We spent most of the summer figuring out ways to not be at our temporary housing (it was GROSS!). We spent lots of time shopping, err, researching. One Saturday we drove over to Tulsa, and were at a "will remain nameless" box store baby store looking at car seats. After tracking down two sales associates to ask a question about a specific car seat, and sensing the following things: a) they had no idea what they were talking about, or b) they didn't want to take the time to answer our question - hard to tell if that was because they were on their way to break or because it's hard to spend time with a customer when you don't know the answer to their question. We left. As we walked to our car, we noticed another employee getting into their car that was parked in the closest spot to the store. Box Store FAIL. This was after another fail; not being allowed to return something because it was day 91, and they have a 90 day return policy. Great. You just ticked off a pregnant woman and her husband, who WILL BE spending EXORBITANT amounts of money on baby stuff in the future...not at your store. Thus our quest to find small "baby boutique" type shops, with smaller inventory, and typically staffed with part time moms who have used a large variety of the products they are selling.
The first staff mom at the first boutique answered ALL of our questions about a particular brand's entire line of car seats and strollers. And at boutique number 2, staff mom spent lots of time helping us find a stroller that would a) fit both Matt and I with a 12 inch height difference, and b) answered a ton of questions about cloth diapers, and that store didn't even sell cloth diapers! She also threw away my banana peel that I left laying on a high chair. Don't judge. There was not a trash can inside or outside of the store and I couldn't find the bathroom, and I was tired of caring it around.
What have we learned in this process?
We will avoid the box store, except for price comparing.
We LOVE Amazon. (They have a 1 year return policy on baby stuff, and they pay for shipping.)
Other stores like TJ Maxx and Burlington Coat Factory also have large selections of baby stuff. Like all of their inventory, you never know what you are going to find. However, it's CHEAP. We found a changing pad for almost 1/3 what we paid online. And our new one is even heated (seriously?).
Luke is clearly happy about the heated changing pad.