Monday, April 03, 2006

One for you, one for me. One for you ...

Saturday, April 1:

Tomorrow is my friend’s baby shower. So, naturally, I have waited until the last possible moment to buy her gifts.

She is registered, like every mother-to-be I have encountered, at Babies ‘R’ Us. Fortunately for me, this superstore is just down the road.

In the past, I hated going to this store to buy my girlfriends gifts for their showers. I wandered around the fluorescent-lit warehouse feebly, lost and not having a clue where any of the items on the registry are located. It was like the Home Depot or Costco of baby stuff: good for a bargain, lots of items, but hard to find anything. And bad ambience.

When I walk through the doors, though, I see the store has improved. I don’t know if it’s just a fresh coat of paint or what, but the store just looks better. I have to wait in line at the registry kiosk, and when it’s my turn, I see my friend’s registry is 10 pages long. A line has formed behind me, and I feel sorry for all those women who have to wait for me to get the printout.

Most of the items on the list haven’t been purchased yet, and I hope my friend will be getting what she needs. I gingerly venture to the area closest to the kiosk just to get out of everyone’s way, keenly aware of the women who sit at the grand registry reception area like vultures ready to greedily swoop down on parents-to-be with lists of all the baby items they are going to “need.”

That could be my husband and me in a short while. Gulp.

I am able to find a starter kit of bottles before a saleswoman asks if I need helping finding anything. Yes! She points me to certain areas of the store when I show her the 10-pager, and I find a few more items on the list.

Officially done shopping, I now am free to wander the store for myself. I decide to check out the baby clothing selection for the second time in my life to see if the pink and blue tyranny reigns in this store, too.

And it does! It’s just as distressing today as it was several weeks ago. When a salesman asks if I need help finding things, I complain about the lack of neutral baby clothes, and he waves his hand over his head and says, “There are some yellow and green things over there.”

“Yeah, but even those you can see are really for either a boy or a girl,” I tell him. I want to point out the yellow outfits with pink flowers on them and the green outfits with blue stripes and sports symbols, but he is answering some little device on his hip that is beeping. I walk away.

Eventually, I find and buy the entire collection of newborn neutral clothing in the store, which isn’t saying much.

See what kind of business you are losing out on, companies?

Then I spot nursery furniture sets that are arranged to look like real nurseries, complete with bedding, lamps and wallpaper borders. They are irresistible. I walk among the cribs and armoires, brushing my hand against the wood and feeling the fabrics. And I think, “I am going to have one of these in my house!” Of course, I realized this before, but standing there in the thick of the baby accoutrements, it really hits me.

I can’t wait to drag my husband back to the store. We could spend a whole day! Or, at least, I probably could.

Then I get a card and gift bag for my friend, and check out.

I’m so gushy when I get home and show my husband the items for his baby.

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