Jean Louis as 'the man'

We went to John Lewis (big department store in the UK) today… we had eaten lunch and didn’t have anything else to do. There are 4 floors in John Lewis, and even though we’ve been there a hundred times, I don’t think I’ve seen everything Johnny has to offer. In fact, I had never walked through the baby section before. Recently, however, my interest in all things baby has gone up considerably. I considered my stroll through the baby section as an opportunity to do a little research, something I like to do before spending a lot of money on an item.

So… there we were… standing in front of what felt like an ocean of baby strollers, pushchairs, buggies, car seats, and prams. At first it felt very foreign… but then, I noticed the showroom like arrangement, the different makes and models with their various features and accessories, and slick-looking salespeople walking around showing potential buyers the new features on the latest models. Suddenly, a warm feeling came over me and I knew exactly where I was: a car dealership!

For some reason, people take on a certain persona when they walk into a dealership shopping for a car… and I noticed that my attitude toward the showroom was beginning to change as well. I was scrutinizing different designs, taking the pushchairs for test drives, comparing the handling on different models, and admiring the suspension on the high-end strollers, all the while eyeing the salespeople suspiciously, wondering if I could talk them down from their asking price.

Unfortunately, there’s no wiggle room on the prices… and these puppies were expensive. In fact, the car analogy isn’t too far off when you consider that for the price of one of these strollers we could have paid for our Happy Honda six times over! It’s pretty bad when you’re looking at a stroller and all you can think about is how many cars you could buy for that price!

It’s not just the stroller, though, it’s the carrying cot, the car seat, the car seat adapter, the rain cover, and on and on. The salesman did show us a cheaper solution that was more of an all-in-one package kind of approach, but the handling was awful, like a front-wheel drive KIA. I wanted the Mercedes with the nice tires and aluminum wheels… glides along effortlessly and turns on a dime with one hand! Of course, if you go for the strollers that actually have tires, it’s possible you could get a flat… I wonder if they sell roadside breakdown assistance for that?

You would think people are crazy to spend that much money at John Lewis on a stroller, but ‘the man’ knows what he’s doing. Johnny will tell you that your kid’s spine won’t develop correctly if you don’t buy the special infant carrying cot. Then Mr. Lewis will point out that if you loved your baby as much as the other parents, you wouldn’t have a problem giving him your money to assure your child’s safety… “After all,” he says, “how can you put a price on your own child’s well-being?” Well, as it happens, they have put a price on it, and it’s around £1000.

Thank you for your help in the store, Mr. Jean Louis, but I think the Bullards will be looking on eBay to see if they’re selling our child’s well-being for around the price of just one car.

Have a favorite stroller/pram/buggy that you would recommend? Or have any tips on finding a deal that will help us stick it to the man? Leave a comment…. we could use the help.


  1. You need to get the Baby Bargains book (search for it on amazon). I don't know if they do a euro edition, but it is all about parent reviews/feedback and safety reviews and what brands/models really work well and last a long time- minus the car dealership sales pressure. They cover everything. It is the bible of baby gear.

  2. Make sure that you are standing up straight when pushing a stroller...I have one that I hate because I have to hunker over somewhat but after an hour at the mall I am achy and miserable. I am tall but my mom isnt and she complains the same about height of strollers. I have a Graco Travel System and the stroller cradles the carseat/carrier in a carriage like fashion at first and then as a big kid stroller. I absolutely love mine and the carseat/carrier clicks easily in and out of the car to be carted around or popped on the stroller as a carriage.

  3. We have the Bob Revolution and I can't brag on it enough! Might be a bit big for getting in and out of tiny European shops and such, but it really does turn on a dime, so that makes it handy for shopping. It is also a jogger. Anywho...we're big fans!

  4. eBay is definitely a good place to start for strollers and car seats. We got our car seat (which can be mounted on our stroller) on eBay - the only thing you want to double check is that it hasn't been in an accident. I've tried to find a UK version of the babybargains book but to no avail - and lots of the brands in babybargains are US brands. I would recommend getting a buggy that has decent tires (pneumatic or suspension) because of uneven streets in Cambridge (try walking down Sidgwick Ave with all those tree roots coming up the pavement) and the cobble stone. I would also advise getting one that has a single handle rather than two, so that you can push with one hand. Also, don't worry about the carry cot, we never used one and Thomas' spine is fine (the stroller has a fully-reclined position, and we also used the car seat mounted on it). Start on eBay, since you guys have a car and can pick up purchases that are not shippable. Ikea is also a great place to get nursery furniture. I've heard the CitiMini jogger is a very good stroller and suitable from birth. (We have the old Bugaboo Bee which we really like but Thomas is starting to outgrow it.)

  5. With Owen, we got the Graco Quattro Tour travel system (car seat, base and stroller.) We loved it. Although, our best purchase (besides the car seat...duh) was an Ergo carrier. (eBay....yes!) We carried Owen in ours until about 6 months ago. Best. Money. Ever. Spent.
    Perhaps your bambino will love a swing...ours however did not, and that was a waste of money. Owen hated the swing (as he did the carseat, but that was non-negotiable) and we got rid of the swing when he was a few months old.
    CONGRATS. Baby stuff is so overwhelming...
    And more for Candice than for you, if she needs help with a breast pump (can I say Breast??) have her email me. I'm like a pro with all things boob. :)


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