Dum dum de dum,
Mothers of small children, avert your eyes from what you about to be assaulted with.
Shopping centre rides. In all their gaudy, colorful, covetable glory. They look innocent and friendly, don’t they? Don’t be so easily fooled.
How I hate them.
Our local shops has a total of six coin operated rides. Four different cars and two carousels, cunningly interspersed between the Woolies and the green grocers at regular intervals to insure maximum nagging effectiveness.
If you don’t have small children, I doubt you even understand how prevalent these bleeping things are. I never got it, pre-children. I never remember going on one as a kid. I remember seeing them, but never sitting on one. Certainly never actually wasting money in them. And that was back in the day when rides were 20 cents, not two bucks. I guess my mum must have laid the rules down early, bless her sensible cotton socks.
If only I had been so sensible.
The novelty of them sucked me in at first. So cute, popping your one year old on a big plastic telephone with Jemima from PlaySchool and snapping a picture on your mobile phone, to send to your husband at work with a message saying “Aww- big boy!!”.
I didn’t put money in, of course. The ride actually moving would scare the little one or he’d fall off or something.
And besides, I didn’t want to start that habit. It’s OK to let the kids sit on them, but no coinage. You may even resort to using a parenting white lie- “If the lights are on, the machine’s not working”. Because the lights are always on on these things, flashing and sparkling. They remind me of poker machines. By the time your child is old enough to work out that you are, in fact, lying, they will be too big for the rides anyway, and way too cool, lest their friends from school see them. So everybody wins.
I took the path more commonly traveled.
In an endeavor to get five minutes peace in which to partake in a coffee and a donut with my mummy friends, we plonked our three toddler on a ride, lined up our coins on the table like we were at a seedy pool hall, and got gossiping. the kids went round and round and round, dazzled by the lights and the tinkly music (just like being at your local RSL!). It was mummy heaven.
We created a monster.
OK, that’s a slight exaggeration. The Chop is pretty darn good. But he does love his shopping centre rides, and will happily choose a ride over a donut, a coloring book, or a sheet of stickers. It’s just that now he knows that money makes the ride go round, sitting on one for a few seconds just ain’t good enough.
All of this, I can totally live with. $2 is a very small price to pay for a big smile and a well behaved little man at the shops. Even the lights and the noises, in the fashion of problem gambler chic, I can make my conscious ignore if I try really, really hard.
It’s the subliminal messages that bother me.
Have you noticed…? Next time you let your kids ride one of these things (if you happen to be a big sucker like me, and insert shrapnel on request) listen very closely to the droning, android voice that chimes in at the end of the ride, when the music’s finished. In all likelihood it is saying
“Maybe next time you come to the shops Mummy will let you have another ride!!”
Yes, really. Disturbing much?
I’m seriously considering starting a political party, or a petition,or a FaceBook group, or something hardcore like that. Shopping center rides are the devil incarnate, and they must be stopped.
Who’s with me?