A Rewarding TacTic


“What’s she doing in there?” I asked Tracey. “Should I go in and help?”

We were parked directly in front of our local ‘corner’ shop, where we could see in through the glass doors and windows to the shelves inside. A couple of minutes earlier, our seven year old daughter had gone in alone, armed  only with a couple of coins and a cute smile.

“No, you can’t,” said Tracey. “This is part of the fun for her.”

Now that I’m to take on more of the home duties around here, Tracey is bringing me up to speed with some of the after school routines. Like today’s, where a particularly good result in something at school means a kid can purchase a special treat from the shop.

“But what if she picks something I don’t like?” I asked Tracey. “Like mint chocolate.”

Just the thought of mint chocolate has me screwing up my face like Mr Bean. Why anyone would ruin either chocolate or mint by combining the two is beyond me.

Meanwhile, Tracey was shaking her head in my direction.

“She gets to walk around the shop and pick something without us interfering,” she told me. “It’s whatever she likes.”

Now it was my turn to look doubtful.

“And you’re okay with that?” My wife assured me she was. “It’s just that I’m not allowed to choose which shirt to wear to dinner, and I’m forty-seven. How come she gets to make decisions?”

I glanced back into the shop. Miss7 had now employed the help of the young shop assistant. She was pointing into the ice-cream freezer and asking questions. Seconds later her little head popped out the door.

“Is it okay if I buy an ice-block?” she asked.

“Are you sure you want too?” I asked her back. “It’s a bit cold.”

Miss7 ducked back inside, moving away from the ice-cream freezer, over towards the chocolate stand.

“Did you miss the bit where she gets to decide?” Tracey said to me.

“I didn’t say no. And it is cold.” Plus, it’s hard to share an ice-block.

By now the attendant was dutifully following our daughter around the shop, answering her questions very patiently. Another patron entered the shop and he briefly excused himself to attend the lady before taking up his rightful position slightly behind and to the right of Miss7.

“How long does this usually take?” I asked my wife.

“Wait for it,” said Tracey. “She’s just about back to the front counter.”

Sure enough, Miss7 pointed and started jumping up and down and getting excited.

Money was exchanged and Miss7 raced out to the car holding high her prized new possession for all her siblings to see and get jealous about.

“What did you get?” I asked her.

“Tic Tacs!” she squealed as she climbed her way into the back row of seats.

“Peppermint?” Tracey said doubtfully. “Do you want me to take them back and swap them for the orange ones?”

“Mum prefers the orange ones,” I explained to Miss7. I might have been grinning. A lot. “Don’t you, Mummy?”

“I was thinking they’re a bit spicy,” said Tracey. “But yes, I do.” But then she added over her shoulder. “Fine. You can keep the peppermint ones. Of course, you can.”

Which I was rather pleased about. I may not like mint chocolate, but I love peppermint Tic Tacs.


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“Raising a family on little more than laughs.”

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