The New York Times has done it again and hit the pulsing vein of a new trend among the wealthiest 10% of the population. What’s the scoop this time? It’s no longer cool to buy the $1200 Oeuf crib for your new arrival. All the most fashionable people are buying the $500 Oeuf crib nowadays. People who used to buy $900 strollers new are now buying them for less, used on Craig’s List. What’s next? People buying $90 strollers used for less on Craig’s List?
According to today’s Times, the high-end baby products industry has taken the same hit other luxury retail industries have taken in the recession, with many companies claiming 15-17% declines in sales over the last year. Apparently, parents who spent limitless amounts on their first born are thinking better of doing the same for babies two or three, and turning instead to relatives, friends, the Internet and other sources of hand-me-downs.
Basically, the article describes what everyone I know in my face-to-face life has been doing since we were children ourselves–shopping smart, as if money did not grow on trees.
My mother raised me to figure out where the rich people’s clothing donations went and to shop for designer duds a season or two old (as if anyone keeps track of fashion seasons anywhere but Manhattan) for pennies on the dollar. When I became a mom, I checked out the local kids’ consignment shops and discovered I could do even better on Ebay.
Now that I’ve got two daughters, I rarely buy new for the baby sister. But I do make sure what I’m getting for the first child will wear well and pass down in good condition. Once my younger daughter has outgrown items, the nicest ones go into a box for my best friend’s yet-to-arrive daughter.
Is this not how The Rest of Us have always lived, recession or not?
Actually, the rest of us may benefit a bit from this downturn of conspicuous consumption. The demise–and liquidation–of a local high-end boutique full of designer European clothes for knee biters recently allowed me to stock my older daughter with scrumptious outfits for her first year of school at vulture-like prices. And when her little sister’s turn comes along, she’ll be wearing them too. I don’t think many folks in my neighborhood will notice they’re two or three seasons out of date.