Shopping for a crib

So, for the past month our little boy has been sleeping in a suitcase. We’ve had nagging doubts about being poor parents, seeing as how we couldn’t provide a decent bed for our son. In reality he has been sleeping quite soundly atop his Thermarest pad laid inside the suitcase, topped by a blanket. We decided bringing a crib with us wasn’t necessary, as we assumed we could find a crib to our liking once we arrived.

We looked at four different department-type stores in search of a Pack ‘N Play style, portable crib. None of them, including Walmart, had portable cribs of any fashion at all. It seemed that only traditional wooden cribs were for sale in all of town. No one had even heard of Pack ‘N Play cribs. For us, however, the dilemma was whether a full size wooden crib would be practical, seeing as how we expected to be on the move in China over the next few years. Plus, some of the cribs were nowhere near up to safety standards from the States- you could fit a large grapefruit through the slats of some of them, pretty much obliterating the smaller-than-a-coke-can slat spacing regulation we expected.

Desperation started setting in as Leo started outgrowing his suitcase. It was already the biggest one we brought. We were about to fold and buy an expensive wooden crib when a classmate suggested we check out Toys ‘R Us. Nanjing has a Toys ‘R Us?? Yes, right in the central commercial area, in the expensive mall building. It turned out to be on the fifth floor of the mall, a few stories up from the Gucci and Dolce Gabbana stores, closer to the Nine West and Calvin Klein shops. Toys ‘R Us indeed had just the crib we wanted, and it turned out to be on sale too! Leo was thrilled to have a new sleeping place with some real space to stretch out.

Finding the crib was a success, but also a disappointment. Passing by all of the name-brand stores at the mall made one feel like 5th Avenue wasn’t so far away after all. This isn’t the China described by Mark Salzman, who was here just a few decades ago in search of kung fu mastery. It’s not even the Nanjing described to us by friends who lived here just a few years ago. We didn’t come here expecting to have all of the conveniences of life in the States available to us- some, but not all. Finding a Pack ‘N Play is nice, to be sure, but we didn’t expect it to come hand in hand with Milton Bradley games, Transformer toys, and Play-Doh. We wonder about expenses involved here beyond the cost of importing goods- having a neighborhood Toys ‘R Us inevitably supplants more original patterns of life and commerce here in Nanjing.

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1 Response to “Shopping for a crib”


  1. 1 Lydia S Lui March 16, 2008 at 5:15 pm

    It sounds like you’re really seeing the dramatic changes in life in China as a result of the opening of the Chinese market to outside forces!

    Just thinking that probably the transportation costs of “American goods” at Toys R Us, etc, would be negligible, seeing that almost all goods sold in the US come from China anyway. . .


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