Last night, after my husband came home from work and we all ate dinner, I grabbed my wallet and sneakers and drove over to Target. I had a very clear agenda in mind: step into target and walk directly to the aisle with pool toys.
In mid to late summer you can typically find really great bargains on summer gear. In the past I’ve found sales offering up to 75% off. I like to buy floats and sand toys for guests who stay in my beach home each year. I want our renters to enjoy their stay as much as possible and what better way to enjoy a beach home then by spending the day digging in the sand or floating in the pool.
Sand toys tend to last from season to season, but unfortunately pool floats are an ongoing expense. Young kids can destroy even the most well made ones in a matter of days. I started purchasing the swimways spring floats a few years ago. They can cost as much as $25 at the peak of the summer season, but I like how they are constructed and how they have fewer components that kids can accidentally puncture.
I walked into the store with a very short time limit, (I needed to get home to help put my son to bed), and a very specific purpose, yet the minute I looked up from my cart I found myself perusing the $1 deal aisles.
Oh how those $1 deals lure me. On principal I try to avoid this particular section of the store. My reasons are twofold. First, I don’t typically need anything I find there and second most of the items are poorly made, but last night I could not resist the lure.
Once or twice a week I give my son play-dough as an after breakfast activity. Up until this point he shows interest in pulling the dough out of the container and squishing it, but after a minute or so he seems quite bored of it. I found all sorts of old cookie cutters to make shapes, but even the smallest ones seem quite big for his hands.
In the $1 section of Target I found a tiny bag of plastic cookie cutter like objects that were perfect for play-dough. They were brightly colored and just the right size for my son’s hands. I put them in my cart then reconsidered after thinking they looked like cheap plastic that could easily break or at the very least end up in the landfill within a very short period of time. I walked around to the other side of the aisle and then walked back because I just couldn’t resist them.
I couldn’t find any pool floats on sale, but I picked up a few groceries in the store and waited in line to check out. As I stood there I kept eying that bag of cookie cutter shapes and trying to decide if I really wanted to buy them. It wasn’t so much about spending a dollar as it was about buying something that I know won’t last. When I reached the checkout counter I set aside my beliefs about money and the environment and let this one little bag of toys go.
This morning I pulled out that tiny bag of cookie cutter shapes and showed my son three or four of them. He chuckled in this ridiculous way he does when he’s unbelievably happy and played with play-dough for over an hour. He loved pressing those shapes into the dough and picked them up and pressed them back in over and over. He kept saying two-til, two-til, which is his version of turtle, but he was equally excited about all of the little shapes I gave him.
Was the bag of toys worth it’s $1 price tag? Probably not. Will the environment suffer a little? Possibly. Am I glad I purchased them anyway? Most definitely!