Blake’s Advice Column
I babysit my nieces and nephews. While we are grocery shopping and we get to the checkout, they’ll ask for candy or chips. If I tell them no, it’s usually because they have already had a treat, it’s too close to a meal or perhaps because they have misbehaved.
What do I do when the person behind me offers to buy it for them? I know they assume I refused because I don’t have the money, and they are trying to be helpful. Saying, “No, thank you,” just upsets the child when he or she knows someone wanted to buy them a treat. Any ideas?
From Reno, Nevada
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It’s obvious that the strangers offering some random kindness doesn’t know the reason why you rejected the children’s request. Thus, I feel you should not feel guilty if you try to advantage of those potential suckers while using the kids as pawns. Here are some of my ideas that can probably easily get you some extra cash. Before you enter the store, rehearse with the kids to say that you don’t have enough money for gas, so you’ll probably get stranded on the way home, and make sure they sound as pitiful as possible. Or, tell them to ask you to buy them some coloring books, so they won’t get bored in the homeless shelter you are on your way to. And you respond by saying you can’t afford coloring books because you had to buy something that kills lice. This idea might work. You can have your nieces and nephews remind you to buy some detergent and soap, so all of you can go to a nearby lake to bathe and wash their clothes. But if you want to directly engage the “gullible” strangers, firmly tell them that you appreciate their compassion, but the kids need to learn discipline. And then state that you are on your way to the airport to drop them off for an international flight, because they all have job interviews tomorrow at an Asian sweat shop the following morning. Maybe he/she will be stupid enough to refund the “airfare”, if you keep those whining brats in America. I hope this helps.