Thursday, 13 August 2009

Stroller Shopping on GreEn Bay

We live in the age of the consumer and I'm staggered by the amount of baby paraphernalia on the market. What do I need? What is excess? Changing tables, breast pumps, reusable diapers, disposable diapers....decisions, decisions, decisions.

I haven't delved too far into this abyss, but I hope take a practical approach to baby shopping based on a mix of real need, environmentally friendly products and value for money rather than whimsical "that is so cute my baby must have it" urges. I believe this is a reasonable approach but have now contradicted my practical mantra and decided that I really want to buy a Bugaboo Cameleon stroller/pram. Lightweight, compact, suitable from birth and with a fancy schmancy steering system appropriate for country and city terrain, it ticked lots of my boxes. I'm active; even though I'm having a winter baby, I want to get out of the house as much as I can and walk with baby. We live in an urban environment but I love countryside walks at National Trust properties. Our house is small and doesn't have the space for a big stroller. And if we're going to splurge in one area, I was all in favor of doing so on our stroller.

The Cameleon's price tag of around £700, well over £800 with the car seat etc gave "splurge" a whole new meaning. Now I see why they are popular with celebrities - they can afford them. But how could we, two hard working young professionals preparing for the costs of a new baby justify paying that much money for a stroller in light of everything else we need to get/do to our house/etc etc etc. We just can't.

It's then that Chris, also taken with the Cameleon, suggested that we take a spin on ebay for used Bugaboos. I balked at first, but then started to consider the benefits. Buying on ebay would significantly reduce the price tag of an item that, like a new car, majorly devalues once it hits the road. Those that bought them in the first place were likely to have cared for them, but the wear and tear on any stroller we might "win" could be reviewed in person before finalizing the deal and exchanging funds. Obviously we'd buy a new car seat for safety reasons and would have the option of replacing wheels, bearings, etc. if needed. Notably, buying a used stroller is another form of renewing, reusing and recycling, a green approach often forgotten in the whirlwind of baby buying. While I believe you should examine your chosen stroller in person before making a final purchase, online research and ebay bidding saves numerous trips in the car to Baby's R Us and the like. I've seen a number of 2 year-old Bugaboos on ebay that look in mint condition - why should they go to waste? Plus, if I bought my wedding dress on ebay, what should stop me from shopping for a stroller there?!

As my mom points out, the baby doesn't care what it rides in and I spent the whole of my babyhood in a simple, cheap umbrella stroller. Is having a Bugaboo and its many functions really worth it? That's something we'll need to weigh up, but as we do, the ebay route makes our debate viable while also being a bit greener.

Published on The Green Baby Guide
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