On the cost of handbag rehab

Remember my vintage Celine ‘bourgeois bag’ I bought from Rellik in June? Well after barely a few outings, I realised one of the tiny screws from the clasp had come loose. Before I had a chance to get it mended, the wretched screw had fallen out altogether. I decided to take it to the Celine shop in Bond Street for a bit of handbag rehab. After admiring the bag, the sales lady agreed to send it to Paris for repair. Two weeks later she called to tell me the cost would be £60. “Sixty pounds? But all they have to do is replace a screw!” I wailed incredulously. “Why does that cost £60?” I told her not to bother with the repair and to just return the bag. She decided to find out the reason for the excessive charge and let me know. A few days later I had heard nowt. Eventually, after a bit of toing and froing I got a call. Celine had decided to fix the bag for free and it would be winging its way back into my arms shortly.

I have to say, at every turn, the staff at Celine were unfailingly polite and helpful (if a bit slow) and I’m thrilled that my experience resulted in a happy ending. But I have to question this business of high-end brands charging high-end repair fees for their goods. If you’re spending hundreds or thousands (in the case of Cartier watches and suchlike) of pounds on their goods, would it hurt their profits too much to throw in a free repair every once in a while?