This week’s toe dip into furniture purchasing had me turning to two respected sources: ConsumerReports.com, which lets you know which high chair won’t burst into flames if you spill applesauce on it, and Baby Bargains, a book akin to the Bible for parents trying to figure out whether they must spend $700 on a baby monitor. (Turns out, you don’t need one that delivers continuous feedout on oxygen levels in the baby’s room and the current status of the stock market. Who knew?!) Included on Consumer Reports and in Baby Bargains are tips for first-time parent shoppers–a demographic characterized by their glazed eyes, fear tremors, and the buckets of cash they hold out to anyone who approaches them touting a product’s ability to prevent their child from ever getting a cold or having to attend a gamblers anonymous meeting.
A few tips that offer succinct proof of WtBIHU:
* On cribs — “Some stores purposely loosen the screws on the floor models of less expensive cribs so that when you’re checking them out they seem more rickety than their pricey counterparts.”
Do they teach this move in Looney Tunes Sales Academy? Apparently if you walk into a store and hear “nyuk, nyuk, nyuk,” or see the salesman twirling his mustache you should turn tail and get back in the car.
* On mattresses — “Some baby stores are trying a new tactic to sell their pricey in-house brand of crib mattress: scaring the pants off new parents. We’ve heard all the stories–only OUR mattress fits OUR crib, a simpler foam mattress is DANGEROUS for your baby.”
Apparently the, “ain’t my problem if you buy something that kills your kid, ‘cuz I warned you” is a classic. Special place in Hell for anyone employing this tactic.
* On furniture pedigree [italics emphasis theirs, not mine] — “An important point: don’t assume you are getting a crib made in Italy because the brand has an Italian name.”
OK, on this one I’m actually going to side with retailers. If you’re mentally feeble enough to walk into the store with this notion then you deserve the finest Bambino di Napoli Piccolo Principessa Crib slapped together by Chinese child laborers that money can buy. That the Baby Bargains folks felt the need to emphasize this concerns me, as it seems to indicate that the American public might just be that thick.
Of course the American public also makes the Olive Garden the top-selling “Italian” restaurant in every town in which it is located.