When I got home, I spent minutes just looking at my new (yet old) bags. I couldn’t wait for an opportunity to use them! But first, I had to send them over to Vintage Restore for its damages to be repaired.
The Vintage Restore revelation
It was the summer, and most of my classes were in Quezon City. So one day that Jun (our driver/review assistant) wasn’t too busy, I sent him to the Katipunan branch of Vintage Restore with my newly-purchased Chanels. I told him to ask first how much the restoration would cost.
While my students were answering their practice tests, Jun texted me to call him. He was already at Vintage Restore.
Jun: Ma’am, hindi daw po nila gagawin yung mga bag
I: Bakit naman?!?
Jun: Kasi hindi daw po leather.
I: Ha? Pakausap na nga!
He then passed the phone to the person he was talking to. It turned out to be one of the owners, Lally Cruz-Dizon.
The ladies behind Vintage Restore. Screenshot from SOURCE
Lally: Ma’am, san n’yo binili ‘yung bags?
I: Ang name po ng store ay ________. Sabi pa nga po nia client n’yo raw po ‘yung owner kasi lagi s’yang nagpapa-restore ng bags sa inyo.
Lally: What’s the name?
Lally: Ay I’ve never heard of her. Kilala ko clients namin eh. Anyway Ma’am, I refused the bags kasi hindi man lang sila leather…
(This is true–they would have remembered their clients. After this episode, I’ve been having my bags restored at Vintage Restore and whenever I email, Trish replies in a friendly manner. They remember me even if we have never met)
At this point, blood drained from my face. Nanlamig na ako.
I: So tingin n’yo po, fake yung bags?
Lally: Yes Ma’am. Kasi hindi man lang leather…
I: Pero may sign po sila sa store nila na authentic daw ang bags nila, and regular client n’yo pa nga raw po si _________, yung owner.
Lally: Naku, I’ve never really heard of her. At saka marami talagang sellers ng fake bag. I’m sorry to say this Ma’am but I really think fake yung nabili mong bags. The fact na hindi man lang genuine leather ‘yung material. I suggest ireklamo mo ‘yun.
Shaking, I thanked Lally and told Jun to come back. I had to breathe deeply because I was about to teach again, and I didn’t want to to think of it while I was teaching.
I was able to teach well, thank God. But during break time, I hurried to text the sales assistant who sold me the bags. I told her what Vintage Restore told me: that the bags were fake, that they weren’t even leather, and that Vintage Restore didn’t even want to accept them!
The sales assistant expressed surprise because as far as she was concerned, she was told that the bags they were selling were authentic. She said she forwarded my text messages to her boss, and she will get in touch with me.
Fake vs replica
Later that day, the sales assistant called me. Let’s call her Jem.
Jem: Ma’am Dewmaine, nakausap ko na po si Ma’am. Ang sabi n’ya po, hindi naman daw po totally fake yung mga bag. Mga replica daw po yun.
I: Replica, fake din yun!
Jem: Sabi po ni Ma’am, kumbaga hindi po sila fake. Kasi may permit daw po ng Chanel na gayahin yun. So replica po, hindi fake.
I, getting exasperated: Jem, walang binibigyan ng permit ang Chanel para gayahin ang design nila! Fake at replica, pareho lang ‘yun! Di ba may sign pa kayo sa store n’yo na authentic ‘yung mga bags n’yo?!?
Jem: Sige Ma’am Dewmaine, kausapin ko uli si Madame XYZ (let’s call her boss that).
That night, I received messages that Jem forwarded. They made me shake with anger. I can’t remember the messages verbatim, but these are what I could never forget:
Madame XYZ sent a thesaurus entry of the synonyms of replica, then pointed out that the word fake wasn’t included in the list of synonyms. Ergo, ang replica raw ay hindi fake.
One line from her message I can’t forget was: “I thought she (referring to me) is a teacher at Brain Train? Tapos hindi n’ya alam na iba ang replica sa fake?”
Ouch and grrr! #MyGahdIHateDrugs
And stupid me, pumatol pa talaga ako–I also looked for a thesaurus wherein “fake” was one of the synonyms of “replica”, and I sent it to Jem. But Madame XYZ insisted that her thesaurus doesn’t list “fake” as the synonym of “replica”.
I told Jem that whatever her boss insists—even though it’s not “fake” (only replica!), fact is it’s not authentic. Thus, I will just return the bags and get my money back.
Then Jem replied that Madame XYZ will get in touch with me directly.