First World Problems: The stolen stroller epidemic

Laura Donovan Contributor
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Ladies and gentlemen, the mother of all First World problems has arrived.

Over the weekend, Elissa Gootman of the New York Times exposed a “bourgeois” nuisance that has gone under the radar for far too long.

In “The Stolen Stroller: An Urban Bourgeois Problem?“, Gootman wrote of the travails of having her $400 stroller snatched away by low-life thieves.

“[The] call came in at 12:55 p.m.: My stroller had been stolen,” Gootman wrote. “Yes, it was left outside, on a not-so-quiet street in Brooklyn. No, it was not locked up. Yes, I am fully aware of the fraught nature of complaining about the loss of a $400 stroller, one that epitomized privilege, and all that is loathsome about urban bourgeois parenting to begin with.”

When Gootman turned to the New York Police Department for help, she was given a reality check from a spokesperson who said, “We don’t have a Stolen Stroller Squad.” Brutal.

The Internet almost immediately erupted with rage against Gootman’s complaints, calling her irresponsible, whiny, and pampered. (‘Sex and the City’ author visits ‘exciting’ D.C., says Selena Gomez could be good fit for prequel films)

“I am sorry to say that I can’t find any sympathy for someone who spends $400 on a stroller and then leaves it outside to be stolen,” wrote one commentator.

“Who spends that much money on a stroller and leaves it unlocked on a street?” wrote another commenter. “I don’t mean to be unsympathetic, but that’s plain dumb. How long have you lived in Brooklyn?”

But there’s more to the poached stroller issue than meets the eye, says parenting blogger Catherine Connors, who is moving to the Big Apple later this year.

“Nobody deserves to have anything stolen ever regardless of what it is,” Connors told The Daily Caller. “There’s a story about things being stolen, there’s a suggestion that maybe something deserves to be stolen because it’s an expensive item. That strikes me as absurd because if somebody had their MacBook Pro stolen, people shouldn’t just say, ‘Well that’s what you get for not just having a Netbook.'”

Connors, who read the NYT piece, said the backlash against Gootman stems from “anti-mom sentiment.”

“That came out in the Jezebel reaction, which turned it around and asked, ‘Does anybody really need these things? You can’t really feel sorry for someone who has their flashy stroller stolen because who needs a flashy stroller anyway?'” Connors said.

Connors, who has lived in the city and on the countryside, can name several benefits to having a pricey stroller, especially for active parents who do a great deal of walking with their kids.

“We have a double Chariot jogging stroller with all the bells and whistles that ran us upwards of $1,000,” Connors said of her own stroller, which she bought in part because of its high resale value.

One of Connors’s old strollers, which was discounted at around $300, lasted a long time, performed a myriad of duties, and remained sturdy and durable for outdoorsy excursions.

“It had shock absorption, it had altering tires,” Connors said. “We lived near a high park in Toronto and I knew I was going to be doing lots of walking on dirt trails. It had a big carrying basket and I don’t drive…This was going to be my all-purpose baby vehicle, so we wanted to get the best stroller we could afford.”

Though she lives in a “sleepy quiet town,” Connors and her family keep a close watch on the versatile stroller and chain it up at night. While Connors believes everyone is human and becomes the victim of ruthless thieves at some point, she takes care of her things.

“I would keep it inside the house, but the stroller is too big,” Connors said. “We have lived in the city and village country side and in city I heard about it all the time, about people having strollers stolen off their front porches and we always kept our stroller from our first child inside the house for that reason…We still lock it out of habit and I wouldn’t leave a $1,000 computer on the front porch unattended, and I guess I have the same reaction to leaving a $1,000 stroller on the front porch.”

In a response blog post to Gootman’s article, Erin Gloria Ryan of Jezebel half-halfheartedly agreed that it’s no fun to have anything stolen, “Getting [expletive] stolen from you sucks, especially when you realize that you maybe didn’t need to have such an expensive thing in the first place.”

Ryan added that Gootman should be thankful that the stroller bandits didn’t take the baby as well.

“She should thank her lucky stars that her stroller was stolen when she and her baby were safely indoors rather than strollerjacked by a baby from the wrong side of the tracks while they were on a walk,” Ryan wrote. “Your $400 stroller’s safety features (airbags and a navigation system and heated leather seats and the like, I’d imagine, for that price) can’t protect you now.”

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