This Bugaboo stroller retails for $950.00 (photo by Design Public/flickr)

This Bugaboo stroller retails for $950.00 (photo by Design Public/flickr)

Before I moved to Brooklyn, I thought there was only one type of baby stroller that had any name-brand appeal: Maclaren. These colorfully accented carriages, brandishing the company logo down the handle or on the seat, appeared everywhere on the Upper West Side.

And then I moved to Park Slope, where I soon became acquainted with the 3-wheeled “jogging” stroller, the stroller that can seat not two, but three (!) whiny children, and modern takes on the uppity pram. Now I know that the ones with the squiggled circle logo and massive back wheels – the same type carriage that once ran over my foot (hence the name of this blog) – is a Bugaboo, Gucci to a Maclaren’s H&M.

The most galling thing? These tricked-out rides, soon to be covered in spittle and crushed organic Cheerios, cost more than what I make in my entire paycheck. So pardon me, New York Times, for not wanting to run over and congratulate any of my neighbors for finally hitting upon this shockingly new concept of acquiring goods for their oblivious infants secondhand.

The Times seems to think that the concept of getting things secondhand for babies is novel.

The recession, it seems, has catalyzed a moment of reflection among the formerly free-spending new-parent set: used is good; free is best. New purchases have become more considered, less spontaneous.

And yet when I was growing up in, yes, an affluent New York City suburb way before the recession gave used goods their current cache, my parents realized that their three young children had no concept of luxury items and would total anything and everything given to us, including clothes, toys, furniture, and baby carriages. When I was old enough to realize that the endless shopping bags that kept appearing in our living room were stocked not with new, shiny loot but rather with my aunt and uncles’ castaways, I put my tiny foot down and demanded nothing but things I purchased myself (with my mom’s guidance, of course). But before then, I can only imagine how much of what surrounded my early youth was donated or bought on the cheap. I was too young to appreciate anything anyway and suffered not at all from the deficiency of finer things on my everyday life. And as far as I can tell, my family was just a small part of the enormous secondhand circle.

While I love the New York Times and read it almost exclusively for news, it has never been attuned to what it means to really live on the cheap, (see this previous article on supposedly broke college grads who think deprivation means forgoing Peter Luger or paying $1,500 for an East Village apartment), this article is particularly insensitive right now, when so many people are without jobs and struggling financially. I did a quick Craigslist search to get an idea of how much these people paid for their coveted used Bugaboos, and $400 does not seem like such a frugal steal, even if it’s a “fraction” of the original price. I’m already offended by this article; I can only imagine how parents who are having actual difficulties providing for their children must feel.

People today are railing against conspicuous consumption of any kind, and a lot of these folks are coming from progressive, family-friendly Brooklyn neighborhoods. These are people who boo gas guzzling, overpriced Hummers, and yet go out and splurge on a similarly oversized, showy baby stroller. One could point out similar gripes for spending lots of cash at farmer’s markets, but it’s much easier to justify buying $5 pints of organic strawberries. In that case, there’s a payoff for the consumer and the producer. But a luxury stroller for a child who is bound to trash it? That’s just ridiculous.

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