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The Value of Cheap Trinkets

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My son wanted to use the dangling crane machine.

"There's games and balls and stuff in there," he tells me.

"Most of that stuff isn't worth very much, kiddo," I tell him. "And the odds are against you."

I point out to him the shape of the hook, the positioning of the items. All the ways the deck is stacked against him. I explain that even if he managed to get something, it would probably be cheaper to just buy it from the store.

"What about those games that give you tickets?" he asked me. "I got over 200 tickets one time, and I got a lot of prizes."

"What kind of prizes?" I asked him. "Were they expensive ones? Or do you think you spent more playing the games than the prizes cost?"

His expression drooped.

So I asked him the next question: "But did you have fun?"


"Did you have fun playing the games? Would you have paid to just play skee ball?"

"Well, yeah. They were fun."

"Then that's the value, kiddo. And you wouldn't have been able to buy that in the store."

Economics lesson concluded, we finished our pizza.

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