Sunday, May 9, 2010

Death of a Used Car Salesman

As Mrs Long journeys deeper into pregnancy, preparations begin to move from planning stage to purchase stage when it comes to infant equipment like prams, baby clothing and assorted other paraphernalia that will be used 2-3 times and then discarded. Chuck has heard of numerous people who compiled comprehensive lists of necessary gear with meticulous research and analysis. Fortunately Chuck and Mrs Long don’t subscribe to such exhaustive list making and rely more on instinct and impulse buying. Impulse buying can be extremely dangerous, especially when it’s your first child as Chuck found when he recently ventured into Target. The sheer stigma of being in Target generally causes Chuck to power walk to the area holding whatever it is that he requires (typically underwear) and then a near sprint to get out unseen by associates or before the stink of white trash attaches itself. However, on Chuck’s last visit to Target what was planned as a quick diversion into the baby clothing section ended up in a buying frenzy as Chuck was overcome by ducks, bears and terry towelling jumpsuits with little booties.

This experience rattled Chuck’s granite like veneer and resulted in a Long family team meeting to draw up lists so as to avoid future blood rushes like that again. When it comes to determining what it is you need for a newborn baby, most books, publications or shops will have you believe that you will need to part with at least $15,000 to make your baby’s first year on earth comfortable and manageable. Chuck’s here to tell you that’s bullshit. Unfortunately, Chuck couldn’t get this message to an Asian chap that Chuck witnessed at a baby warehouse who walked past Chuck carrying a receipt with a list of approximately 86 items on it and a moderately pregnant wife tailing behind with a humongous shit eating grin. He had definitely had his pants pulled down!

Prams are perhaps the biggest rort of all with some of the top of the range models rolling off the assembly line at around 2k. You can buy a fucking car for 2k! Loyal readers, cast your minds back to your early childhood. Chuck is fairly certain that he rolled in a pram that was actually designed for dolls. In fact, Chuck bets if you hit up the aforementioned Target (be sure to move swiftly through the store) and took a look at the toy prams, they’ll look exactly the same as the bastard your folks pushed you around in! Anyway, prams are a fucking rip-off. However, since your kid is going to spend a fair amount of time in one, you probably want to make sure it’s semi decent. Mrs Long did some research and came up with a 3-wheel number that came with solid reviews. It’s no 2000 bones model but it’ll get the kid from A to B (Chuck prays that there will be no head on collisions with another pram and therefore skimping on a stroller with no airbags will be justified). Chuck then jumped the pond to New Zealand and snapped it up for 30% less than it retails for in Australia – win for the good guys!

For pretty much all of the other stuff, you just need to rely on baby showers. Chuck was encouraging Mrs Long to go on a baby shower roadshow, where she travels to various parts of Australia and gets new gifts from different groups of people but that went down like a lead fart.

Ok, so that’s not really the way you go about getting your essential baby items and if any of Mrs Long’s friends happen to be reading, Chuck didn’t try to pressure her into this approach……

The one item that cannot be skimped upon in Chuck’s opinion is the car seat, however that’s not to say that you won’t be taken to the cleaners when trying to purchase one. Chuck found himself at a baby store being absolutely enchanted by an older woman who was either a doting grandmother or had her act down pat to represent one. Every question Chuck asked was met with a heartfelt tale of what she used for her granddaughters, which filled Chuck with confidence and hope. This lady worked her ass off as Chuck put her through her paces with some extremely difficult questions:

“What colours does it come in”?
“Does this model allow it to stay cool inside the car while Chuck ducks into the casino for an hour”?

The sales clerk didn’t miss a beat and had Chuck eating from the palm of her hand. In fact Chuck was so enamoured that Mrs Long was told, “we’re definitely buying SOMETHING off this woman”. When it came time to purchase the baby seat, last year’s version was significantly cheaper than this year’s version. The minute Chuck made a move towards last year’s version, the darling grandmother transformed into the cunning sales shark by warning Chuck of the additional safety features of the new model- “this one has additional head and neck support that really limits how much your baby’s head would bounce around in a car crash”. Now since a baby’s head is like an eggshell, any bouncing around is going to be dangerous, but how can you skimp on a few bucks if an infant’s skull is at risk? This woman had a trigger point and knew that no expectant father was going to be able to pull the tightwad card right there.

Fresh off dropping 500 bucks on a baby seat, Chuck, Mrs Long and a huge box headed for the car.

This is where things got interesting. Mrs Long has been the proud owner of a sports car for some time now and as loyal readers will know is considerably more sensible than Chuck. Being conscious of the financial constraints that a pregnancy can impart on a young family adjusting to one salary, Mrs Long had endeavoured to persist with her car despite Chuck’s protestations. As Chuck and Mrs Long approached the car a sudden realisation struck the couple that the baby seat may not fit in the car. Not not fit in the boot, fit in the car at all. It would have looked pretty stupid driving down the road with a baby seat strapped to the roof. The seat had to be removed from the box and just fit in the back. Upon arriving home, Chuck tried it on the rear seat (the vehicle is a 2 door car which made things tougher) and fortunately it fit, albeit with about 1 inch between where the baby’s head would be and the roof. 

After some gnashing of teeth, it was decided that the Longs needed a new car.

To be continued......


  1. Brilliant! I spent $126 on Target pram, then $1200 on next pram for baby#2, guess which one prevailed???? Oh my lord, the car, its my life 5 years ago.....good luck (nb, spend the money on a good car seat)

  2. New vehicle indeed! Can Chuck picture himself in a minivan? A word of warning - brace yourself for the days when Mrs. Long's social life revolves around watching toddlers programing, and she feels cut off from the outside world.

  3. Reminiscing over the good old days! Mayhem is over. Better days await!