Saturday, July 3, 2010

Defeated by the Double Snap-N-Go

As the twins get closer to making their arrival, I expect this site to shift to more personal narratives of panic and frustration.  I wish I didn't have one right now...

Liza Munday, in Everything Conceivable, says
[I]t's easy to see why parents were so grateful when in 2003 Baby Trend came out with a twins version of its popular Snap N Go, a lightweight frame onto which two car seats can be clipped, turning it into an instant, easily assembled twins stroller. The advent of the double Snap N Go meant twins parents no longer had to load the children out of the big bulky car seat and into a big bulky stroller that they had to lug along in the trunk whenever they went anywhere.
To acquire such a coveted object, we decided to be a bit savvy and get one used -- after all, twins parents only need them until their kids are out of the infant car seats, and unlike infant car seats, there's no real safety concern about the provenance of the item.

We advertised on our local twins group for anyone wanting to sell one and, in fact, found a seller offering one for less than half of what one would cost new.  I drove out about an hour out of my way (seemed reasonable for the savings involved) to pick it up.  The woman selling offered to throw in their car seats, but since we already had some, and hers were pretty old (there's that question of provenance), I declined.  In passing, she mentioned that she had trouble getting their Graco car seats to attach to the Snap N Go.  But I knew it was possible to attach Graco car seats to a Double Snap N Go, so I didn't worry too much about this woman's inferior mechanical skills.  (Inferior to my wife's, that is.)

I brought the stroller home, and we stored it in the nursery for a few weeks.  After all, we wouldn't be strolling with the kids until we bring them home from the hospital, so it doesn't have to be figured out until later in the process than, say, the car seats themselves.  But last night, since I was getting the car seats out of their boxes, I figured it would be a good time to make sure the stroller worked, especially since, unlike the car seats, it didn't require going outside.

The first thing I discovered was that simply placing the car seats on the stroller and hoping they snapped was not going to work.  Not even if I fussed with them for a minute.  At this point, Christina downloaded the manual for the Baby Trend 1305TW Double Snap N Go.  The manual had a handy chart showing how to attach the bars to accommodate the Graco seats, so I figured we were in business.  Wait...where were the bars?  There were no signs of the 1" bars required to attach the seats! 

Well, fortunately, Baby Trend has a parts hotline.  Also fortunately, they're located on the West Coast, so I had a hope of getting in touch with them before they left for their 3-day weekend.  My first attempt to call reached a stern warning that I needed to read them my model number, lot number and date of manufacture when someone picked up, followed by what appeared to be a disconnection.  Fortunately, Christina was able to locate the sticker with the information.  Wait a second, we had the 1304TW, manufactured in 2003.  Well, at least it might have some historical value, since it was one of the first ones ever manufactured.

Armed with this information, I called back.  A very helpful woman named Amanda confirmed that the 1304TW in fact could accept the Graco seats, as long as I had the right adapter bars.  She even offered to e-mail me the 1304TW so I could see what the bars looked like and whether they were on the stroller.  They weren't, but I could order an "A1 bar", which the manual said I need to attach the front seat.  The back seat?  That required a "D bar", which...tap tap tap...was out of stock.  And since the 1304TW was a discontinued model, it would never be in stock.

So now we have a double stroller which can only hold one child, at least in the car seats we have.  Fortunately, we had already scheduled a charity pickup for Monday, so we can at least get a tax deduction out of it.  And if I can't get one in-store pre-assembled, Amazon will deliver one to my door by Thursday if I order it by Tuesday.

I've now sworn off trying to save money on anything.