbed “the first bag I saw”. WRONG CHOICE! Someone of the female persuasion convinced me to, instead, choose a foldable rectangular paperboard bag with dual rope handles.

Plain white, green, or even supermarket brand bags are fine for re-usable purposes when you go to the supermarket. But people whom are REALLY concerned with appearances will even use El Corte Inglés bags to line their trash cans. This way, as they walk to the dumpsters outside, in full view of their neighbors, it suggests that they shop at El Corte Inglés so often that they can “afford” to use these status bags for their everyday garbage. Well, la-dee-da!

 
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2 Responses to It’s All About the Bag

  1. laduque says:

    MM, I laughed thru the whole article!!! You are spot on and I love how you wrote about it! I too have caught myself, in Spain, choosing a bag to carry some belongings in. Even my suegra does it! Now, in the states, I don’t care at all, but when in Rome…or Spain in this case!
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts, made my day!

  2. Dee says:

    MadridMan – loved the article! However, I save my El Corte Ingles bags for my own use. I live in upstate New York, and they take me back to Madrid every time I open them. No sense wasting them on someone who wouldn’t appreciate their importance. I keep my dance shoes in one, so every week when I go dancing I am transported momentarily to Madrid (where I would really prefer to be). Thanks for the blog!!

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