I paid a visit to a baby store last weekend. There's so much I could talk about, but I'm going to focus on one particular aspect of the visit that stood out in my mind: the baby stroller.
Now call me out-of-touch, but I seem to recall a simple time. Baby strollers had 4 wheels and a seat. You pushed the stroller and usually it had a baby in it. That was about it.
Stroller = wheels + seat + baby.
This has changed...a little.
I walked into the stroller section and saw objects that appeared to be around the same size as a Mini. There were strollers with 1 seat, 2 seats, reclining seats, bucket seats, removable seats, seats for the parents, seats for the kids, for the dog, for the neighbours dog, and probably the mailman fit in there too.
There were ones with rubber wheels, with inflatable wheels, spare wheels, removable wheels, winter tires, all-season tires. There were 8" tires, 10" tires, and tires that I could use as a spare for my care.
Some had shock absorbers. Shock absorbers! Where the hell do we take our kids these days? "Come on, Cindy! Load up the kid! We're doing some off-roading in the stroller!" Don't we just push our babies on the sidewalk or the mall? Are they that bumpy?
And lets think about this for a moment. When we're holding an infant, what is one of the natural things we do? We bounce them up and down. It helps soothe them and it's good for their balance. Now we're putting them in strollers where they don't feel any sort of bumps or bouncing? Does anyone else see the irony in this? We don't want the kid feeling bumps as we push them through a mall (where rocks, fallen branches and riverbeds abound!) but as soon as we take them out of the stroller, we're bouncing them up and down more than Richard Simmons on a cup of espresso.
And the accessories these strollers come with -- holy cow. Cup holders, stereo systems, wire mesh baskets, mosquito netting (in case we enter the jungle), rain gear, mobile dangly things, tvs, a nintendo wii -- it's just unbelievable. I'm surprised they don't offer a free tow if it gets stuck in a ditch. It scares me when a stroller manual is larger than my microwave, stereo and TV manuals combined.
On top of all that, these strollers collapse, they fold, they bend, they twist and somehow most can be folded up into your shirt pocket. Some will transform into a car seat, a playpen, a 2-story showhome -- it's incredible what these things can do. I wouldn't be surprised if the next Transformers movie was called Transformers 2: Attack of the Stroller
And since when do I need to take out a loan to buy a stroller? I mean I shouldn't have to figure out payment options to pay off my stroller. I'm surprised they don't offer lease and financing options for crying out loud. Hey, do they offer coupons? How about my CAA membership? Does that give me a 10% discount at least? It's got friggin' wheels -- does it count?
Look, I'm not naive. I fully understand that I'm making fun of a lot of things I'll be thankful for once I have my little one and I'm going for a walk. But holy shit, for the same price, I'll buy a Mini Convertible and at least I'll have a gas pedal, a brake and a steering wheel.
Oh wait, some of the strollers had those too...