Friday, January 14, 2011

#6 SUV's

That's right. I said SUV's.

Now wipe that smug American smirk off your face because I'm talking about Strollers of Unusual Volume.

Living life for the first time without a car, I've developed a keen interest - okay covetous jealousy - of my Danish neighbors' automobiles. Every day brings new wonders to these American eyes. I've seen four adults get out of a Peugot the size of a small loveseat and been amazed that having no trunk doesn't seem to be a deterrent to European auto owners.

With all this novelty to distract me, it took a while to notice that something was missing from Copenhagen's landscape. The all-American sport utility vehicle!

Look Ma, no Suburbans!
I can literally count on one hand the number of sport utility vehicles I've seen - three Range Rovers and a Porche Cayenne that almost ran me over the other day. Oh well, at least if I'm going to be squashed like a pedestrian bug I'll go out with a luxurious bang.

But I digress.

Back to the real Danish SUV's. If sport utility vehicles are what America runs on then these mega-strollers are the Danish urban answer to the age old question of how to schelp your family and their stuff around town. Now put away all your silly notions of cheap plastic pieces of crap 'cause these ain't yo' mama's Gracos.

In these behemoths of the sidewalk, Danish children are protected from the elements, bundled into nests of blankets and waterproof coverings, and tethered to the stroller lest they try to escape. Underneath these mobile bedrooms is enough room to stow three mega boxes of diapers and a case of beer. Or eight bottles of Coke, two pillows and an orchid plant. All perfectly reasonable (and totally true) combinations.

Just like their American counterparts, you can plunk down some serious dough on these Danish SUV's. A quick check online and I discover a top of the line Odder (one of the brands used by Crown Princess Mary no less) runs roughly $1,700! Same goes for another popular brand, Emmaljunga. Don't even think about it unless you've got at least $1,000 burning a hole in your piggy bank. At least I can sleep at night knowing Danish parents aren't raiding their childrens' college savings accounts to buy these things since higher education is free here.

And despite such high-profile (royal!) usage, I also want to be clear that these are not just high-end strollers you have to go to some gentrified, hip neighborhood to find. They are used nearly universally by young and old alike - apparently they last forever and I occasionally see elderly women using them more like shopping carts. Did I mention they can hold anything?

So here I thought we splurged when we spent $300 on our son's Baby Jogger. I guess we'll have to reach a bit higher if we want to keep up with the Jensens here in Denmark...

Sizing up the competition