|One part of the grab-bag of toys purchased off Marktplaats|
Despite that, we've managed to keep our spending on baby things to less than €1000 so far, which is no small thing when a stroller can easily run to €800 (and that, believe it or not, isn't even a "top of the line" model) and a single baby jacket costs more than what I spend on my own clothes in a year. I don't think parents shop at those stores--I think those stores mostly cater to people whose friends/family are having children and they want to get something nice for the new arrival. I've gone there myself, to buy "new arrival" presents for friends--it's always nice to get nice things for friends, but when you realize you're going to need several different outfits a day in case the poop is not contained, you start looking for cheap things, fast. My main tactic for getting stuff on the cheap involves hitting the thrift stores and scouring Marktplaats.
Marktplaats has been especially interesting. It's less sketchy than the Amsterdam craiglist, and while some bids and some emails go ignored, most of the time you get what you want, at a good price. You can do searches by price range, condition of the stuff you want to buy, distance from where you live, and other categories as well. Ad views give you some idea of how popular some items are, and how quickly you should move to snap up a good deal. Most sellers include pictures of their stuff. You can place bids for things if the item is open for bidding; I usually offer a bit more than the requested price anyway, because we don't have a car, to compensate for shipping or driving the item to our place. I've had a few emails go ignored, but by and large most sellers are eager to move stuff out and can't wait to get rid of it.
Why am I willing to buy so much stuff secondhand? See, the way I figure it, most of us don't remember half of the stuff we had as kids. There might be a special toy we remember, or a particularly cute (or hideous) outfit, but by and large we don't remember the stuff. We remember what we did, the games we played, the time spent at the zoo, "helping" to make dinner, getting a new kitten, stuff like that. I very much doubt that the Little It is going to know or care that his clothes are secondhand. No, he's going to be too disoriented about being evicted, and it'll be much later before he'll know the difference.
There's a lot of advertising, even in the Netherlands, for baby stuff--most of which I'm thankfully immune to, since I just don't process Dutch the way I do English. We've been getting a flyer for the Babypark for a while--and I gotta admit, I am curious to see the store (but then again, I've always been a fan of IKEA and similar stores). We're inundated with all these messages that if we don't have the right stuff or do everything the right way, our kids are going to turn out scarred for life, permanently-damaged tragic figures that go on to become drunks or serial killers. I just don't buy it. The iPhone only seems like it's been around forever.