If you know me at all, you’ll probably know that shopping is… well, it’s kind of my hobby, really. Oh, don’t look at me like that: I have a six month old baby, it’s not like my hobby is going to be translating ancient runes, say, or anything else that can’t be done while aimlessly scrolling through my phone now, is it? So, shopping it is! And given how much I love shopping, it’ll probably come as no surprise that trying out a personal shopping service isn’t something that I’ve ever really considered.
(I DID briefly consider working as a personal shopper, though, back when Rachel from Friends did it, and I was all, “WAIT: you can get paid to SHOP?! Where do I sign up?!”)
The thing is, though, there’s shopping… and then there’s BABY shopping, and while one is a pleasant way to spend an afternoon, the other involves reading up on the latest car seat legislation, and then spending a small fortune on something, only for everyone you know to tell you that you SHOULD have bought the other one instead. So, pretty much the opposite of fun then, basically. When the people at Mamas & Papas offered to have one of their personal shoppers do it all for us, then, we figured we’d be crazy to refuse, so, last week, Terry, Max and I all rocked up at their Edinburgh store, where we were met by the lovely Susan, whose job it is to meet cute babies and help their hapless parents buy stuff for them. Pretty cool, right?
Within minutes of our arrival, Max spat up all over the store’s pristine floor. Then I knocked all the drinks off Susan’s desk. Unfazed by this (I mean, I guess if your baby’s going to throw up, a baby shop is the place to do it, right?), she sat us down and offered us drinks and biscuits while we had a quick chat about what we were looking for.
We had a few things on our list, here. As I mentioned last week, Max will soon be needing a new car seat, and we’ve spent so much time debating this, and going back and forth between the next seat up from the one we have, and one of the fancy, 360 ones which swivel to let you get the baby in and out of it more easily, that I’d pretty much lost the will to live. So, first up, we took a look at some real live car seats:
We ended up not actually buying a new seat on this particular trip (Because – SPOILER ALERT – we decided to just get EVERYTHING ELSE IN THE STORE, instead…), but the experience was a bit of a game-changer for us, because, here’s the thing: we’ve never actually looked at car seats in person before. Nope, other than his clothes (Which are even MORE fun to buy than my own, not even joking…), absolutely everything we’ve purchased for Max has been bought online, so, as well as being our first experience of personal shopping, it was also our first time inside a baby store. And, as I said, it was a complete game changer, because not only did Susan really know her stuff about safety and suitability, she was also able to let us try out the seat we’re considering in our own car:
(Max was mucho impressed, as you can see.)
The upshot of this? The seat we THOUGHT we wanted would only really work in our car if Terry sacrifices both of his legs. The one we were a bit ‘meh’ about, meanwhile? Was totally perfect. WHO KNEW?
(Answer: Susan knew. So it was lucky we had her, wasn’t it?)
Despite this shock revelation, Terry decided he wanted to spend even MOAR time thinking about this decision than he already has, so we moved onto the next item on our list: a lightweight pushchair:
Again, we found it really useful to be able to see the strollers in person, and actually let Max sit in them. I was really impressed by how honest Susan was in her recommendations – rather than pushing us towards the most expensive model, she really took the time to listen to us and work out what we actually needed, which was handy, because I feel like SOMEONE should know what we’re doing here, and, lord knows, it ain’t us, so it was good to feel like there was a responsible adult helping us along.
This is the Armadillo folding pushchair, which is the one we ended up getting. And why do we need another pushchair, I hear absolutely no one ask? Well, we’re planning a bit of a road trip at the end of this month, and, because we’ll be away for a few days, we’re basically going to have to bring all our worldly possessions: or all Max’s worldly possessions, rather, because that boy does NOT travel light, let me tell you. He’s like his mama in that respect. We do already have a stroller, but it’s the one that came with our pram, and it’s HUGE. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great stroller, and we’ll continue to use it, but it takes so much space in the boot that, if we were to take it on this particular trip, we wouldn’t have room for much else. This one, on the other hand, folds up neatly, and takes up much less room, so we got it, plus a few other items Susan recommended to help keep Max comfortable and entertained during the trip. I’ll be writing more – er, probably MUCH more, knowing me – about everything we got soon, though, so, for now, all that remained was for me to have a quick – by which I mean lengthy – stroll around the baby clothes section, and then we were good to go, complete with a cute little gift, which is given to everyone who uses the Mamas & Papas personal shopping service…
… and, well, a ton of STUFF, which everyone but Max found absolutely hilarious, apparently:
Look, I even got a real live baby! Shopaholic or what?!
So, would we use the service again? Absolutely. Because, the fact is, as much as I love shopping, and would generally prefer to just pick things out myself (Which I did with the clothes I got for Max – you’re obviously free to stroll around the store yourself, too!), I have to admit that things like car seats and strollers aren’t something I know much about, which makes shopping for them a bit daunting. I also really wish we’d known about this service while I was pregnant, because I think it would’ve been really helpful to have been able to just go in and basically say, “OK, tell me what I need to buy,” rather than trying to work it out as we went along. (As well as being a personal shopper, Susan is also a mum herself, so she’s able to give you some personal insight into the products she’s recommending…) I loved the fact that there was no pressure, and no hard sell, so you basically feel a bit like you’re just out shopping with a friend – albeit one who knows a whole lot more about baby products than you ever will.
Also, the baby clothes at Mamas & Papas? TO. DIE. FOR. In fact, I’m going to just go ahead and admit that I’ve already been back to their store at Glasgow Fort, because it was all just way too cute to resist. You’ll be seeing more of our purchases soon – in the meantime, you can find out more about the Mamas & Papas personal shopping service here.
(Disclosure: Mamas & Papas kindly provided us with a gift card to allow us to sample their personal shopping experience: thanks, guys!)