Thursday, March 4, 2010

When did 'luxury' and 'convenience' become synonyms?

Since Lydia's birth, I have gone to many baby stores and attended multiple consignment sales, and I keep seeing the same thing - products for sale that we know aren't best for our children.

Last week, I attended the Lolliposh Upscale Consignment sale. I like the idea of consignment. When we follow the old "reduce, reuse, recycle" philosophy, consignment fits right in! I have no need for this anymore, so I will re-sell it to someone else at a reduced cost so that person can benefit from its use. Great idea! This sale was a good way to get some higher-end clothing at a lower price, buy the typical stroller, bouncer, pack n' play, baby gear every American woman imagines her child needs. But for the moms who are looking for something beyond just the modern was a bit disappointing. Everything was so middle-of-the-road. They had vendors there, but they were selling creams to remove baby fat or headbands for children. No organic baby food vendors (even though there's a great baby food store near me: Yummy in my Tummy) or babywearing vendors or other eco-friendly products. It was like the used version of Babies R Us. Again, great for some families who appreciate the one-stop shopping experience. But made me ask myself the question "When did 'luxury' and 'convenience' become synonyms?" which leads me to ask the ultimate question: Is this what is best for my child or is this what modern-day woman has determined to be a convenient luxury?

Consider these two ads:

The ad on the left contains a family, "splurging" on a night out together, going to their favorite burger joint. The word "let's" is a contraction - let us. "Us,"a collective unit, spending time together. The ad on the right shows a woman with perfectly coiffed hair and a new hat box. She didn't have to race home from her shopping trip because "dinner" would be on the table. She can afford to by the frozen TV dinner instead of preparing her family a real meal. These WERE the luxury items at one point in time. Now, they exist purely for convenience. They serve to allow one family member to sit in his room playing video games, eating frozen garbage, while the others are sitting on the couch, eating their low-end meat and watching whatever "reality" shows we're fed (yes, I fall victim to this sorta thing more often than I should. Not really fast food, but sitting around, eating some junk, watching reality TV).

Okay, so all these ideas are somewhat scattered. What am I trying to say? The most important thing is to be an INFORMED consumer. Don't by the Graco stroller because someone else did (again, I am a victim of this).  Don't co-sleep because you're "too lazy to train your kid." Don't breastfeed because someone told you that it's best. And don't use formula because breastfeeding requires a genuine effort. MAKE CHOICES!  I do what I do because I make informed decisions.

One other piece of information... Last month, I went to Whole Foods, and saw a package of delicious-looking brownies. However, there were like 12 in a pack. I asked the woman at the bakery if they were sold individually, but they weren't. So, I filled out a comment card asking if they could start selling them individually. I went there today, looked at the comment board, and sure enough my comment was there with feedback - now they sell individual brownies!  I love businesses like Whole Foods that are pretty wide-spread, but still make you feel like you matter as a consumer!

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