Friday, October 7, 2011

The Hellish Tyranny of Motherhood Maternity

If you are or have been pregnant, you've been to this mind-numbing store. You walk in, are greeted by a friendly girl (who is 16 and never been pregnant) and you have to squeeze your blossoming abdomen through the narrow passages in the crowded store. You are offered water or orange juice. You're looking for pants. Success! They have your size. You need more than one pair though, so look further. Oh, there's only one color, one style. And they're over fifty bucks.

You go to buy your clothes, but that's not enough for them. They want your name, phone number, address, email address, facebook link. They want this to give you "free stuff" in the form of formula samples, diaper samples, photography coupons, breast pads, and more formula samples. When you politely decline to supply them with information that they sell for a profit, the receptionist pushes "What? You don't like free stuff?" You explain that you cloth diaper, you breastfeed, you don't need more junk mail and cold calls. They push one more time "Are you sure?" you decline again and now the cashier is angry with you. She doesn't talk politely anymore because she just missed her commission.

You get home. The clothes don't fit or aren't as flattering as you had hoped. But they circled the return policy and made you sign it. It can be summed up this way: There are no returns, no matter what.

Go ahead. Try and get away. Go to Pea in the Pod. Owned by Motherhood. Same clothes, twice as expensive. Go to JC Penny's. They only have one rack of Motherhood brand clothes. Macy's? Same thing. Target has a different line and Walmart has some stuff, but the selection is more limited and sizes are really, really limited. Old Navy maternity clothes (carried in roughly 5% of stores) is made to rip and fade before 9 months is up so that you have to buy new ones.

My best advice for those who are pregnant is this: don't wear clothes. It's the only way to ensure that you don't become a victim of the Motherhood Maternity store. You will never have a more unsatisfying shopping experience or feel more like a piece of meat rolling down a conveyor belt. You feel like you've been exploited, and you have.

There is no competition in the world of maternity clothes. For whatever reason, since all the major stores--Motherhood, Pea in the Pod, and Mimi--have all merged, no one else has thrown their hat into the ring. It's a shame. The clothes are overly expensive, frighteningly limited, and most of the time, just plain unattractive. Behind the glassy facade of pleasant hospitality, you are herded into giving up your personal information so that the store may profit more.

What is the solution here? Somebody, somewhere, give us a better way. Consignment is fine--though usually expensive--and still filled with Motherhood products. I would love to see some store with an ounce of sanity and empathy open up and provide a clothing option for the pregnant shopper that makes sense.

This doesn't seem to be the trend, though. So good luck out there, pregnant people!


Anonymous said...

Also, don't fall for the free restaurant certificate being offered at Motherhood Maternity. You will find that only a SELECL Few places will honor the certificates, so don't waste the time or money shopping there!

Mary said...

I'm FURIOUS with Motherhood Maternity. My mom didn't know any better and bought me pants there. When I went to exchange them for a different size, they wouldn't let me unless I gave them all of my personal info. Disgusting. They prey on pregnant women.