Column – Golden bucket offers lesson for parents when shopping

Published 7:58 pm Friday, January 13, 2023

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By Nathan Rice

We were picking up a few items at Walmart when a stack of small, golden-colored buckets caught Timothy’s eyes. “Look! A golden bucket,” he said. “That’s neat,” I replied as I remained on the mission of getting what we needed. Timothy’s eyes strained to maintain contact with the golden bucket. I placed an item in the cart as Timothy asked if we could look at the object that caught his eye.

We stopped to examine the small, golden bucket for a moment before heading toward the next item on our list.

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“Can we get it,” he asked.

“What are you going to do with a bucket,” I asked.

“I don’t know,” he said, “I’ll keep stuff in it. Who else do you know who has a golden bucket?”

“Let’s just get what we came in to get,” I said as we walked toward the next item on our list.

Timothy was quiet as we placed our final item in the cart and began walking toward the checkout. His voice sounded hesitant to speak, but he asked, “Before we go, do you think we could get the bucket? Please? It’s only one dollar.”

I’m not sure if it was the polite tone of voice or the fact that he hadn’t forgotten about that small, golden bucket, but I relented on my initial answer of no. We walked to the aisle, and Timothy grabbed the one-dollar bucket.

I questioned my decision immediately. Did I let him talk me into grabbing an unneeded item? Should I have stood firm in not spending money on something he may not even use that much? Did I make the right decision?

Those who have gone shopping with children of any age know that there is always something that they will want inside the store. You would have an entire Walmart inside your home if you said yes to their every request. You can’t buy them everything they want, and you shouldn’t buy them something each time they ask.

However, there are times when it is okay to give them their request. This was a small item, it was one dollar, and he didn’t forget about it as soon as we walked by the aisle. He had been well-behaved, hadn’t asked for anything else recently, and didn’t get upset when I said no to his initial request.

Sometimes we get so much into the habit of saying no that we don’t even pause to see what they are asking. We don’t consider the item’s size, price, or if it is something they will use. We say no without even looking at what they want.

We should not buy children every item for which they ask. It spoils them, teaches them bad habits, creates clutter in the house, and breaks the bank. However, sometimes – every once in a while – it’s okay to say yes.

Has the bucket been used much? No, but it does still sit on his dresser. Am I glad that I changed my initial answer and purchased the bucket? Yes.