Wednesday, April 1st, 2009
How Not to Teach Children about Gambling
A recent post at Poop and Boogies jogged my memory about a development at our local Round Table Pizza.
Remember pizza parlors? Unfortunately, a dying industry. We have handful within several hundred square miles, most of them Round Tables.
Anyhow, when my daughter was 3-years-old she attended a birthday party at the parlor and she played one round of a car racing arcade game. She never forgot it. A year later, sometime in the last few months on another visit I gave in and plunked in 3 quarters so she could play once more. That’s my rule. One game per visit.
But then, most recently with her friend present, I had two jumping kids insisting that I could be their hero if I would just hand over quarters so they could play a claw vending machine.
You know… use a joystick to maneuver a crane-like claw that then drops and tries to pick up a prize from a mass grave of stuffed animals. Except, 9 times out of 10 the claw will drop ham-fisted onto the animals and then raise up like a limp noodle, never really attempting to clutch anything.
It’s essentially gambling. The smart approach is to watch other fools lose their money with several claw attempts, then give it a try yourself. Except, on this particular day I was the only father gullible enough to give in to excited, jumping kids.
The kids didn’t even know how the claw machine worked, so I explained it to them. My master plan was to demonstrate the value exchange that occurs with money. You could enjoy 90 seconds of insane giggles as you slam your car continuously into a guard rail, sparks flying, as Dad sits on the floor and holds down the gas pedal for you.
You could spend 15 seconds pushing a joystick, 5 seconds watching a claw lower and rise, and then realize you’ve unwisely spent your money.
Step 1. Before we even begin, my daughter sticks her hand in the prize chute and pulls out a pink Beanie Baby bear that was just sitting there unclaimed. @#$%^&*!
Step 2. Her friend operates the claw to no avail. His 50 cents are gone. I mean, my 50 cents are gone.
Step 3. On my daughter’s turn she barely moves the joystick, not understanding how it works. The claw drops after the machine’s time limit is reached, and the claw deposits a second Beanie Baby in the prize chute. @#$%^&*!
One bright moment is realized when she takes less than a second to shove the second Beanie Baby into her friend’s hand because she already “won” one.
Okay kids, so what did we learn? Gambling never pays.
No, uh, a fool and his money are soon parted? Daddy is a sucker?
By the way, Groovy Girl doll outfits totally fit Beanie Babies. My daughter is calling this guy Rosey despite the Don Johnson Miami Vice outfit she picked for him.
P.S. I apologize for the crotch shot. I just noticed.