Monday, May 31, 2010

Baby buying brings big benefits

Despite what you may have heard, my wife and I did not, in fact, steal a total stranger’s baby. Certainly we thought about it, but we did not go through with it.

It all started when we were sitting in church. As is often the case, it was a little boring. I was easily distracted by a little baby girl who was sitting a few rows in front of us who kept giving us adorable toothless smiles. Her mother was keeping her quiet by cramming Ritz crackers into her mouth like CDs into a CD player.

She was easily the cutest baby that I had ever seen (sorry relatives). I can say with great certainty that she was abnormally cute because I am NOT a baby person. I don’t like them, as a rule. I am not generally interested in anything that cries, poops and vomits as much as babies do. Even so, I found myself very enamored with this baby. I thought it was just me, but I looked over at my wife and she was a puddle.

Of course, when faced with such cuteness we immediately started to think that we needed a baby. At first we thought about just stealing her. Her mom was always leaving her unattended and she was in a stroller so we could’ve just wheeled her home.

Next, we thought about making a baby, but that seemed like an awful lot of work. We consulted my pregnant cousin and she confirmed that it is, in fact, an awful lot of work.

The obvious alternative is to buy a baby. That could mean adopting if we want to be scrupulous, or the black market if we feel a little less scrupulous, want to save a little cash and avoid all the legal red tape.

In college I had a friend who majored in business and I remembered him talking about a “build versus buy” analysis, which is used to determine whether it is more profitable to build something from scratch or purchase it “off the shelf.”

I went to a business website and found some questions that help a business determine whether to build or buy and answered them in the context of a baby.

Q: Is your development staff large and skilled enough in the technology and standards to build in-house?
A: Yes. I passed health class and I think we have the right equipment.

Q: Are your resources best spent developing a homegrown product?
A: No. We’d rather spend those nine months relaxing, reading books and watching The Office.

Q: Is the business need unique?
A: No. Lots of people want babies and lots of young couples have baby fever.

Q: Do any off-the-shelf products exist for this business function?
A: Yes. There are babies all over the place.

Q: Can the off-the-shelf product perform the same functions as a custom, in-house build?
A: Yes. One baby is as good as the next, right?

Q: Does an off-the-shelf product cost the same or less than building you own?
A: Yes. I figure the cost of buying a baby is roughly equivalent to the cost of buying the weird food that pregnant women crave and medical bills.

So it would seem, after this analysis, that “buying” is our best option, but after much thought and consideration we have decided to wait a while.

(We want to save up and get a really awesome baby.)