Sunday, September 5, 2010

Blog Before Buying

I don't know why I thought I could get away with buying a big purchase without running it by the experts FIRST, but I have learned my lesson!
After coming home from NC (and almost 13 hours in the car each way with the boys kicking the back seat) we realized these 'babies' are fast becoming little 'boys' and the Graco Snug Ride infant car seats are quickly being outgrown. My head seems to spin daily with just how FAST time is going by these days.
Big boy car seats?? Already??

Since we don't have a car and we don't regularly go anywhere in a car, we figured we might as well bite the bullet now before we decided to go on a last minute trip and were stuck with too-small car seats.

As luck would have it, BRUS is having a great trade-in sale. You bring in your old car seat (and loads of other items--you'd needn't have purchased it at the store) and you get 25% off a new purchase--needn't be the same type of item. There are a lot of participating manufacturers and we still had a crap load of BRUS gift cards we'd been saving for exactly this purpose.

I did the obligatory research--Britax was participating in the trade in--and decided to go with the "Marathon" car seat. I wasn't thrilled about the huge LazyBoy type of footprint and did wonder how comfortable I would be riding between 2 of these in the back if need be (and there's always been the need on every car ride...) but figured I'm small and this is a fantastic (expensive) car seat, let's do it.
My Twins Club forum had mentioned a 'Radian' car seat, but I couldn't find this brand...and it wasn't listed on the trade in sale.

Off we went, trading in the Graco car seats and buying the new ones. AND we got a pattern that was being discontinued and was already discounted $50 off! With my trade in, the sale price and the gift cards, we ended up only spending about $45 for TWO car seats that retailed for $280 each. I felt like I'd gotten a great deal.
When they were delivered the next day, I took them out of the box, took the boxes down to recycling, managed to (barely) fit them in the front closet and went on with my day, which involved updating my FB status with my score.

And that's when One of His Moms let me know about the Sunshine Kids RADIAN car seat. And I realized I had made a HUGE mistake. Cue Panic. I hate making mistakes. I mean, who doesn't, right? But I feel like I'm a really good researcher and I don't make purchases without a great deal of thought. But I really dropped the ball on this one. And the super had gone home and I can't return these car seats without the boxes and he had probably already broken down the boxes and basically OH SHIT.

You see, the Radian folds flat. Not only that, but it's rated just as high, if not higher than the Britax. And it's perfect for those of us whose car seats don't live in the CAR but in a closet. AND because it folds flat, it has this handy travel bag you can wear as a backpack and you know...TRAVEL with your car seat. Which is clearly the selling point for me.
Because what the HELL was I thinking?! These babies are going places and they are going to need a car seat when they get there! Why was I paying out the ass for an expensive, BIG car seat that I couldn't travel (easily) with? Why was I thinking we would just rent a car seat with the car rental if we flew somewhere? Sleep deprivation has robbed me of some critical thinking skills.

I finally decided the only thing I could do--besides cry--was to write a note to the super and hope to hell the next morning he still had those boxes. Otherwise, I was screwed. When I took the note down...I noticed the recycling door was cracked. This door is always LOCKED after hours and what did I find? My boxes. Not even broken down! JOY!
God wanted me to have the right car seats:) Unfortunately he did not want them to get them at a discount.
I was able to return the Britax to BRUS, get the refund AND....for some reason they had a really hard time with that and I ended up $30 ahead. They knew it, but they couldn't figure it out, so go me!
However, Sunshine Kids was not participating in the trade-in sale, so I found the car seats at (and Amazon) for 20% off which was cheaper than what BRUS was offering. They are expensive, but this is a purchase that is going to last us for years and see us through a great deal of travel, both car, airline (they fit in the overhead bins) and train. Who knows, they'll probably be on a boat at some point, too. I think we'll get more than our money's worth.

I'm so happy to know there are other moms out there who know their gear and steered me in the right direction. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!
Next time, I promise to not make a major purchase without blogging about it first!

PS--The sale is still going on at BRUS, go take advantage of it!


N said...

Yeah - I've heard great things about the Sunshine Radian's footprint, but I didn't know about them folding flat! Britax is a fantastic brand, but (for us who do live in our car, so we don't need to worry about things like folding flat) we got a True Fit which is rated as highly in safety and higher in ease of use than many of the britax. We love love love it.

I'm SO glad you got your boxes in one piece and were able to return them!

Guinevere said...

We totally love the Sunshine Kids Radian, which our son transitioned to a few weeks ago! It fits wonderfully into our small car and allows space for passengers to sit next to it without being squished. We got it because of the narrow width, because we hope to have more kids and fit them into the backseat of our Honda Civic, but for a regular traveller, the folding flat is another big plus!

Glad that it all ended well - it does seem like the obvious carseat for you!

giggleblue said...

those were especially on our list, because of the narrow base, but they were a pita to get rear facing. we were still thinking of getting one for plane travel, because of the fold feature!

Jen said...

We love our Britax Boulevards, but they live in our cars and we don't take big trips, so it works for us. They are massive though and I can't imagine storing them in the house! Congrats on getting what works for you and for being able to return them!

For the Long Haul said...

Wow, go YOU! I have the Britax Marathon and LOVE it. BUT (and big but...) I live in CA and practically live in my car. I certainly never take the damn things out. When I have traveled with it I have hung it off the back of the stroller which works well. But it sounds like you found the perfect solution for you guys. I am always so impressed with your ability to find a bargain. I am far too lazy and end up spending WAY more money than necessary. So good for you!

Robbie said...

We bought 3 Sunshine Radians for our guys. I heard nothing but good things about them on the triplet boards. Glad you were able to fix your "mistake" and get the seats you wanted. :)

oneofhismoms said...

It warms my heart that out of my thousand silly and rambling comments, an occasional one can be helpful, if not stress-inducing. I hope, after all of that fuss, that you do end up liking them.

Jackie said...

Thank you oneofhismoms and puffer for cutting down on our research! We are about to get this car seat--and for 20% off to boot.