Farewell, Baby Superstore

January 24, 2018
Farewell, Baby Superstore

As my children age, there are some baby-centric artifacts that I will surely miss encountering. Both Jrue and Jai loved their respective bouncers, and I found some semblance of temporary peace in their happiness as they rocked those legs up and down to power themselves into rhythmic motions. Jrue always smelled delicious as a baby and his skin was enviably velvety since we slathered different fragrances of baby lotion on him three or more times a day. I had an organization of their tiny clothing down to a science–each nightstand drawer was a separate size range, and the contents were folded and arranged according to item and usage. Baby laughter…ah, hysterical baby laughter is one of the best gifts. Jai hasn’t afforded me a lot of the goodwill to witness complete over-the-top, breathless giggles, but Jrue had more than a few at mommy’s funny antics. I never minded unwarranted parenting advice or diaper blow-outs or “where-did-the-baby-go?” moments.  

A consistent night’s sleep. That, I miss, as well. But, I digress. 

One of the additional occasions I will also miss is visiting our local baby superstores. In our area of Georgia, we have two of them, one of which we frequented out of closer distance to home than necessarily better selections. When Jrue was a young baby, we’d scoop him up into a shopping cart and promenade around the store while keeping his little mouth off of the cart railing as mommy went “ga-ga” over baby Converses and crib sheets and nipple shields. We nearly always went for the clearance sections…for some time, most of Jrue’s clothing were the brands found there, but having been acquired for a much lower price point.  

When Jrue became a toddler, and Jai was independent enough to hold her body and head upwards, we moved Jrue to the cart’s inside and placed Jai in the higher riding position. And…we commenced our usual graceful dance. 

Due to our well-known stroll status, we’d enter the store and cut a left, then carve a giant loop all the way around, being sure to hit the interior spots of preference when something caught our eyes. In our store of choice, this path included sightseeing through baby home décor, diapering essentials, little shoes, toys of variety, cribs and mattresses, “big kid” clothing, feeding necessities, rockers and car seats, the “safety section,” nursing vitals, and a whole diaper bag mini-store.  

By the time our 30+ minute jaunt had ended, I would have peppered poor Jrue with randomly affordable clothing pieces, threatened him twice to go to the car and/or to the potty, daydreamed about when they were newborns with the hubs, and calmed a screaming little girl who wanted to get out of the cart. 

Good times.

Not everyone has normally pleasant experiences with baby superstores, though. I completely empathize with writer Meghan and her wretched experiences detailed for the blog “Mommyish.” Another mommy wrote about what she went through for a return with a competing, albeit same, baby store on her blog “Bargain Babe.” There are Reddit boards and comments below items and similar messages sprinkled around the ‘Net declaring these specific shopping venues the worst. 

From the times I waddled around the places with basketball baby belly and high blood pressure, to the times we registered for too much when getting scanner-happy, to packing both kiddies and rolling around– averting Jrue’s directional instructions towards the toys–we haven’t encountered any major issues.  

So, why am I deciding to stop shopping there, even though my baby girl is, technically, a “baby,” not yet two years old?

For one, the allure of the store is diminishing. I am usually online now completing comparisons of prices and always find what I’m looking for, cheaper, with other retailers. The base of glamour of baby superstores for me, personally, was in being able to get “everything” in one spot without exacting budgetary confines, which was doable with one baby. Since kids get more expensive with number and age, failing to take into consideration cost-efficiency is goofy because we don’t have it “like that.” I also no longer have enough time to simply wander hundreds on hundreds of square footage of a store, particularly since I have impatient toddlers. Lastly, with recent bankruptcy news, we have no idea if we’ll pull up to our store and it’s closed. The store we often tour is typically quiet and next-to-empty of customers, even during peak shopping hours; we can rarely find a salesperson for inquiries as it is. I think I’m crossing a maturity threshold here.

These giant stores are just not winning anymore. 

Not a good sign. 

I’m sure we’ll go to a baby superstore randomly again in the future, but less routinely, of course, as baby girl gets older. Before I am disproportionately disappointed, I’d better let a good thing desist. 

Baby superstores will still contain a rosy history for me.  

Just like sleep before kids. 

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