Tag Archives: shopping

Oh hey, 2013!

The turn of the new year marked two very exciting milestones – the halfway point of my pregnancy and the year my husband and I will add “parent” to our list of respective titles. Something tells me finding better balance with baby will be a challenge in and of itself. Now that the holidays are over, and the weeks are passing quickly, I am kicking into high gear to plan for Baby B as my Type-A personality takes over to tackle two of the biggest hurdles: space and things.

Space

We live in a 2-bedroom cape. I love it! It’s such a cute house and a very manageable size for us to take care of. With both of us working like crazy, we don’t always have a ton of extra time to devote to the house. Only having one spare bedroom meant that we had an obvious choice for a nursery but also that we had to give up what had become the office/guest room/closet/storage/library/place to store crap. So, first things first: we’ve been donating what we don’t need and storing what we don’t use to slowly turn it into a nursery and make space for the things.

Things

Babies don’t take up that much space alone – it’s more like all of the things that come with them – from furniture to strollers to toys, and more. I’ve been mapping out in my head where in the house we are going to put all the baby things. Given that we find ourselves both space-challenged and budget conscience like many other new parents, I have been scrutinizing every product to weed out the must-haves, the nice-to-haves, and the are-you-kidding-me-I-would-never-spend-ANY-money-on-that-contraption-haves to make sure we’re covered, but not completely overloaded, with purchases that are practical from a space and cost perspective.

Shopping as a new mom is a very vulnerable time – you’re pregnant, you’re navigating new territory, you want the best for your child, and maybe you’re a little more emotional than normal (not that I’ve ever teared up in the middle of the baby store just thinking ahead to how exciting it will be to welcome Baby B into the world… or anything). Some of the most important conclusions I’ve drawn while registering for Baby B are:

  1. A lot of baby things are super cute –> super cute baby things are really easy to put on the registry in mass quantities –> super cute baby things are not usually very practical. (Knowing and understanding this didn’t stop me from putting only a couple of these on the list!)
  2. It’s really hard to avoid the marketing ploys that make you feel just a little guilty for not getting something that you would otherwise never purchase. But, having a marketing background both allows me to appreciate all the work that goes into the advertising and most importantly, I am able to remind myself to stick to my list. Just because a company paid to have better product placement on a shelf does not mean that they have a superior product.
  3. I am really thankful for the hours upon hours of time I’ve spent babysitting, nannying, and otherwise learning about children over the years. I owe the families who have employed me big time! Without even realizing it, I racked up years of testing products in real situations like car seats, strollers, diaper pails, and those flipping impossible child-proof human-proof outlet covers. I’ve also been able to think back on what products saved my sanity as a caregiver and I expect all of those experiences to come in handy in the coming years. It’s been more than a second job – it’s been an education in and of itself!

Balancing Space + Things

At the end of the day everyone has to decide what’s best for them and what will work for their own family. For us, skipping out on things like the wipe warmer (neither my husband nor I suffer from long-term psychological trauma caused by our parents using room-temperature wipes) and the baby food processor (which looks suspiciously like our “grown-up” food processor) has meant that not only will we save counter space, but we will also free up money to put towards the items we hope to get more use out of.

We’ll see. Maybe we’re making the right choices, and maybe we’re not – but we’ll find out soon enough and I think learning along the way is half the fun of it all, anyway!

So here’s to 2013 – a year of trial and error, learning, living, and at least someone in our family crying in public – whether it’s me or Baby B 😉

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One (not so) extreme coupon

I had an extra-long day planned the other day and in typical me fashion, I had only scheduled an hour of downtime between getting out of work and an evening commitment. I was determined to fit all of my errands into that hour and things started out well enough when I stopped by the drugstore to pick up a few a ton of necessities. It was good timing to run out of everything in the house – from toothpaste to toilet paper and more – because I had a 30 percent off coupon burning a hole in my pocket. After hitting up practically every aisle, I made my way to the registers and when I got there, my heart sank. SELF CHECKOUT ONLY.

Going through a self checkout for me is a guarantee that something will go wrong. I was never a good cashier in my past life when I worked at a cafe, and I’m still not. Inevitably, the machine will break. It will yell at me for putting items in the wrong place (how does it know where they are?). It won’t take my money. It will delete my order and make me start over. Or, in the worst possible scenario that happened the other day… IT REFUSED TO HONOR MY COUPON.

Now, I am not one of those extreme couponers – I just know the value of a 30% off coupon when I see one. I am my mother’s daughter after all – she is a sale shopping force to be reckoned with and has taught me well, dammit!

I alerted the “clerk” (who really is just someone who stands by the old registers and diverts people to the self checkers) and waited patiently while the manager came to the front. Things started out alright but they quickly went downhill. Ahem:

Me: My coupon isn’t working, can you help me?
Manager: Well if it’s not working, it’s not working.

HOLD ON A MINUTE. That’s the solution you go to right away – that you have no solution? Great. So we went on:

Me: You’re telling me there is nothing you can do for me?
Manager: Nothing.
Me: Not even like, an override? You can’t print one out and let me use it?
Manager: I could override it but then you would get TWO coupons – the one I print, and the one on your account.
Me: But the one on my account isn’t working.
Manager: Doesn’t matter, you’d get two.
Me: Well, one clearly isn’t working so I would only have one. In fact, I do only have one. Plus, I don’t really see how it’s my fault that the system isn’t working.
Manager: How would you feel about getting two?

Umm… I’m sorry, did he just ask me how I would feel about getting two? Was he trying to make me feel bad? I don’t know about you, but I would feel fucking fabulous about getting two 30 percent off coupons. I channeled my mom – she would not stand for this if she was here, and neither would I! Instead of debating my coupon morals with the manager, I tried to play it cool:

Me: I don’t really care about getting two, I’ll throw the other one out.
Manager: You don’t get it.

Holy shit. Did he just really say, “you don’t get it?” I may not be a mathematician, but I’m pretty sure I can add one coupon plus one coupon.

Me: (scoff) I don’t get it?

My disbelief at what he just said was lost on my new friend who then replied:

Manager: No, you don’t understand.

For the record: telling someone who actually does “get it” that they “don’t get it” in a different way will not solve any problems. It will only make them worse. If I had to pinpoint the moment when I morphed into a complete crazy person… this was it:

Me: Oh no! I understand! You’re telling me I’ll get TWO COUPONS if you DO help me, which you WON’T. I understand that JUST FINE. I GET IT.

Annnnd people were staring when the manager said: 

Manager: Well… (dead air)

It was clear that we had reached an impasse.

Me: Well… if you’re telling me there is nothing you can do for me, I don’t want any of these items.
Manager: But you already scanned them.

And, in a moment of sweet poetic justice, I still had my debit card in my hand because I was, after all, at the self checkout. As I waved said debit card in his face, I made sure to enunciate each and every word:

Me: BUT I DIDN’T PAY FOR THEM YET, DID I?

I left everything on the self checker machine and knew immediately that I could never go back to that store. They probably have a still frame from the security tape of me losing my mind marked, “AVOID THIS WOMAN AT ALL COSTS.”

In all seriousness, I let something pretty inconsequential get the best of me and I knew rushing through the rest of my errands would be a recipe for disaster so I threw in the towel, momentarily. I went for a walk, grabbed a bite for dinner, and headed off to the next event for the evening with a clearer mind.

Since the TP situation at the house was getting dire, I stopped into a different drugstore later that night to finish my shopping where, for the record, they did honor my coupon.

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