RJ and I have had our hearts set on getting the Chicco Cortina - Explorer Travel System for our Raya. We really did our homework, comparing features and specs from different infant websites and parent reviews because we wanted to get the best, most reasonable ride for her. We think that a Travel System will be one of her most-used accessories for her first two years (at least) so we were willing to make the investment.
So as earnest parents-to-be, we looked around and canvassed for the model in baby stores and found that Rustan's carried it. But it cost a whopping 20k (buying it online would only cost around 13k, without shipping costs)!
So we decided to ask relatives in the U.S. to try and purchase it for us and send it back home. We estimated that doing that would still save us around 2000 bucks at least. We got lucky when we learned that our Ninang Lizza was headed to the States for a couple of weeks so we ordered the stroller from her.
But suddenly, all the baby stores in the U.S. were out of Chicco! And even buying it online wasn't an option because there was now a "back order" for the particular model.
We were naturally disappointed! How could this perfect, "No. 1-rated Travel System" run out of stock?! Was it that in-demand that the supply couldn't keep up? RJ thought that a competing manufacturer may be behind it and that its disappearance from sales floors was part of an elaborate plan to sabotage the Chicco brand. Hehe. Cute. But the more practical Mommy Vkyh suggested that the line may have been among some baby items recalled from the market due to manufacturing defects, as she had heard.
So RJ asked me to google "Chicco out of stock" and lo and behold was an official press release from Chicco saying that they had indeed recalled some car seat bases that were part of their KeyFit, KeyFit 30 and Cortina Travel Systems. They said that they had reason to believe that some car seat bases manufactured between February and March 2008 may be defective. At least sa States, inaamin nila kung defective diba? We can only wish for the same sense of accountability here.
So Mom was right after all and it was back to the drawing board for RJ and me.
But we're happy now because we have since then settled for two new options for Raya. Since we really wanna get a travel system for her because it would be more economical (like hitting three birds with one stone) than getting the Buggy, Carrier and Car Seat separately, we've chosen the next-best brand in the market (in our opinion at least, hehe) and they're actually cheaper too. The only downside I think is the design. The Chicco's is sleeker and more sophisticated, not to mention "gender-neutral" so there would be no problem handing it down. The Graco designs are just downright sappy (we find the first one too futuristic, the other, sickeningly sweet) but hey, if the features deliver I guess the aesthetics would have to take a backseat. :) Now, we just have to keep our fingers crossed and hope that our dear cousin, Joy finds them and brings them home to Momma!
Ladies and gentlemen, here are the runners-up:
1. Graco Quattro Tour Deluxe Travel System in Milano (damage: around 240$)
2. Grace Metrolite Travel System in Cherry Blossom (damage: around 230$)
Can't wait for Raya to ride either one! :)
Incidentally, thanks to Mom and Dad for "advance gifting" this to us. This was their pledge during the baby shower, among other necessities for the little one. :)