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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Registry Road Rules

Making a baby registry is the most fun part of having a baby, I think. Other than planning the nursery. And getting presents. And feeling baby kicks. And, you know, the actual baby.

If you haven't already, check out the post of newborn must-haves that Carys dictated to me.   Beyond that, there are a few helpful hints and tips that were passed to me and I feel it is only right to pass them onto you, dear friend. Friends? I think there are at least three loyal readers, so I can justifiably say friends. But possibly only one pregnant friend, so also just friend

1. Definitely, definitely register at a brick and mortar store and make sure things are in stock.
A vast majority of people will buy gifts off the registry the day before, or if they are like me, on the way to the shower.  Having everything available "online only," or worse, registering at a store that we don't have in town, means that I have to pick something OFF REGISTRY, which if you know me leads to crippling indecision and time wasting. I wish they had registries for every gift-giving event. I had to buy a third birthday present the other day that necessitated no less than three calls and two texts to the parents.  With that in mind, also make sure to register for things in store. If you register online, you'll end up with a lot of "online only" listings - so if you do the majority of it online, just be sure to make sure it's in stock at the store too.  When registering, think of accessibility as well. For instance, in my city there is one Babies R Us and it's pretty far away. But there are like eight dozen Target stores, approximately one per square mile. So for lazy people who hate driving like me, the Target option is much easier.  That said, many people expect you to register at Babies R Us (or whatever similar store you have in your area, like Buy Baby Buy), so they'll go there just expecting to find a registry in your name - so it helps if there is one.  To summarize: Target. Popular Baby Store. Boom.

2. But Amazon.com is usually cheaper.
However, for those gift buyers who are planners, they can usually get the same thing on Amazon for much cheaper. Register there and spread the word - just understand that most people in town won't use it.  It is great, though, for out of towners.  Shipping is so much cheaper (or free!) on Amazon than it is to ship something from Babies R Us or Target.  The Amazon registry is also a great way to keep track of things you want later, or things you're interested in remembering for later, or that you want to research...later.  Also helpful: you can add anything from any online store to your Amazon registry.

3. Register for duplicates and then stalk your registry. 
Warning: CONTROVERSY AHEAD. I know, how can a registry be controversial? This part of my advice flies in the face of conventional registering rules, so be warned. If you follow the above advice, you'll have three registries. You don't need to advertise them all (I didn't tell anyone about my Amazon one since I mostly used it as a tool for myself).  Amazon, Target, and Babies R Us all have similar - sometimes identical - offerings.  This is total sacrilege and goes against much popular registering advice, but here goes: register for the same thing at each place it's available (especially if it's something you really want). So if you want, say, a Snugabunny swing, register for it at Target, on Amazon, and at Babies R Us.   Similarly, if there's something you want but you're not particular about, register for a different version of it at each place. For instance, if you are registering for a baby bath but don't particularly care which cutesy animal theme it is brandishing, and the same one isn't available at each place, just throw a different one on each registry.  Then watch your registry closely and when it's purchased from one store, mark it as purchased at the other two.  Or if you can't decide between two things (like two different strollers), register for them both and then let the registry gods (i.e. people buying gifts for you) decide. One gets purchased, bam! The decision was made for you, and you can mark the other one purchased or delete it.  A few weeks out you only have to check each site once a day or even every few days, but in the week or so leading up to the shower you'll want to check more often...and the day of your shower, check constantly (luckily, they all have good mobile sites you can use). Or you can delegate that task to a sister or friend - but you definitely do want to keep up on it.  Yes, it is a bit more work, but it increases the chances of getting those highly coveted items by quite a bit.  (You'll probably get a duplicate or two anyway, even if you don't do this, since not everyone will have the store mark it as purchased off the registry.)

4. Register for things you don't want and/or already have. 
What?!? I know, crazy, right??  Why would you do this?  To prevent people from buying them! People have certain things that they love to buy.  If you already have it or don't want it, one way to help prevent duplicates is to put it on the registry and then mark it as purchased.  So if you got a hand-me-down Pack-N-Play or great deal on a stroller from Craigslist or you're going to hardcore attachment parent and don't want a swing...register for those items and then mark them as having been bought.  It doesn't always work - again, not everyone is going to look at your registry - but it definitely helps.  And as people give you things that aren't on your registry, you can also add them and mark them purchased, which will again help prevent duplicates.

5. Clothes are really hard to register for. 
Clothes come in and out of season like every two weeks. I registered, then a week later everything said "out of stock." So I did it again. Shortly after, same notice. Unless you are going back and updating that constantly, it's hardly worth it. Some things (like plain onsies) are staples and will usually be there, but those cute outfits? Change all the damn time.  So go ahead and do it (it's hard to resist), but just know that it's kind of difficult and a pain in the butt and people will buy you tons of cute outfits even without them being on the registry.

6. Ask for a couple big-ticket items.
Hell, ask for ALL the big ticket items. You'll often have groups of people who want to go in on a gift together, and they usually do that by chipping in to get one larger thing. And even if you don't, have you heard of this little thing called the "completion discount"? All major retailers - even Amazon - send you a completion coupon that lets you get 10-20% off of everything on your registry that wasn't purchased already.  It's a way to save some big bucks!

So go forth, young buck (doe?), and get nice and acquainted with that gun they give you to register with. No, not in that way, you dirty, dirty girl!  I hope you're sanitizing it before you return it. Tsk, tsk.

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