“We’re Registered at Babies ‘R’ Us.”

The advent of registering for baby shower gifts

It was not so long ago that the only people who “registered” for gifts were young engaged couples from upper class families. They had names like Baxter and Muffy, drove matching BMWs, and played tennis each Sunday with other members of their very exclusive country clubs. They registered at Neiman Marcus or Sak’s Fifth Avenue. For good or for bad, those days are long gone and now anyone can register at their nearest Target store.

The retail merchants of America, in their continuous quest to control he movements of as many of the green papers printed by the Federal Reserve as possible have taken the concept of gift registry to its next logical plateau and are now offering baby registry services.

The idea is a solid one as the idea of gift registry is to make sure that the recipients don’t wind up with multiples of the same item. If the idea of returning five blenders to five different stores after returning from a honeymoon sounds distasteful, imagine returning five layette sets to five retailers right after giving birth or, perhaps worse, while eight plus months pregnant and experiencing swollen ankles and the urge to run to the ladies’ room every five minutes. It’s not a pretty picture, is it?

Practically every store that sells baby clothing and baby related items offers baby registry today. To take advantage of the service the expectant mother needn’t leave the comfort of her home since nearly all of those offering the service will allow her to register online via the companies’ web sites.

A few of the notable merchants now offering this service are Babies ‘R’ Us, Wal-Mart, Kmart, and Target. If the concept of telling friends and family members that you’re “registered” at Target sounds silly to you, compare it to the concept of schlepping three or four diaper hampers across town and it starts to get a little more attractive.

Although motivated by purely selfish reasons, the merchants of America did a pretty good thing for their customers and clients when they instituted the idea of “baby registry” at their stores. By taking an already good idea and simply expanding upon it they managed to make their customer’s lives a little bit easier while taking steps to fatten their bottom lines by encouraging the sale of a few more articles of baby clothing, layettes, and plastic rattles. After all, it’s the American way.