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September 5, 2010

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Blog Before Buying

I don’t know why I thought I could get away with buying a big purchase without running it by the experts FIRST, but I have learned my lesson!

After coming home from NC (and almost 13 hours in the car each way with the boys kicking the back seat) we realized these ‘babies’ are fast becoming little ‘boys’ and the Graco Snug Ride infant car seats are quickly being outgrown. My head seems to spin daily with just how FAST time is going by these days.
Big boy car seats?? Already??

Since we don’t have a car and we don’t regularly go anywhere in a car, we figured we might as well bite the bullet now before we decided to go on a last minute trip and were stuck with too-small car seats.

As luck would have it, BRUS is having a great trade-in sale. You bring in your old car seat (and loads of other items–you’d needn’t have purchased it at the store) and you get 25% off a new purchase–needn’t be the same type of item. There are a lot of participating manufacturers and we still had a crap load of BRUS gift cards we’d been saving for exactly this purpose.

I did the obligatory research–Britax was participating in the trade in–and decided to go with the “Marathon” car seat. I wasn’t thrilled about the huge LazyBoy type of footprint and did wonder how comfortable I would be riding between 2 of these in the back if need be (and there’s always been the need on every car ride…) but figured I’m small and this is a fantastic (expensive) car seat, let’s do it.
My Twins Club forum had mentioned a ‘Radian’ car seat, but I couldn’t find this brand…and it wasn’t listed on the trade in sale.

Off we went, trading in the Graco car seats and buying the new ones. AND we got a pattern that was being discontinued and was already discounted $50 off! With my trade in, the sale price and the gift cards, we ended up only spending about $45 for TWO car seats that retailed for $280 each. I felt like I’d gotten a great deal.
When they were delivered the next day, I took them out of the box, took the boxes down to recycling, managed to (barely) fit them in the front closet and went on with my day, which involved updating my FB status with my score.

And that’s when One of His Moms let me know about the Sunshine Kids RADIAN car seat. And I realized I had made a HUGE mistake. Cue Panic. I hate making mistakes. I mean, who doesn’t, right? But I feel like I’m a really good researcher and I don’t make purchases without a great deal of thought. But I really dropped the ball on this one. And the super had gone home and I can’t return these car seats without the boxes and he had probably already broken down the boxes and basically OH SHIT.

You see, the Radian folds flat. Not only that, but it’s rated just as high, if not higher than the Britax. And it’s perfect for those of us whose car seats don’t live in the CAR but in a closet. AND because it folds flat, it has this handy travel bag you can wear as a backpack and you know…TRAVEL with your car seat. Which is clearly the selling point for me.
Because what the HELL was I thinking?! These babies are going places and they are going to need a car seat when they get there! Why was I paying out the ass for an expensive, BIG car seat that I couldn’t travel (easily) with? Why was I thinking we would just rent a car seat with the car rental if we flew somewhere? Sleep deprivation has robbed me of some critical thinking skills.

I finally decided the only thing I could do–besides cry–was to write a note to the super and hope to hell the next morning he still had those boxes. Otherwise, I was screwed. When I took the note down…I noticed the recycling door was cracked. This door is always LOCKED after hours and what did I find? My boxes. Not even broken down! JOY!
God wanted me to have the right car seats:) Unfortunately he did not want them to get them at a discount.
I was able to return the Britax to BRUS, get the refund AND….for some reason they had a really hard time with that and I ended up $30 ahead. They knew it, but they couldn’t figure it out, so go me!
However, Sunshine Kids was not participating in the trade-in sale, so I found the car seats at Diapers.com (and Amazon) for 20% off which was cheaper than what BRUS was offering. They are expensive, but this is a purchase that is going to last us for years and see us through a great deal of travel, both car, airline (they fit in the overhead bins) and train. Who knows, they’ll probably be on a boat at some point, too. I think we’ll get more than our money’s worth.

I’m so happy to know there are other moms out there who know their gear and steered me in the right direction. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!
Next time, I promise to not make a major purchase without blogging about it first!

PS–The sale is still going on at BRUS, go take advantage of it!