Weekly Round-Up: The Claw Strikes Back Edition

Is this worth $12??

Well so much for my lecturing about the gigantic waste of money otherwise known as the claw grabber vending machine.

We were barely two feet in the grocery store this week (coming in strategically via the entrance furthest from that thrice-cursed claw) when M started up with “Mom, I’m only going to spend fifty cents on the game this time.”

T chimed in that he’d need $1. I guess experience had already taught him that one try (50 cents) was not enough.

While I was in the check-out line, they went off to play. M was back within two minutes. “I need another fifty cents. Just fifty cents more. No more than that.”

Handing the money over, I shared with the check-out guy how much I hated the machine and what a waste of money it was. “I know,” he said. “I’ve tried it twice already. I think the secret is to grab the head.”

“No, no,” said the guy behind me in the line. “It’s all about the feet.  They get stuck in the pile of toys, so you’ve got to grab them by the feet.” Hmm, clearly this thing holds an attraction for the male species which I’m unable to understand.

The boys came back for more money which I handed over with a resigned sign.

Groceries bagged and paid for, I headed over to join them. There was one toy perched precariously close to the chute that would allow the boys to win it.

“You’ve spent $1.50 each,” I announced. “And you spent $8.00 between you last week.”

They quickly agreed that they would try “one last time” and would each contribute twenty five cents. Quick negotiation on who would push the button and who would operate the lever and they were off on the next attempt. So close!! But no luck.

The boys both threw in another twenty five cents. “You’re at $2.00 each,” I said. “I’m taking it out of your FamZoo accounts now.” But they were intensely focused on their mission. The button was pushed, the lever negotiated and, unbelievably, they won!

The guy who had stood behind me in the line was nearby and noticed. He called out to the check-out guy, “They won!” A guy who had just walked in the door congratulated them. General cheering from all sides. Happy small and big boys all around.

How was I supposed to counteract that with a sensible lesson on money?

Claw 1 Mommy 0

Here are five of the most interesting articles I’ve found this week:

  • Money Saving Lesson BackFires On Kids – have you checked the fineprint on your children’s bank accounts lately? This mom wishes she did. Turns out bank fees kicked in after the first year and ate up almost all her children’s savings. If you already have accounts, double check your bank statements. If you’re about to open an account, make sure you understand if and when fees will be assessed. Note the statement in the article saying that banks are not required to explain fees to customers.  They only have to explain them when you ask!
  • Kids & Money:  Just What Your Graduate Wants … Another Gift Card – with graduation season in full swing, you might have a lot more gift cards in your house. This article helps you make sure you get full value for them with some handy tips about use-by dates, fees and how to trade the ones you don’t want to use.
  • Paying Children For Good Grades – still on the subject of school, what’s your position on paying kids for good grades? Flexo over at Consumerism Commentary has a great discussion going on in the comments to his post on this topic. Glad to see he’s included a link to “Drive” by Daniel Pink which is a great read on understanding what motivates kids and adults.
  • Developing Children Charity Champions – a lot of parents are keen to develop the habit of Sharing in their children, hence the popularity of the Spending-Saving-Sharing allowance approach. This article gives some suggestions on how you can turn your children into charity champions. I particularly like the idea of family volunteering.
  • Lemon Aid: Children Help Joplin One Drink At A Time – and to see some charity champions in action, see this sweet story about some kids who wanted to help tornado-ravaged Joplin. There’s definitely a great mom there, inspiring and aiding this.



3 Responses to Weekly Round-Up: The Claw Strikes Back Edition

  1. Julie Mozena says:

    Lol! great blow by blow on the claw. Maybe you can think of it as early training in being stockbrokers – it’s all betting and gambling isn’t it?

    • Suzanne says:

      And now you’ve just made me realize why I loathe it so much! I don’t get the lure of gambling. The deck is stacked against you. The boys continue to be super excited about having won Star Raptor (as they’ve named him). I’ve given up all attempts to use this as a lesson! Unless it’s a lesson for me to enjoy their feeling of success.

  2. […] as I share how happy I was to hear seven year old M tell his babysitter the other evening that the stuffie he won from the cursed Claw Machine cost $12.  “And it wasn’t worth […]

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