I like a fair and balanced approach. Previously, I’d looked at the pros of cheap cloth diapers. There are also plenty of cons.
I have no objection to using China Cheapies when buying cloth diapers. You use what you can afford and do the best that you can. AlvaBaby and Sunbaby diapers are great for what they cost, but you really are getting what you pay for. It’s that whole “getting what you pay for” thing that really, really irritates me when I see AlvaBaby diapers rebranded with other labels. (I’m not going to name names; Heather at the Parenting Patch already did that, and did it well.)
It seems like at least once a week, I find a rebranded Alva diaper marked up on a “deal” site for the low, low price of $12 USD, on sale from the usual price of $22. That’s more than a 400% mark up. That’s just a little excessive. Yes, there are benefits to buying rebranded China Cheapies from an American or Canadian store. You don’t have to deal with China directly and try to make your way through Google Translator emails and web sites. You don’t have to deal with customs (unless you’re Canadian ordering from an American discount site, of course). You don’t have to wait so long to get your package that your time for filing a PayPal dispute for non-receipt of product has expired.
I liken it to buying pop at the gas station on the corner versus buying it at the grocery store. You’re paying a hefty premium for convenience. It’s just a matter of deciding how much you’re willing to pay for that convenience. Me, I’m cheap. I hate to pay for that convenience, myself, and if I have to make a quick stop at the gas station to pick up a pop to take to the in-laws’ for dinner (I drink Coke Zero and carry it everywhere) instead of having one cold and ready in the refrigerator, I get annoyed with myself for poor planning.
There’s another reason why I get annoyed with that 400% mark up. You’re not getting the quality of a $22 diaper. I’ve been called a cloth diaper snob for the belief that you get what you pay for when purchasing cloth diapers, and premium brands are premium for a reason. You know what I can get for $22 or less at Cozy Bums, my local cloth diaper store? I can get any of the following: Fuzzi Bunz Elite with two inserts, BumGenius 4.0 with two inserts, a Baby Kanga and a separate insert, a Flip cover with one stay dry insert, a Happy Heinys pocket diaper with two inserts, a Charlie Banana pocket diaper with two inserts, and probably some others that I hadn’t looked at. In two minutes, I found half a dozen premium options for the price of one outrageously marked up China Cheapie. And since I’m buying them at a local store, I really am supporting my local economy.
Keep in mind that these are Canadian prices. In the States, I can get a Rumparooz for $23 USD. I’d cheerfully pay a dollar more for a Rumparooz or a Blueberry diaper instead of getting a $22 China Cheapie.
This just irritates me so much because I see it as taking advantage of moms who want to start using cloth diapers, but don’t know better. I love supporting WAHM businesses, but I don’t love supporting ones that would rip another mom off. I also don’t love that some moms get so frustrated with the quality of their cheap cloth diapers that they just give up.