It’s a fractal of life: children cry. Some cry a lot. Some cry well into adulthood. And it doesn’t take a rocket scientist (or a child psychologist)1 to figure out why children cry. They cry because they want a particular thing at that particular moment.
Many inexperienced parents believe that to have a child crying in public is the most embarrassing situation one can ever meet. Nothing could be further from the truth. Much more embarrassing is to have one’s tuxedo pants split at the school promenade while attempting one’s fanciest triplet of swing dancing moves which were practiced just for the occasion, revealing one’s lucky boxers with the multi-coloured hearts and peace signs. Trust me, I should know. Anyway, rather than being an embarrassing and uncontrollable situation, a public show with a sobbing child can be the perfect opportunity to get a lot of things for free.
You see, the inexperienced are suckers for a weeping babe. The heart melts, the knees shake, the eyebrows twitch, and they will do anything to appease the child in tantrum. Therefore, the parent can use this to his (or her) advantage to obtain practically anything for free. Need that overpriced, clever new thingamajig with all the whistles and bells that rings you for appointments and gives directions on the road, besides being able to make your calls without pressing a button? Take the kiddies to the electronics store. Need that stupendous set of battery-operated power tools, or the 54” widescreen bandsaw you couldn’t afford even if you were the CEO of a large international corporation? Pop the wee ones in the car and off to the hardware store. Or how about a lower-than-minimum-available interest rate on the mortgage for your new home? Just bring the baby to the broker, and you’ve got a deal.
The electronics salesman, the manager at the hardware store, the mortgage broker, provided they do not have young children of their own, will be unable to resist the outburst of the tot, as your little nipper cries out, “Mummy, I need that thingamajig!”, “Daddy, I can’t live without the widescreen bandsaw!”, or “Waaa! I want the two-percent interest rate! Waaaaaaaaa!” And pretty soon the seller will be on his knees making puppy-dog lips and telling your child he can have whatever he wants, and a shiny new penny to go with it.
- Or a magician with a rabbit up his sleeve, for that matter. ↩