Thursday, July 21, 2005

The Stroller

by Christina VanGinkel

The stroller in question was beautiful. It was padded in all the right spots, the handle flipped from front to back, allowing the user to push it with baby facing forward, or with baby facing the user. The seat reclined from sitting upright, to completely lying flat, with several points in between. For when baby was at their tiniest, the footrest also folded up and snapped into place, thus turning the stroller into a buggy. It had convenient storage pouches and bins in all the right places, and came equipped with a cover that was large enough to protect baby from the sun, but had a window on both the front, and back, side so you could still see the infant no matter whether you had the handle facing towards you or away. I could not stand that stroller one bit. I would stick my son in the little umbrella stroller that a friend borrowed me given half a chance over pulling out 'the' stroller every time.

Everyone assumed I was just being difficult because the colors of the stroller befitted a little girl much better than my son. The colors had absolutely nothing to do with why I disliked the stroller so much. I would tell everyone to go ahead and use the stroller, after which each would, for a few minutes, then push it back over and apologize to me for not understanding. My sister asked once, pushed it, then every time she came over and we would head out for a walk, she would just grab the umbrella stroller and not even suggest that we use 'the' stroller.

What I vehemently disliked about the stroller, was that its oversized wheels, supposedly made to be useable in any terrain from blacktop to grass, were the hardest pushing wheels I had, or to this day have ever, encountered. We even went so far as to remove them and reinstall them thinking we did something wrong. We WD-40 them, and even sat on the floor and took the wheels in our hands, turning them this way and that, trying to break them in. Nothing worked. As we never even opened the box it was in, until four months after we received it as a gift at our baby shower, returning it to the store for a refund was not an option. The small store it came from had a very strict 90-day return policy.

So, for the two years we had the stroller in our possession, we would look at it in wonder, knowing how useful it could be, if it would only push. The stroller did teach us a good lesson though. We learned to look over any purchase we were considering, whether for the kids or ourselves, in every manner we could think of. If an item could be put through a trial run, we tried it. If something could be sat on, such as a car seat when said son progressed from his infant seat to a toddler seat, it was not only sat on, it was buckled up. We learned how one feature that did not work as expected could over rule any benefits that an item might have. I do still feel sorry for the unsuspecting person who acquired it at our rummage sale. We had put a FREE sign on it, but did put a disclaimer on it to push it first. One man pushed it all the way to the trunk of his car, folded it up, stored it, and drove away. His wife probably thought he was the most wonderful husband for bringing home such a beautiful stroller, free at that. That was until she tried to use it!

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