Have you noticed the emergence of online enclaves, almost entirely populated by women? I’m talking about forum groups and Facebook pages run by and for women who are all fixated on the same thing. That one thing might be baby carriers or prams or a certain brand of baby bags. It might be strollers or couture cloth nappies. All of these things have intense second hand markets and some hold their value better than you might think.
However, I have to admit it was with some bafflement that I entered the world of the Bonds obsession. I’ve been loitering around the buy and sell pages on Facebook for a couple of months now trying to figure out the fascination. Yes, I’m talking Bonds- the Australian owned brand that moved its production overseas a few years back, costing hundreds of Australian jobs, that still faces criticism over how their overseas factories operate.
I haven’t actually bought a single item. I just can’t bring myself to. Ethical considerations aside for a moment- I don’t actually mind Bonds clothes- I just don’t like Bonds clothes enough to pay close to or sometimes well above retail for pre-loved baby and toddler gear. I figure that that’s okay, because it’s not all buy and sell. There is photo sharing (think stash shots featuring wardrobes full of onesies or cute babies modelling their Mum’s latest acquisition), random giveaways between mums, discussion and surprisingly heated debates.
I’ve watched in fascination as people debate whether or not blue patterned suits should be put on girl babies, or whether or not floral suits should adorn baby boys. No one has yet been able to explain to me what they think will happen if a boy wears floral (Will his willy fall off?) or if a girl wears blue but what they can tell me is they are damn passionate either way. Apparently, someone assuming your baby is one gender, when they are the other, is potentially catastrophic. Unless you are on the other side of the fence. Then you don’t care and say so (Disclaimer: this would be me.)
Pricing is also a hot topic. Some people think it’s totally fine to sell a used baby onesie for 40 bucks or even more if there are people are willing to pay it (there are); other people see red at the very thought and can’t help but say so. It never ends well.
This week, the Bonds pages (yes, there are multiple pages) have been all aflutter about a sale at Aldi stores where one could bag a onesie for a cool 10 bucks. The minute Aldi stores opened their doors, the posts began. Women were posting photos of piles of Wondersuits at the checkouts- some were randomly grabbing suits in many sizes- and not to keep their babies in the same printed suit from birth to preschool, either.
Judging purely from all the furious comments that clogged my news feed, I’m given to understand that some mothers dragged their children out in the early hours in the midst of the “arctic vortex” and trudged to the nearest Aldi.
When they arrived, they stood in line, bravely waiting until the shutters lifted. Once the automatic doors slid open, these mothers reportedly stampeded to the aisles where all that stuff that isn’t food is stocked and pushed over everyone in their way, including pregnant women, the elderly, the infirm and probably staff members. Once at the Bonds display, they pounced on any and all available suits, regardless of size. The Bonds dinosaur pattern and the unicorn were the most sought after, with packets being torn from the hands of other shoppers and whisked to the front counter quicker than you could say “It’s just a Wondersuit” so that they could take a photo of their purchases to post online before whipping off to the next Aldi store to repeat the process and fight other shoppers to the death for any remaining Bonds suits that survived the initial stampedes.
After their epic struggles to bag a $10 zippy suit or two (or 3… or 4… or 5….) , some jumped online to pass their bargains on at cost price to those who couldn’t get to an Aldi store. However, others were in it for the profit, trying to on-sell their goodies for $20, $30 or even $50 a suit. Then the rants started. Caps lock buttons everywhere went into overdrive. Words like dog, mole and bitch were suddenly more prevalent in certain Facebook groups than in an entire season of Puberty Blues. Accusations of greed were flung far and wide, especially when a few entrepreneurial souls skipped the Facebook pages and went straight to eBay. I saw suits purchased for $10 listed for double, triple and quadruple that price both on the Facebook pages and on eBay.
Look, I can honestly say that I never notice the brand of suit anyone’s baby or toddler might be wearing. I’ve never even noticed the brand when stuffing my own kids into one. I somehow doubt babies and kids notice what brands they wear, either. I have to admit… watching the whole Bonds/Aldi Saga unfold, I felt a certain kind of scared. You know, the laughing and nodding…and slowly backing away kinda scared.
I have to admit it, I’m just not committed enough to be be your Basic Bonds Mum!
How about you?
#FYBF @ With Some Grace