How To Avoid Buying Crap For Your Kids

Lat night, I took my kid to see Marvel Universe LIVE!, an arena-based stunt show featuring what seemed to be every single major, minor and tertiary character from Marvel Comics history. Let’s just say it was a little overstuffed.

At least the second act was (there’s a twenty-minute intermission while they rework the sets), which was all I really saw. I spent almost the entire first act in line at the concession stand waiting for twenty dollars worth of hot dogs (i.e., 3 hot dogs). By the time I got back inside to the show, Loki had already made off with the cosmic cube (or something) and the bevy of costumed stuntmen were moving around and/or standing in place while pre-recorded dialogue was played over the loudspeakers.

(For some reason Spider-man was really into social media (read: annoying) and constantly said stuff like, “SELFIE!” and “I gotta tweet about this!”)

Needless to say my son loved it, and was desperate for a souvenir with which to mark the momentous occasion that he won’t give a shit about in less than two weeks.

Here’s how I avoided buying him one.

Calm down, I’m not some Grinch. Detective Munch has plenty of superhero stuff already, and most of this stuff was chintzy junk that was likely to break on the way home. Besides, a bag of popcorn was twelve dollars (!!!!) so I’m pretty sure the stupid glow-in-the-dark plastic sword every other kid was waving in my face was at least $200. So yeah, we were gonna pass on the souvenir stands. All we had to do was escape before our son noticed the–

Nope. He saw them. OF COURSE HE SAW THEM. These people’s livelihoods DEPEND on three-year-olds seeing them.

These places know what they’re doing. The people who work the stands at these arena shows are the urban equivalent of carnies: they know how to get your kid’s attention, and everything is rigged so that you end up paying the most for the least. Just look at this SCANDALOUS video showcasing how much more beer you get in the higher priced cup. Twelve-dollar popcorn I can stands, but surreptitiously shorting me on beer?! I AM LEGITIMATELY OUTRAGED BY THAT FOOTAGE.

As a parent, you need many new skills, and none is more important that the ability to avoid being gouged by these snake-oil salesmen, which requires both a strong stiff-arm with which to bust your way through the never-ending corridors full of tchotkes, and fortitude in the face of your child’s desperate pleas for more useless junk.

Here are some tips for saving your wallet!


  1. Don’t Have Kids
  2. Don’t Take Your Kids Places
  3. Don’t Take Your Kids Places with Other Children Whose Parents Buy Them Things Right In Front of Your Kids
  4. Tell Your Kids ‘I’ll buy you something better later, I promise!’*
  5. Ignore Your Kids**
  6. Tell Your Kids ‘It’s either that stuffed doll or college. CHOOSE WISELY.’***
  7. Tell Your Kids ‘This is America, you need to EARN IT YOURSELF!’****
  8. Blame It on Your Spouse: ‘Sorry, buddy, Mommy said we can’t!’*****
  9. Distract Your Kids: ‘Look, an airplane!’
  • BONUS: Just buy the f*!%ing thing already, you know you’re going to! Softie.

**But be prepared: THEY WILL NOT LIKE YOU
***But be prepared: THEY WILL NOT LIKE YOU
****But be prepared: YOU WILL NOT LIKE YOU
****But be prepared: SHE WILL NOT LIKE YOU

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3 thoughts on “How To Avoid Buying Crap For Your Kids

  1. I used to hate when the obnoxious dads told me it gets worse then they get older but then I turned into one.

    Got kids hocking me to pony up thousands for school trips to Washington D.C. and or sleepaway camp. And let me tell you I threw a reasonable party for my son’s Bar Mitzvah but I would trade my bill for the $20 sword.

    Ok, I lied, I wouldn’t it. That party was a lot of fun and my kid will remember it forever.

    Actually all this crap is fun, sometimes you don’t realize how much until after. Little buggers are expensive but worth it. 😉

  2. Mom (that’s me) is cold, hard and nearly evil, so #8 has worked flawlessly for going on a decade. We’ve got one partially working lightsaber thing from Disney World. I think I must have been exhausted and off my game that night.

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