Why Jerry Laughed at My Luggage

“My luggage is so luxurious that when the hotel staff lays eyes on it, it’s very likely they’ll offer you a free upgrade to your room,” said Samantha Brown from the Home Shopping Network (HSN) channel. Her eyes glimmered. Her short blond hair bounced as she twirled her name brand luggage for her viewers.

I love Samantha Brown. She’s the fun host on the Travel channel. I trust everything she says. If she says her luggage is luxurious, I believe her.

We had the Travel channel in Washington. I enjoyed watching Samantha trek all over the world. She huffed and puffed (or did she sprint?) up a trail to Machu Picchu. She danced on a boat in Mexico City and kissed the Blarney Stone in Ireland while upside down. She takes her viewers to hundreds of destinations around the world.

Our TV service doesn’t offer the Travel channel here in Arizona. Therefore, I no longer get to watch Samantha and her adventures.

One day last spring, while zipping through the TV guide, I spotted Samantha’s name at HSN. I clicked the remote over to see what she was doing there.

There she stood, standing beside her name brand luggage with a megawatt smile. She pointed to the features of her luggage, the many pockets, the spacious roominess, the whimsical lining, and the high quality faux-croc leather. Although Samantha displayed the burgundy set, she noted that her luggage comes in other colors like Caribbean Blue and Radiant Orchid.

As I gazed at the luggage, I remembered Jerry had asked me what I wanted for Mother’s Day. I had to think on it, I explained. Now I knew. I wanted Samantha Brown’s luggage in burgundy.

The high-gloss textured faux-croc made Jerry laugh. I like it.

The high-gloss textured faux-croc made Jerry laugh. I like it.

I ordered online and told Jerry later what he had purchased for me. “It’s beautiful luggage,” I said to Jerry. “Very affordable too. You only spent a little over a hundred bucks on me and of course you know I’m worth way more. You got a bargain.”

My new luggage arrived a week later. Jerry took a look at it and laughed. “Ha, ha,” he said. “That’s not crocodile-like leather. That’s plastic.”

I had to admit. I had expected the faux-croc to look more like faux-leather. What I had was more patent leather. “I still love it,” I said defensively.

The day came when I packed up my shiny, new Samantha Brown luggage and hauled it off on a trip. I checked in at the hotel and the friendly lady at the front desk handed me a key card and pointed to a map directing me to the room.

What! Did she not see my luxurious luggage? Doesn’t she want to offer me an upgrade, perhaps a room with a Jacuzzi tub and spectacular view?

She made no mention of my luggage. Maybe she needed more time to reconsider. Should I strut around in the lobby with my luggage in tow until she notices the glossy burgundy carry-on that emanates V.I.P.?  She must need more time to catch a glimpse of the fine luxuriousness of my stunning bag.

“Ha, ha,” Jerry chided. (I use the word chided since a better word doesn’t come to me at the moment.) “She didn’t offer you an upgrade,” he said with amusement.  It was true. Samantha Brown’s luggage didn’t impress the hotel staff.

Advertising is a way of getting you to buy something by making you think it’s better than it really is and that you can’t live without it.

Take Coca-Cola as an example. It has two-hundred tablespoons of sugar in every can (or maybe slightly less) and can cause weight gain, tooth decay, and other health issues. Yet, the syrupy drink invented by a pharmacist over a century ago brings world peace. We want to teach the world to sing and not think of the ravages of sugar. Coca-Cola makes people around the world hold hands and sing in unison.

Anything can be successful if it’s packaged and sold right. I haven’t forgotten the Pet Rock craze. People were actually paying money for a rock they could find at no charge in their backyard.

At the age of eight, I got excited when I read an ad in a comic book touting eight ivory elephants so tiny they fit inside a bean. I had to have the teeny elephants and saved my allowance. Back then I had no awareness of poaching or of illegal ivory trade.  When I had enough money saved, I sent in my order. The day my package came in the mail, I ripped it open and found a plastic bean the size of a lima bean.  Inside were eight ivory chips, more like specks, with two dots for eyes on each side of every chip. Nothing about the ivory chips resembled an elephant.

I learned at the age of eight that people, even adults, will say anything to get you to buy something. Their message: Your life will be sweeter, richer, more comfy, happier, easier, healthier, more enviable, smarter, sexier, cuter, funnier, and more adventurous with the purchase of the advertised product. And who wouldn’t envy me as the owner of teeny, tiny elephants inside a bean?

I still love Samantha Brown. And I love her luggage. I enjoy its whimsical lining and spacious roominess even if it didn’t get me into the upgraded room with the Jacuzzi tub. At least I have a five-year warranty.

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