Not to get all Senator Kelly on you, but I’m going to talk today about registration*. Baby registration.
*If you LOLed at that reference, you might be my new best friend.
It’s occurred to me that the idea is kind of ridiculous. You sign up for people to buy you stuff, and then send them an invitation asking them to go get you stuff off that list. The point of a gift always seemed to be that it was personal and—not unimportantly—optional. Gifts are meant to be a way of showing people that you were thinking of them and that you thought enough of them to get them something. Instead, the registry just treats everyone you know like Santa Claus.
Before I anger my
hoardes of readers reader, I should say that I understand registries are meant to help people who don’t know what you have so they don’t buy you something you’ll just return anyway (though that will inevitably happen).
I get it. But on another level, I don’t get it. I can’t be the only one who finds the concept a little weird, right?
. . .
That’s not what this post is about, anyway. Despite all that, we did, in fact, register. I thought I might point out a couple of the pluses and minuses of the places we went for some of the folks who haven’t done that and are thinking about it. This is by no means a comprehensive list because we only really registered at three places. Because, you know, middle of nowhere and all.
The Swag: It’s not much—some coupons and a couple samples and their baby registry guide—but it’s more than any other place will give you, which is nothing.
The Knowledge: Unlike most other stores, Babies R Us knows the babies. It’s kind of in their name. Which means they can actually answer questions if you have any. Unlike some pimply high-school kid in a red shirt and khakis trying to point you toward the best baby monitor.
The Benefits: If you sign up for their rewards program, and sync it with your registry, anytime someone buys something off your registry, you get the rewards for it. The rewards come in the form of coupons, but still—you gotta buy plenty of baby shit anyway, right? Plus, as an added bonus that we found out about a couple weeks ago, it’s not just the stuff off your registry that goes toward your rewards when someone else buys something. It’s the entire purchase. We had some people buy stuff off our registry, but also get stuff of their own for their kids/grandkids, and we got rewards off that, too, just because they handed the cashier our registry. We had a little money-saving dance party over that one.
The Gun: It actually works, unlike other places. Which is nice.
The Gun: It doesn’t really look like a gun—more like a dildo with a touch screen—so that takes away some of the cool factor. Part of the whole fun of the registry for guys is getting to use the gun to zap stuff, and the Babies R Us gun doesn’t have that same satisfaction. But it works, which is important.
Technology Hiccups: Sometimes stuff people buy doesn’t always come off the registry, at least not right away, which I guess is a common problem people have with the Babies R Us registry. It hasn’t really happened that much with us, not as much as at other stores anyway. But it’s not hard to fix, either.
Availability: This isn’t a problem everywhere, because most bigger cities will have standalone Babies R Us stores. But we’re not near one here. And in Topeka, where most of the people we know would shop, it’s a combo Babies R Us/Toys R Us, so it’s not very comprehensive.
The Stuff: Target has some pretty decent stuff, in general. Granted, they’re still a discount store, so it’s not like we’re getting stuff from Saks, but it’s not like it’s garbage. We’re snobby cheapskates, here.
The Gun: That sucker looks like a gun. Straight out of some kind of sci-fi wasteland where space explorers are zapping Martian monsters with lasers. Only replace “Martian monsters” with “burp cloths” and you have the Target registry.
Availability: Target is every-damn-where. Except here. But that’s beside the point. Most people we know can get there relatively easily.
The Gun: It might not be all Targets, but the gun we got kept breaking. Which made it kind of a pain in the ass. If it had been a gun to shoot Martian monsters, we’d have been eaten. That’s on you, Target.
Technology Hiccups: We ended up with a bunch of duplicate stuff at Karli’s shower because Target didn’t take stuff off. That kind of defeats the purpose, doesn’t it? It’s easy enough to fix it on our end by going online and marking it as received, but that strategy doesn’t really work for baby showers. Karli loves Target. But she hates their registry.
It’s Everywhere: Normally this is a con, because I hate Walmart. But as it’s the only option near here, and some friends here want to throw us a shower, registering at Walmart is kind of necessary so we don’t feel like we’re making people drive an hour or more to find stuff for us.
And that’s about it.
It’s Walmart: That really goes without explanation.
The Gun: It isn’t a gun and it didn’t work. Double letdown, Walmart.
The Registry: Half the stuff on there doesn’t have a good enough description to let people know what it is. It’ll say something like “Faded Glory,” but that describes half the clothing in the store. When we registered for baby socks. And on top of that, it doesn’t give you a location to find the “Faded Glory,” so you basically just have to guess what the hell it’s talking about. Or read every damn UPC code to find it. Good luck finding anything, friends!