Monkeying Around

Some people have “issues” about Wal-Mart and their hiring practices. Or is it their clothing production practices. You know, I’m not really sure what the issues are because I’m stuck in my own issues with Wal-Mart – the trap they set for me every time I walk in their door with two children.

“Mommy, Mommy, I want to ride the pink dinosaur, please, can I, please, Mommy because you said ‘no’ last time and now there it is and no one is on it and I really love the pink dinosaur…..”.

After many years, the day I’d prayed for finally arrived. My daughter outgrew the desire for the pink dinosaur ride. What a relief. That is, until Wal-Mart brought in vending machines – large “crane” vending machines packed with brightly colored stuffed toys.

In response to my “No, please, they are rigged and you’ll NEVER win, so now can we JUST get my cilantro…..”, she attempts to put into practice the “logic” her father has been teaching.

“Mom, you know that they have to give a prize every so often….”, or, “Mom, you know they can’t let EVERY ONE lose, or no one would ever try!”.

Finally, I got the Bright Idea. Let her try it! Let her use her own money and experience what it is like to get absolutely nothing in return. To watch with great hope as she aims the crane toward the toy of her heart, watching as it slips out of its grasp, her heart sinking as well. I was nearly rubbing my hands with joy at The Plan. Nothing like real experience for learning! Chalk off the 50-cents to a fairly inexpensive lesson! That’s the way to handle this!

My opportunity came on the next shopping trip. While I was zipping up her brother’s jacket, Sarah, consistent child that she is asked, “Mommy, may I please, please, please try THAT machine!! I can see there’s a purple monkey and I know I can get him! He’s sitting right in the open! It will be easy!”.

Oh, yes, I thought, this is good! I casually looked up, and announced, “Yes, you may try, but use your own money”. Excitedly she dug in her purse while I waxed wisdom about how she’d learn the machine was a one-armed bandit, and what looked to be deceivingly simple was really difficult and…

Clank. Spin. Clunk. Grrrrrr. In less than 60 seconds, she scooped up the purple monkey she’d successfully “won”, planted a big kiss on his chubby little monkey cheek and presented him to me, grinning ear-to-ear announcing, “I told you so”.

Just then her father walked up. “Every time I come here with her, I tell her ‘no’ – that it’s a waste of money”.

“Yes”, I slowly nodded. “And technically, I completely agree with you. I thought it was a good opportunity for a practical lesson in wasting money and how gambling never pays”.

“Good job”, he sighed.


  1. I love my monkey story and I love you.
    — Sarah    Apr 20, 02:08 AM    #
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