Photo by: Kevin Poh

The Bugaboo Jackass… er, Donkey

Photo by: Kevin Poh

My daughter is now nine, so admittedly I haven’t had to think about strollers for years. However, I remember the hunt well. I must have gone through three different varieties of stroller before hitting the one that worked (and it wasn’t flawless, it just worked well).

As a mother-to-be, I registered for what everyone told me was the single “best” stroller on the market: a fully loaded Peg Perego. This monster was supposed to last Anna from infancy onwards, but it didn’t work out that way. Despite the fancy detachable infant seat, the huge wheels (like a 16-wheeler for babies, it was), and the frame that wouldn’t have budged during an F4 tornado, the Peg was an epic fail. Anna hated the seat and screamed in it the majority of the time; the seat seemed a bit stubborn to “click” in and out of the car. That sturdy frame needed both hands to manage. And there was this particularly memorable moment in a mall parking lot when it refused to fold. The refusal, along with Anna’s incessant screaming, was the last straw. So, like how the ancient Anasazi Indians did with their garbage and their dead, over the ceremonial Reject Stroller cliff the Peg went.

There was another stroller candidate that only lasted about a week (again, hurled off the cliff). And then I found the Maclaren. The Maclaren moved under the touch of one finger, making navigation while holding a venti coffee possible (this had become the top criterion for stroller purchase). It broke down to very small in seconds, one handed. And Anna, who had spent her very small infancy screaming bloody murder in the Peg (what was it, an Iron Maiden for the preemie set?), actually slept in the Maclaren.

I kept that stroller until the bitter end, until it was encrusted with goldfish cracker crumbs and the visor had gone all crooked. Now, if it took me three strollers to get it right (at a considerable cost, mind you), what happens when the new mom purchases the juggernaut of all strollers, the brand new Bugaboo Donkey?

Made by the same company that introduced us to the $800 stroller price point with the Bugaboo Frog, a sort of monster truck stroller popular amongst the moneyed, the Donkey is considerably more dear. The thing is like a deluxe doublewide for baby, with apparently a 3-click (yeah, right) conversion and fold down system. There’s a single baby model with a huge basket on the side (about $1200), a version with a regular stroller seat and infant bassinet (more $$), and the mother of all strollers, the twin set, for a whopping (are you sitting down?) $1500!

I’ve looked over various reviews loaded with features and benefits. The Donkey indeed is the top of the line, and I’m sure Bugaboo has thought about its design quite meticulously. But Bugaboo also knows its consumer base quite well. Part of the cachet of the Bugaboo anything is the price point. Sure, you could probably find a stroller that does all the Donkey does, but it wouldn’t broadcast to the world that you (or your gullible baby shower attendees) have the bucks to buy the world’s most expensive stroller for Baby. It’s sort of like the people who buy the Porsche Cayenne instead of the Volkswagen Toureg; they’re really the same car, but the Cayenne is tens of thousands of dollars more AND says “Porsche” on the back. One is simply transportation, and the other is a status symbol, pure and simple.

If the Jackass (I mean Donkey, of course) is indeed everything it’s painted to be: a forever stroller, especially for parents of twins, then maybe it’s worth the $1600. But, odds are, after a first year of being spit up upon, pooped on, spilled on, banged around in the back of the Cayenne, and generally abused, it might be time for a new stroller.

And I’ll make bets it won’t be Donkey, Part Deux.

Jenny Heitz is a mother of one. She currently writes all over the blogosphere, most notably for her own blog, Find A Toad ,the private school blog Beyond the Brochure, and Mamapedia.

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