Sunday, 10 June 2012

The Price Of Play

An young couple on a holiday drove along a secluded road in the country. In the distance they saw a little store, and decided to stop. It was a shop selling home wares and crafts, not really their thing, but they wanted to stretch their legs. It was run by a little old lady who sat behind the counter. To their surprise there was a set of vases that took their fancy.
"How much is this one?" the man said to the store keeper.
 "$70," she replied.
"Wow, that's expensive" 
The little old lady pointed to another vase. "That one's only $30".
"But they're identical," said the young man.
"Yes," said the lady, rising from her chair. 
"Because some people want to pay $70, and some people want to pay $30." 

Today it was rainy and cold so we took Andy, Joey and the Twins to Imagine That Children's Playhouse which boasts about an inside area that inspired imaginative play for children and a cafe for the parents. The entry price was debated publicly this week, as they had changed the entry prices for newborn-12months to $6.50 (which included a free drink). Ridiculous if you ask me (and the rest of their likers on facebook). They took this on board, and made 0-6monthers free. However... 

Some people are happy going to an indoor play centre, where you are not allowed to bring your own food, and pay $3 for a single party pie, $4.50 for a sausage roll and $5.50 for a cup of coffee, I am not. Perhaps it's because I'm stingy, or perhaps because it's overpriced. 

Cost and worth are very different things. To feed a hungry child, $3 is worth it. This "family" business has cashed in on this which I find disgusting. Not being allowed to bring some sandwiches when I've already paid $18 for entry for the two boys kind of gets my goat.

The thing is, if they let me BYO lunch for the kids, I would have happily bought a coffee and cake or some hot chips, therefore, cashing in. However, because they were so pissy about not allowing food, we scheduled our visit around "starvation o'clock" and didn't purchase any food. 

This reminded me of a conversation with a mother I had today.
For my kids, the play was not what they enjoy. The boys liked the vintage looking ride on cars, and the slide about as big as one in the backyard. They enjoyed the duplo and the wooden trains (both of which we play with at home). But the "village" wasn't as great as I thought it would be. Some kids loved the dress ups, but there wasn't enough to go around, and some enjoyed playing "let's throw the wooden food items at each other" but that mostly ended in tears.

Perhaps it was just me and the people that I was with, but it seemed more geared at people who didn't like their kids to get dirty, or sweaty, or climb or play. One father even told the boys and girls we were with to stop pretending they were crocodiles and chasing each other around and "just go down the slide". Chris heard that... lucky it wasn't me. 

We love the play centres like Gecko's Family Fun Centre where there is a huge climbing gym, great slides and reasonable prices. The kids can get thoroughly tuckered out and have the blessed together day time nap. 

I should have saved the $18 and bought some art supplies, or 24 chicken nuggets or some slippers. Not worth the cost. 

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