One thing Jean was set on buying, even before leaving home, was some form of sleeve or holder for her MacBook Air. She was waiting until we reached Rome so she could visit Via dei Condotti and the Louis Vuitton shop.
Via die Condotti runs from the base of the Spanish Steps to Via del Corso – 4 blocks of premium shopping. Every European luxury brand is on the street. Gucci is on the corner at the base of the Spanish Steps. Valentino is next. Then it’s Prada and Dior. A little further down is Louis Vuitton. It just keeps going.
We headed into Louis Vuitton’s three storey shop and were greeted warmly (well Jean was as she had one of the shops fine products over her shoulder) and asked what we were looking for. Yes, of course they have laptop sleeves and bags. Yes we’d be delighted to follow the staff member to look at some options.
The shelves are full of product all perfectly displayed. The staff (who seem to out number customers by three to one) are immaculately groomed and dressed, and the store is spotless with none of the usual retail clutter you see elsewhere.
None of the bags on the shelves are used as samples. If you are interested in a bag, a sample is available from drawers below the shelves, each bag in a special holder to protect it. The staff also wear gloves to handle the merchandise.
Of course if you purchase an item, it arrives already wrapped from somewhere else in the store.
Our modest “laptop sleeve” rapidly turned into a messenger bag. But which size – there were three – and which pattern – modern or traditional? The price started to climb.
In the end a selection was made, aided somewhat by a glass of champagne, and was charged to Jean’s account. Yes, scaringly, ever since she bought her first bag 6 years ago, Jean has an account.
God help us all.