Sunday, June 8, 2008

Maclaren Much?

As the boys and I begin to get a feel for our new area, we've been venturing out and enjoying various hotspots in town.  A few of our earliest outings have been to the newer shi-shi outdoor mall a mere five minutes down the road.  

I so love many aspects of this mall.  It is brimming with activity, including a children's train that circulates around the interior walking space and toots its horn (my little boys are crazy for it...)  I love that it has favorite haunts such as Nordstroms, Crate and Barrel, Pottery Barn, Ann Taylor Loft, and other wonderful stores.  The atmosphere is calm, clean, and relatively soothing, which is such a blessing for a mother hen with chicks, seeking a respite outing.  Overall, this mall gets my 5-star mother rating.

Until the other day when I saw them... not once... not twice... beyond three times.  The Maclaren strollers were lined up by the tens, pushing Polo-clad children and screaming "I am a Yuppy stroller!"  Ugh!!  I was disgusted at the sight!

I'm sorry.  I do apologize if you have one of these Maclaren masterpieces.  As you can probably tell, I do not.  And they repulse me.

While I definitely admit to a wee bit of envy mixed in with these emotions--the fact that I don't own a $200+ umbrella stroller.  Mostly the cause of the repulsion is my understanding that the name alone brings in the whopping pricetag, not the quality of the merchandise.  While my research is limited, I've heard from more than a few mothers that these strollers do not measure up.  The Maclaren is apparently Mac-lacking.  I also have an umbrella stroller that works just fine--want to know the pricetag?  10 whopping dollars.  It suits me just as well.

Now, I will say that I am willing to invest where investment is WORTH the extra cost.  We own a BOB Revolution Duallie, which was not cheap.  Is it amazing and worth every cent?  You better believe it.  The shocks, double layer canopy, aluminum frame, and polymer wheels are there to prove it.  I take it running every day and thank the good Lord for the blessing of such a nice stroller; such a quality piece of machinery to tote my precious cargo.  

But back to the Maclaren.  
Nobility or Durability?  I want to hear your thoughts.


Juris Mater said...

I personally prefer the $900 Bugaboo Cameleon, so that people mistake me for a prestigious Manhattan mom whose husband commutes to Wall Street and whose 3-year-old is already in SAT prep classes. They never suspect I'm a Catholic SAHM (homie?) with 3 kids 3 and under who receives WIC milk from the government.

Actually, we have a double Peg Perego Aria stroller and I LOVE IT!! We've had a blissful two year relationship that I expect to continue long into the future.

Anonymous said...

I don't mean this in a nasty way, but this just made me laugh. All the stores you named scream "yuppy!!" to me, so I can't imagine that the stroller was out of place. I think yuppy to a large extent is in the eye of the beholder.

Katherine said...

We have a Maclaren stroller. Whatever that makes me I guess it makes me.

We also have two Graco strollers, a single and a double, although we wound up with three strollers is a bit of a long story.

About the Maclaren, we put out the money for it because of the construction and especially the back support. We needed an "umbrella" stroller to travel with but DD was still very young and we wanted something with strong back support and a 5 point harness. We've had it about a year now and have no complaints. It works well and has served two daughters now quite well. I wouldn't have minded a $10 umbrella stroller at the time we were looking if they had the support and security that the Maclaren did but none of the ones we saw did and we were shopping for a little little one. That's just me.

That said, I thought your post was a bit harsh. Most strollers are a couple hundred. We didn't spend $1000 on it.

Right Said Red said...

I had no idea the Maclaren stroller was so expensive! I just thought it was a nice umbrella stroller, costing maybe $50 bucks. Wow! I'm out of the loop!

I was also clueless about the Bugaboo until I visited MaryAlice in NYC. She pointed it out to me and let me know how expensive it was. The first thing I wondered, "does it fly?" For that cost, it should fly and push itself. I think both the Maclaren and Bugaboo are status symbols. But that's just my 2 cents.

I paid $10 for my umbrella stroller. I guess if the only stroller I owned was the Maclaren then I would pay more money, but like most, I own a stroller system and an umbrella stroller, so no need for a super expensive umbrella stroller...although I do wish the umbrellas came with higher handles--I'm tall and it just kills my back to push those things around.

Oh, and B-mama, you are a yuppy shopping at Nordstroms and Crate and Barrel! Before you know it you will be pushing around one of those Maclarens ;-)

Anonymous said...

My sister just had her sixth baby in 16 years. She's seen it all. Her friends threw her a wonderful baby shower and urged her to name whatever she really wanted...and she named some fabulous stroller (does it start with a Z?). In any event, it is gorgeous and high-tech and what she really wanted. I bought her the matching carseat and was thrilled she went for it. And believe me I will borrow it if we have another baby!

Our Family said...

Katherine, we checked out the Maclaren double umbrella when we were looking, because, for our everyday stroller, we had to have an excellent quality stroller that was superlightweight and would fold up very small. Our $15 Babies R Us umbrella stroller is a cheapo lightweight bare-bones stroller. We get those so that we can destroy them, lose them on airplanes, back the car over them, and then buy new ones. But like you, we also had to have a high-quality stroller with these umbrella features to use as our everyday stroller. Not a yuppie thing, for sure. We have to store ours in the trunk of our sedan--our apartments don't allow any strollers outside, and we don't have a car large enough to store a bulky double stroller. But B-mama... I have a feeling your Williams-Sonoma window-shopping mom crew isn't buying the Maclaren because they live in apartments and have too-small cars : )

So who out there has a Bugaboo and wants to explain its $900 worth of breathtaking features?

B-Mama said...

Okay, I admit to totally loving the Yuppy stores. I just hate the Yuppy strollers. ;) winkwink

AR's & J's mama said...

I was hoping a stroller discussion would come up soon, and here it is! First, my sister owns a Maclaren. I bought a Chicco. It was right at $100. I dislike my Chicco very much. It has terrible back 2 yr old dtr is tall, and sits in this horrible slumped position. It's hard to steer also. My sister travels from CT to SC 4 to 5 times a year, and this past visit I actually pushed the Maclaren. I could not believe how easy is pushed and steered compared to my Chicco. I am currently carrying a 3 month old on me, and I really truly felt a difference. I also thought the back support was better, and it was extremely light, which is probably why my sister bought it. That's my 2 cents about the maclaren.

Please please please...I need advice on a double stroller. My daughter is very tall (38") for a 2 year old, skinny minny, but a traditional double (front and back) is usually not big enough for her height. I was going to go with the sit and stand (the kind with the platform seat) but she is only 2 and this would be fine for a quick trip into a store, but for a day outing, she would have no place to rest. So I'm left with the side by side...I'm so hesitant about this b/c I could hardly get the Graco travelsystem stroller though the aisles at the mall stores. But they hold 50 lbs each child and I think my kids would be more comfortable. I can't afford any of the top notch brand names...I really want to keep it in the $200-300 range. Please...anyone with any tips, suggestions, could email me ( instead of clogging up the blog. (unless the moderators say it's ok). I would GREATLY appreciate it. I have got to get something poor back has about had it with the sling and the baby bjorn.

Mary Alice said...

Maclarens were developed for hopping on and off the buses in London, where you have to collapse your stroller to use public transportation.

New Yorkers pay a high price for strollers and often they don't own or use cars. I have personally owned a $600 stroller and it was my main form of transportation for my children for two straight years. Now that I live in the burbs, I drive a van that uses about $40 worth of gas a week.

With that in mind, New Yorkers may be a bit label conscious about strollers in the way that some people are about cars, but function goes into all of these decisions as well, and New Yorkers are obsessive about strollers. Stores carry more brands of high end strollers than would think possible, and in New York you truly see all kinds of strollers. Families that walk and have a baby and toddler use a Phil and Ted, those who are park bound use a Mountain Buggy, but if you need to get in and out of a cab you need a side by side double umbrella, like a Maclaren. Mothers of twins got on waiting list for the imported Jane stroller, the first front to back double jogger with swivel wheels.

Additionally, because New Yorkers walk miles and miles each day (seriously), our kids stay in strollers longer. When I walk my kids the 3 miles to the Central Park Zoo, my three year old twins just cannot walk the whole way, so we need a stroller that can handle heavy weight for long distances over uneven terrain, up and down curbs, etc.

Here's something I bet you didn't know about a Maclaren -- you can have the wheels replaced for a minimal charge! When comparing this to a less expensive umbrella stroller, this actually makes a big difference, since I would wear threw my wheels about every 6 months of hard, daily, urban use.

I may be on the defensive right now, and you may be thinking that none of this applies to the moms in your area, but I don't think that making the mall (that also includes a prominent Victoria's Secret) a frequent hang out for you and your boys sets a great tone. Hit the park, stroll the neighborhoods, save the mall for a Saturday out by yourself or with girlfriends. Since you also pick on the clothes you see the kids wearing, I think you feel slightly uncomfortable with the materialistic culture of moms who are hanging out, shopping, and lunching at the mall, and I think your gut is leading you someplace, but this is about finding your place in the community, I don't think this is about strollers.

B-Mama said...

I'm really thrilled to hear some of you have had positive interactions/experiences with Maclarens. It makes me feel so much better about the investment some folks are willing to make. I'm all about investing the money in quality products that deliver.

Mary Alice, you totally called me out in your comment and it was excellent. And don't worry, I had already decided to post my apology after talking things through with GG. The guilt had already set in. :) Love the clarity husbands provide... friends too.

ar's and j's mama, as for double strollers, we really do love our BOB, but I'm not sure how accommodating it would be for taller children. My M is 3 and NOT topping the charts for height. His head is beginning to reach the top canopy of the stroller, though each side does hold up to 50lbs. I've had friends really like the InStep double jogger as an inexpensive way to get a swivel front wheel and a stroller that works for two little ones. Best of luck in your search.

Right Said Red said...


Strollers are big around here too, not as big as New York, but we live in a small town where you can walk to most things. That being said, I just don't get the Bugaboo. Can you give me the 411 as to the features of this stroller that make it worth $900?

After all this discussion about the Maclaren, I think if I traveled often (had to get on and off a bus, or a plane regularly) it might be worth the investment. What about the Bugaboo? Are there some features you get with that stroller that you can't find on other strollers?

And B-mama, as for M being too tall for the Bob, soon he won't have a seat in the stroller anyway, he's about to be bumped out by sweet baby J!

Anonymous said...

After four children in seven years and going through the following strollers in order: Emmelunga (?), Graco double back to back, Graco tandem double, Peg Perego worst stroller ever, numerous umbrella strollers, single jogging stroller, double jogging stroller, I finally bought a Mac Claren Volo when my youngest was about a year old. We used it for about four years. I walked my kids to school with it just about every day, I left it in the back of my Suburban for malls, we flew to California with it. I flew by myself with my toddler to FL with it. I loved this stroller and it was worth it's weight in gold.

Mary Alice said...

I also love the Volo, and the price on that one is actually pretty low. My first stroller was a Peg Perego single, and in the end I really did not love it. Back then, I also had the most beautiful and impractical Inglesina Pram -- think 1920's english story book baby.

I was 22, I was a newlywed, and I needed that stroller. To me, that stroller was what kept me from being embarrassingly too young to be a mother. This was way too image conscious, but my image was pretty complicated at that time. In four years I had gone from being voted most stylish in my sorority to, as a senior, being given a poster that sad that I was most likely to be barefoot and pregnant. Here I sit, so they weren't too far off, but while my friends knew what was coming for me it still took me a while to adjust to it,

That brings me to a point about strollers and vanity -- just as Tex said recently that she has started to wear makeup to church, there may well be women to whom it is important to the have stroller that friends have or the stroller that makes them feel better as a mom, even if it is more stroller than they need. This is certainly vanity, but I think that young moms have a tough row to hoe in the self esteem department, and when the first baby comes there is often a grandma in the wings who is willing and able to splurge a little bit.

There are, of course, lines and limits to dealing with this, just as there are with clothes and makeup -- putting your family into debt for a fancy stroller, for bobby brown make up brushes or Chanel suits would just be senseless.

I don't know anything about the Bugaboos except that from a design perspective I think that they are really, really attractive. I am sure that they are easier to navigate around the city than any other stroller, but I can't see myself spending $900 on the best stroller when there are others that are "good enough" to meet my needs.

Julia Roberts got my stroller, the valco, for her twins, though, and I had it first, so I'm not sweatin it too much. I would put money down that Angelina Jolie gets a Jane double, imported from england.

texas mommy said...

On the double stroller advice front: We have the Combi Twin Savvy EX for our everyday double. I had purchased a double jogger as my jogging stroller when our first was born anticipating more kids, which I love for outings to the park and jogging/walking, but it weighs a ton and doesn't fit through a standard doorway.

I borrowed a graco front/back double from a friend to try it out and had a really hard time maneuvering it, though I loved that it could hold the infant car seat since in Texas we drive and walk a lot.

Our first two are close in age, so I thought the side-by-side would be better for us. My almost 3 year old is really tall and has no issues with the Combi. We also travel a bit and the Combi collapses and rolls so you don't have to carry it and it fits through the security screen at the checkpoint. It isn't the best quality stroller in the world, but it was at the less expensive end of the side-by-side spectrum and has done what we've needed.

B-Mama, we all have our days when certain things seem so ridiculous! I can't imagine how exhausted you are from moving, unpacking and growing your little boy!