We took a road trip last weekend and, at 14 months, my youngest is pretty obviously outgrown her baby car seat. It was time to upgrade to the toddler car throne, and it had to happen quickly. Which meant I was going to brave Buy Buy Baby on the weekend.
Now that both girls are walking, we’ve had a lot of success with “man-to-man defense” parenting. So I grabbed the oldest, Red, to join me on my quest while my wife hung back with the baby. I already knew exactly what I wanted — this year’s version of Red’s Britax Advocate — and where it was located in the store. I thought I could get through the place with surgical precision — in and out in 20 minutes.
As I’ve said before, the Buy Buy Baby is essentially Thunderdome on the weekend, especially the one in Chelsea. When we got there, the first floor was loaded with expecting parents mindlessly zapping registry items, accompanied by a B3 rep in a blue shirt. I was on a mission, but the banter between the Blueshirts and their doe-eyed marks was inescapable. Did you ever overhear a conversation that was so insipid, weird, or just completely wrong that you can’t not listen to it? And then you worry you’ve just gotten more stupid having heard it? It was like that. Some of the gems:
- “If you even think you’re gonna breastfeed, you should pick up two pumps. You don’t want to lug these back and forth.” This was over by the Medela pumps that retail for $240.
- “This is great, ’cause it just stores IN the microwave!” a rep said about one of those big racks that you put in the microwave to sterilize bottle parts. Yeah, hope you don’t need to use your microwave to, y’know, heat up food… while you’re figuring out your newborn. And would it have killed the Blueshirt to ask if these people had a dishwasher? Those usually have ‘sterilize’ settings.
- “I would just get one of each and see which one works out. You can always bring the rest back.” This was was said in front of a wall of pacifiers that had at least 100 options. Conservatively.
I pressed on, avoided eye contact throughout the entire first level, and got down into the bowels of Buy Buy Baby without incident. This is where the big stuff is, and on the weekends feels like a trade show/bazaar/kumite. I walked past the strollers just as a demo of some Bugaboo models was breaking up. The Blueshirt giving the demo said, with a level of seriousness that should be reserved for TSA agents and funeral home directors, “I can’t recommend an UppaBaby. They’re just so heavy. In the city, you’ll really wish you had gone for a Bugaboo.”
One couple in the audience hung back from the pack as they moved on to the next demo. Nodding toward Red at my hip, the guy asked me, “You’ve done this before. What do you think about the UppaBaby stroller?”
I told him about how much I liked the UppaBaby Vista, and the weight thing didn’t seem to me like a huge deal. After all, you’re not running a marathon with it over your head, right? They seemed relieved. It felt like that part in the Shawshank Redemption, where the Tim Robbins character goes to Morgan Freeman with, “I understand you’re a man who knows how to get things …”
Closer to the car seats, I made eye contact with a soon-to-be brother-in-arms, a first-time expecting dad. This poor guy was wearing an Ergo Carrier on the back, a Baby Bjorn on the front with a demo doll in it, and a look of utter despair. Most of the clips were mismatched and nothing was adjusted for size. You could’ve easily mistaken him for an overwhelmed news correspondent in some war-torn country. I offered, “I’ve tried all those at one point or another. What do you need it for?” Like most guys, he wanted a carrier that could go front or back. Wearing a kid any heavier than 20 pounds on the front is murder on your back, so I’ve been really happy with the Ergo. The dude’s wife came back just as I was pointing out that you can pretty easily take apart and machine wash an Ergo, to get puke/poop/hardened applesauce out of it. I think things like the cleanup factor are easy to overlook for new parents, so was happy to offer that little glimpse into actual parenthood.
Once I got over to car seats, Britax had their own brand rep in-store that was kind enough to grab a cart for me, and I was at the register from there. I didn’t really need any help with my purchase decision, but I’ve found these brand-specific folks extremely helpful before. I wonder why more companies don’t make a regular practice of it. They’re not on commission and have a really thorough understanding of their specific product lines.
The whole thing took about 30 minutes in-store, and it was nice to be able to throw a few new parents some friendly advice. I would urge veteran parents to offer to come along for that first Buy Buy Baby visit with their expecting friends. I know my wife and I could’ve really used it our first time there.
About the author
Rich Gallagher is an NYC-based PR guy with experience in sports, video games, tech and beverage alcohol brands. A version of this first appeared on his blog, We’re Gonna Need More Bathrooms.
Leave a Reply