On Friday, I wrote about a $3000 stroller from Aston Martin, thinking it must be the most expensive stroller ever made. Then someone pointed me to The Roddler which sells for the low low price of $4495.
And get this— IT DOESN'T FLY!!!!!
The next obscenely priced stroller better be made by Spacely Sprockets, because unless it hovers above the ground, I don't want to hear about it.
Back when Mazzy was born, in the olden days of December 2009, the most expensive stroller you could buy was a $1000 Bugaboo Cameleon. Someone I know had to have one. Below is a cautionary tale of a new mom who cared way too much about the brand name of her baby's wheels.
I'm not supposed to tell this story. In fact, I haven't breathed a word of it till now. It didn't happen to us, anyway. That would be embarrassing. No, it happened to another couple we know. Their names are Schilana and Schmike.
Schilana and Schmike live in New York City. In New York City, if you have a baby, you most likely have a Bugaboo Stroller. As the Mercedes of baby strollers, it is priced at approximately $1000.
I know, EXPENSIVE.
But Schilana wanted a Bugaboo very badly. Not only was she told they were the best strollers for handling rough city terrain, but they came in cool colors and all her friends had them. Schmike, on the other hand, thought paying $1000 for a stroller was obscene. But when Schilana sets her mind on attaining something she deems necessary, especially if it is for the good of their brand new baby, it is next to impossible to sway her.
Schilana was not entirely unreasonable though. When she found out some of her friends had bought used Bugaboos on Craig's List, she decided to check it out. She ended up doing one better.
Schilana found a woman who had three brand new Bugaboos, one even in the color she was coveting. The woman said that her boyfriend worked for a company where they sold overstock. All the Bugaboos were in their original box, packed with the instruction manual and the user DVD, and cost $600. Schilana, feeling bolder than usual, suggested $500. They settled on $550. Schmike would be so pleased!
When Schilana told Schmike about her arrangement, Schmike loved her just a little bit more that day. They arranged to meet the woman that weekend at her apartment uptown. Schilana asked for her apartment number. The woman said she would meet them with the stroller in the lobby. Which was understandable. Why give strangers your apartment number if it wasn't neccessary?
When Schilana and Schmike arrived at the building, there was no one in the lobby. They waited. The woman arrived by walking in the front door and lugging the box inside. Which was odd. But then she explained that since their apartment was small, they kept the strollers in their car. Okay, that made sense. New York City apartments ARE small.
Being a smart guy, Schmike wanted to check out the contents of the box before finalizing the deal. Inside, all the Bugaboo pieces appeared to be new and accounted for. Complete with the instruction manual and user DVD as advertised. Schmike handed the woman a check. She said she didn't take checks. After all, she didn't know them really. They were strangers. This was true. They WERE strangers. So Schilana waited with the woman while Schmike went to a bank to take out $550.
Then Schmike and Schilana went home, proud of their resourcefulness, their frugality, and most of all, their brand new Bugaboo!
Once home, Schmike went about the task of assembling the Bugaboo. He struggled. The fabric looked kind of funky. It was pulling in some areas and sagging in others. Schilana looked up pictures of the Bugaboo online and determined that their Bugaboo didn't look nearly as nice. Schmike said companies always make everything look perfect for their websites. Shilana agreed. Companies DO make everything look perfect for their websites.
Then the time came for Schmike and Schilana to take the baby out for a stroll. To proudly pull up their Bugaboo next to all the other Bugaboos at the playground. But as they rolled the stroller outside, the front wheel started to squeak. Huh, they thought, we should look into that. A block later, they noticed that the baby was rolling to one side of the bassinet. They rolled her back. She rolled again. The bassinet appeared to be tilted. This was obviously of great concern. They quickly retreated back to their apartment.
Schmike studied the Bugaboo but couldn't find anything that he had done wrong in putting it together so he called the Bugaboo customer service line for advice. (I'm improvising now because of course Schilana and Schmike are just friends of mine and there is no way for me to know everything word for word but…) the conversation went something like this:
"Can you please tell me the product code of the stroller?"
"Where would that be?"
"On the bottom of the frame".
"I don't see it".
"It's right in the middle on the bottom".
"I still don't see anything".
"What about the box? Is there a sticker on it?"
And then the agent said the most awful sentence in history:
"It appears you have purchased a fake Bugaboo".
Schmike and Schilana reflected. They thought about how the woman was offering three brand new strollers at half the price, how easily Schilana had bargained with her, the secretive nature of the apartment number, the trunk full of strollers parked outside the building, the rejection of the check and the subsequent trip to the bank… they thought of all this and looked at each other with eyes that said, "How did two intelligent people let a brand new baby make them do something so EARTHSHATTERINGLY STUPID???"
In the end, they salvaged the frame and bought all new Bugaboo parts. The fabric had the perfect amount of tautness, the bassinet lay flat, the wheels handled with squeakless precision, and it looked just as perfect as the Bugaboos on the company website.
Grand total for the fake bugaboo plus the real bugaboo parts? $1000.
To their friends and everyone they pass on the street, Schilana and Schmike own an $1000 Bugaboo.
But secretly, Schilana and Schmike know, they're the schmucks with an $1000 Schmugaboo.
For a chance to win a REAL BUGABOO CAMELEON (winner will be selected July 11th 2014), enter the Mommy Shorts giveaway here.
Epilogue: Schmike and Schilana got rid of their Schmugaboo in 2012 when they had their second kid: Schmarlow. They used a two-seater Britax B-Ready (which was given to them as a gift from the company) until 2014 when they decided to purchase the more compact UPPAbaby Cruz. Mainly, they make Schmazzy walk while Schilana wears Schmarlow in a carrier.
Love love love it!
had one. greatest stroller ever. totally worth it. and i’ve saved it as i’m going to have my casket lined with its radiant orange canvas.
I am also not one to purchase a $1000 stroller, but that’s only because my driving lifestyle doesn’t warrant it. Plus, I hardly even use my $100 stroller, so I’m glad we didn’t go all-out. I’m so sorry to Schilana and Schmike. It sucks to be swindled!
I am shocked that my sister, who has bought and traded no fewer than 8 strollers over her 3-child career, never had this happen to her.
The problem that most people don’t know with buying things on Craigslist or Ebay or pocketbook parties is that most of those things are stolen or counterfeit. And while some people are ok with that, they don’t realize that those goods are usually kicking back to the terrorism trade in some way. Gangs are using these goods to buy drugs and guns, and that is how terrorist groups get their funding. I used to roll my eyes at that, but that is what my husband does for a living-as a corporate fraud investigator. So it really IS serious. I understand that the illusion of status is important to some, but doing it on the cheap is really anti-American, and does come at a really heavy cost. I’m sorry for the soapbox, but if you do a little more looking, you’ll discover the truth of it for yourself, and realize that for those of us who have family risking their lives every day, we look at your stroller as more than likely a FAKE-which is definitely NOT the status you were hoping for.
Remind me to tell you the story of my good friends Shmusan and Schbrad, who, back in around 2002, had never used ebay before but had heard such great things…and wired $1800 for a brand new Apple computer (that was listed for 2500). I mean, the seller had all A++++ ratings, how would they have known they guy’s account had been hacked by some crazy Romainians. Ahhhh, live and learn.
I don’t think they were schmucks, just trusting. And THAT should not be a bad thing. I really appreciate their honesty!
I love that you told this story. By the way, we were too cheap to buy the Uppa or the Bugaboo so we went with the City Mini. G-d forbid a stroller purchase be hassle free though. BuyBuyBaby accidentally sent us packing with a hot pink stroller instead of the black. The thought of going all the way back to Chelsea from the East Side was more than I could bear, so I refused to exchange it even though our child is a boy. We watched the general public recoil in horror at the sight of a male child in a pink stroller for over two years. That was actually fairly amusing. TAKE THAT GENDER CONSTRUCTS + HOMOPHOBES!
You’re my favorite schmuck. I mean, Schilana is.
HA, I’ve had a similar thing happen to me. I don’t think I bought a fake stroller, but they failed to mention that this one part falls off about 75% of the time, and if that part is off then you can’t break the stroller down until you put the part back on CORRECTLY. I’ve had to squish an open stroller in my passenger seat TWICE. I drive a Nissan Altima.. it doesn’t quite fit in just my passenger seat, so I’ve driven home TWICE with a stroller in my face.
My friend “Smartlana” had two kids who both survived stroller-hood in a $300 Graco carseat/stroller combo.
Even ‘city kids’ can be tricked!! 😉
I don’t think you’re schmucks at all! With the prices of everything skyrocketing, everyone is looking for a better deal! And (to comment on the comment I read above, even though I probably shouldn’t) it’s not anti-American to look for a better deal and come on, terrorism???? Come on! ‘Merica! Hello!
Yes. Terrorism. That is directly related to my husband’s job. Otherwise I wouldn’t say a thing, believe me. I was embarrassed the first time he had a fit I got invited to a pocketbook party, so I know you’re reaction. But do your own research on it-there’s plenty of documentaries out there.
I get looking for a better deal, too, believe me! But you don’t think we know what a fake bag/stroller/whatever it is looks like when you are wearing pants from Target, and don’t get your hair cut for a year? It’s obvious. And maybe looking for a better deal ISN’T helping our country. If you really know the fashion industry (and I do!) in this country, we used to produce 95% of all our own clothes here. Now we are less than 5%. Counterfeit goods and “just looking for a good deal” is largely responsible for that. I know, most people don’t know about this, so I’m sorry if this sounds condescending. But please make sure you know your facts before you dismiss or disrespect someone who is attempting to inform. It really is a larger and more serious issue than your current line of thinking.
Hope you don’t mind if I chime in here to say that, perhaps most NEW items on Craigslist or Ebay are stolen or counterfeit (I’m not really aware of this issue and it is very interesting to me) but buying USED from these sites can not only save lots of money but is great for the environment! I’ve bought tons of used baby items from local families on Craigslist and never had a problem. I comparison shop, know what I want and what it should cost. I’m buying from families just like mine who’s kids have grown up and moved on. These items have many good years left in them and I only buy something that looks sturdy and clean when I inspect it. I just don’t want Schilana and Schmike’s story to deter someone from buying second hand items. Please don’t equate buying new, possibly shady items with buying USED!
In all honesty, I could care less about the fashion industry. I could also care less about having a fake designer bag. I’m certainly not going to go around looking at other woman and think to myself, “Oh I can absolutely tell that’s fake and she hasn’t had a hair cut in a while!” That’s what’s disrespectful.
And I’M one of those women!
I’m middle class American. Things suck for us. They really do. I don’t get my hair cut and I cut my own kids/husband’s hair! But go ahead and make me feel bad about it, why don’t you?
I don’t care about where my clothes come from, as long as I don’t look fat and they aren’t too expensive and I LOVE Target pants!
And these days terrorism is apparently just EVERYWHERE.
But to be clear, I guess what I should have originally posted is that I don’t think a mom blog is the place to start hollering about terrorism and anti-Americanism.
We’re all just out to have a good laugh.
Pam, you are absolutely right-that SHOULD be pointed out. Unfortunately Ebay and Craigslist have a pretty vague policy on truth in advertising at this point so it is a Buyer Beware market there.
Ilana, Sorry to run away with this post, but obviously, something I’m passionate about. And no, I really don’t think you’re a schmuck either. It’s a very common mistake.
I remember this story from RFML. This was the thread how I connected to you blog. 🙂
This post was really supposed to be about one particular experience and not meant to discourage use of Craig’s List altogether. Both my dining room chairs (lightly used molded plastic Eames chairs) and Mazzy’s Oeuf toddler bed were both purchased on Craig’s List and we are more than happy with them. The difference being that they were sold as used and we went into a person’s apartment to pick them up.
ebay is probably the larger offender of what you are talking about since a lot of their items come from merchants as opposed to just people who live in your neighborhood.
Also, at the time of the stroller purchase, I had absolutely no idea that people were making blackmarket imposter strollers. I really thought that kind of thing was reserved for Gucci bags. So it never would have occurred to me that people were making and selling fakes.
Since this is of interest to you, here are two documentaries that might be helpful in understanding a little better.
Not the most exciting documentaries, I’ll warn you, but truthful in their numbers and accuracy of reporting.
I don’t believe the Tired Mother was hollering. She was trying to create an awareness. If you don’t want to know, that’s your right. Keep on laughing.
Because, while it sucks to be middle class, try being a starving artist who works all night to produce a handbag, pours your heart sweat and time away from your kid into making it, only to have it knocked off in China…and then get laid off when you’re six months pregnant because your job is going overseas. I know, you don’t care about the industry. But really, THAT’s hilarious. Remind me to laugh when it happens to your family.
Or how about the high school girl who works in an upscale store and gets punched in the face by a gang member who is trying to steal a table full of clothes so he can sell them to buy drugs? Now THAT’s funny. Let me know when that’s your baby sister. We’ll have a party at the hospital.
And my neighbor, who hasn’t seen her husband for two years, who is the unnamed guy who was the reason that last, apparently boring terrorist plot was prevented-funded by selling counterfeit goods. Stop me, I’m laughing so hard. I’m sure he would have rather have been home.
So keep on laughing. Really it’s funny.
You are raising the future generation. Please make sure they are better educated than you apparently are.
Certainly most moms sport the Target pants and Year Without A Haircut at some point. I have, too. There’s no criticism there. My point was only that you’re not fooling anyone when you try and pass off a “Gucci” bag if that is your day to day reality, so is it really worth the (hidden) cost?
I’m sorry that this subject was too boring for you. I’ll be sure to be more entertaining next time. 😉
This could have SO easily happened to me back in ’09. Sigh…
Glad you reposted to help out all the Schlisa’s and Schterry’s out there. 🙂
If you listened to Schmom, then you wouldn’t have talked to strangers.
Awesome! Good for you!
The terrorism trade is funded by DRUGS not fake strollers!
This brightened my day! Thanks for the laugh! And im very sorry for your friends! 😉
This was actually HILARIOUS! I feel for your friend and her bugaboo envy. Here in Chicago its all about Uppababy which is still ridiculously expensive. We decided that we’d rather splurge on things like a crib and a stockpile of soy formula. Splurge for us was a $500 black sleigh crib that we’ll probably keep until we die. I’m so in love with it and it’s climber proof because of the sides. She still can’t get out of it and she’s almost three. This article just proved my theory. Never buy anything on craigslist or ebay. I won’t even chance it.