Welcome to the world of baby swap meets

Does anybody remember the movie, Best in Show? It was a mockumentary about people involved in travelling around and showing dogs on a professional circuit. It was hilarious in its mocking way of looking at the world of dogs and their owners. Today, the world of dog shows and baby swap meets crossed for us.

We try to make every Saturday a family fun adventure day. We go somewhere we haven’t gone before or somewhere that has the potential to be fun. Granville Island, Mt Seymour, Steveston, Kerrisdale, Drummond Drive, UBC and Coquitlam Centre are some of the places we have visited. Today we chose a rather utilitarian place to visit, a baby swap meet. Ah yeah, I didn’t know such a thing existed either.  GPS destination set for Cloverdale, BC.

Of course us being the kind of people who like to scan the instructions or directions, we didn’t really take a good look at where the baby swap meet would be held. Seeing Cloverdale, we headed out to the Cloverdale Fairgrounds. And there, our world collided with the world of show dogs.

Inside the first building we entered were dozens of dogs being groomed with hair blow-dryers, baby powder, whiptail combs and every other weird thing you can imagine. It was seriously like being on set for the movie “Best in Show.” Awesome. But not the baby swap meet we were anticipating.

Confounded, we leave, driving south on 176th when Wifey spots the sign, Baby Swap Meet today! Hard left turn, park the car amongst the telltale lot full of mommy vans and enter the fray.

At the door we are asked to pay $3 each. The woman at the door leans in close to me and whispers, “I wouldn’t make you pay except they’re watching me.” At that she nods over her left shoulder. I look over her shoulder and she reaches out with a wizened hand and hisses, “DON”T LOOK.” I don’t look. I hand over the toonies clutched in my hand and slowly edge past the woman to enter the swap.

And what a spectacle. Everything baby related was there and for sale. Tables stacked with Rubbermaid bins full of clothing and toys. Car seats and baby bouncers, walkers and swings. Everything you can imagine a baby might need or want was there and for sale. It was like a primary colours festival.

At one table there was an assortment of toys for sale. We saw one exersaucer like the ones that we bought off Craigslist. When we asked how much the young lady replied, “$50. Do you want it?” We answered that we already had two of them that we bought off Craigslist for $25 each. In hindsight, that might have been a bit mean as it really did seem to crush her spirit. Another table had a weird looking thing like the PNE game Wack-a-mole. We thought it was clever and asked how much. She said, “Shit, I’ll pay you to take that thing away. It is possibly the most annoying thing we have ever owned.” Just to be kind we gave her a dollar and brought it home. After having it in our house for fifteen minutes, we were basically ready to give it away.

Because we arrived quite late in the day for t the show, everything was pretty well picked over. Most of the clothing was seriously stained or mismatched or just plain ugly. Prices were slashed from $4 an outfit to $1. We overheard one woman saying, “Look, just give me twenty-five bucks and you can have the entire table.” We didn’t stick around to see if the potential buyer accepted that offer or not.

Even as we were browsing tables though people were packing them up and loading them back in their Rubbermaid containers. The more organized had handcarts to load their wares on. One poor fella was loading his cardboard boxes onto a pretty crappy looking dolly and I couldn’t help but wince as I watched the bottom box collapse sending the upper three boxes spilling baby clothes onto the wet and muddy parking lot. People all around pointedly looked away and you could feel the pain as this poor emasculated male bent over to begin picking up now soiled and unsold baby clothes.

And speaking of the people. Sleep deprived fathers staggering around looking distracted. Some, like me with a baby strapped to their chests. Others just standing in corners like scared animals with a stroller parked nearby. Others sitting, trapped beside theirs wives who proudly wear their “vendor” sticker.

The women though. Distinctly two groups were in evidence. The first group are the mothers who have returned their bodies to dating shape and seem to be quite proud of it. The other group, well, they didn’t get their shape back and…well, lots of sweat pants in evidence. And oddly enough, lots of cleavage showing from this group as well. I saw more of one woman’s breasts than I have of my own wife’s. And sadly, I can never “unsee” what I saw today. My eyes still burn.

What a wonderfully weird world we have entered. I see so much potential for a mockumentary movie along the lines of “Best in Show.” Fabulous. Hopefully we will see you at the Coquitlam baby swap meet on February 7th.

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