Today I evoked the utmost empathy from a fellow parent:
Let’s just take a step back though. Let me paint you a picture.
I hate shopping. I hate all kinds of shopping. Grocery shopping. Clothes shopping (the worst). Gift shopping. Souvenir shopping. Anything to do with shopping. In theory, I should be unbelievably wealthy – but there’s a little thing called online shopping which keeps the spawnlings at bay, and our bank accounts empty. *Go back in your corner, LEGO*
But I also love food. Chocolate particularly. And we had none in the Lair. Absolutely none. Bloody travesty, right there.
So I made the mistake of ducking into the local shopping centre with Zaltu to pick up some goodies. Especially since Sinister had just competed in his first Eisteddfod, and Nefarious has avoided making fellow classmates cry for the last 2 weeks – rewarding with food seemed totally legit.
Except for the damn shopping centre. When you are a regular adult minion, you walk around the standard shopping centre and see it like this:
- Notice the clear pathways between shops.
- Notice the direct routes you can take from carpark to whichever merchant has attracted your attention today.
- See the politely placed “floating vendors” along the walkways.
- Even the food court seems neatly balanced, with space to mosey-on around at your leisure.
This seems in theory to be a beautiful laid-out shopping centre, specifically designed for your shopping pleasure.
This is what it really looks like to any parent with young children:
Do you see those bright red stars on the map?
They are “Shopping Centre Rides”.
Or at least, that is their ‘polite name’.
I prefer to call these “Shopping Centre Landmines”, strategically placed around shopping centres to attract young children and elicit the most epic of melt-downs. And just when you think you have avoided the Peppa Pig Space Shuttle – BAM! There’s Thomas the Tank Engine with his creepy smile and alluring whistle. Damn, I hate those guys.
Today’s culprit was the Hot Wheels car outside Woolworths (picking up chocolate, remember?). I had put it off as we walked in, but ended up caving to Zaltu’s demands on the way out. Don’t judge me – it’s not like YOU have never negotiated with terrorists.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m as tight as a Fish when it comes to money at the moment (read: family escape holiday soon), so I didn’t put any money in it. That didn’t help – she was transfixed. And this one was smart.
Normally, if it has a screen the screen will show part of the ride and then flick to a title shot before looping back again. But not this one. This was on a continuous loop, with no clear break – the car on the screen just kept driving around the damn track. And when I said time to go, Zaltu merely asked to stay to watch the finish.
But the damn thing never finishes. NEVER.
I ended up picking her up (and the groceries) and hauling her cute terror butt out of the ride towards the lifts.
At which point this sweet dad gave me the “I understand” look. And glanced down to his matching 2yo spawnling.
WHO HAD A BLINDFOLD ON HIM, WHILE DAD WAS WALKING HIM OUT THE SHOPPING CENTRE.
And that, my minions, is how you beat the damn Shopping Centre at their vicious game.