Parenting Blog

The Cost of Time, An Unintentional Lesson

My town, which is less a town and more a series of strip malls strung together with a garland of traffic lights, received an outpost of the Kiwi Yogurt to call its very own. My general vicinity now has three of these self-serve, pay per ounce, family owned frozen yogurt spots, and just as when the 2nd-oldest of the trio popped open last month near the Trader Joe’s in Devon, there was a long line all day-long on free yogurt day. Free yogurt day is a promotional day wherein Kiwi Yogurt dispenses 2 oz. of free chilly goodness to any and all, from open to close.  It must be brutal on the employees. The catch, for would-be non-paying costumers is that you’ve gotta stand in this perpetually long line to get some. Now, our Kiwi opened its doors a week before their freebie grand opening, and the Bear and Mouse and I were there. We each enjoyed a sensible portion of yogurt with a nonsensical amount of toppings. The total cost was a bit over $6. For all three of us.

Which brings us back to yesterday’s free yogurt extravaganza. I figure there were around 80-100 people in line every time I drove past. It looked to be an static thing, only the faces were changing — a linear sea of humanity all waiting for their tiny handout.

I like to look for lessons in the things I do or don’t do, say or don’t say, while the kids are in my company. Sometimes I come right out and explain a decision to them, usually too bluntly, but other times I let the vibe of it linger and hope they take something from it. Because I don’t wish to be a terrible children’s musician, I make sure never to beat them over the head with a morality play or with lessons on this or that, but on this occasion I couldn’t help myself.

There are many things worth valuing in life, to each his own ya know, but one that is often complained about there being a lack of BY EVERYONE, yet even more oftenly (made up word) given away haphazardly for the promise of a free something, is time. I spoke to my girls about this precious thing yesterday as we did a cinematically slow drive-by after school, and while I may waste a shitload of it throughout the course of my days and weeks and years, I will not go out of my way to do so. Not for 2 ounces of desert. Not when I’ve got a few bucks in my wallet that I can afford to cough up for a tasty treat for my girls and I, as I suspect many of the middle-class suburban, iPhone using, well-dressed clientele standing in that line did as well.

If each customer needed roughly 30-seconds to retrieve their 2 oz of frozen yogurt and there’d have been, say, around 80 of them in front of us in line, than we could’ve been standing there for 40-minutes. For a total of 6 ounces of yogurt that cost us about $6 just last week. That, my dear friends, is a complete and total waste of mine and my daughters’ time.

Hopeful the girls understand that nothing is free. That time cost matters and that 30-60 minutes of our collective time is worth far more than $6, money that I will happily spend in Kiwi Yogurt today, now that the line of beggars has dispersed.

*Image taken from Kiwi Yogurt’s website, hopefully they don’t mind.  That is the Exton, PA storefront, doors will we walk through many, many times. Check to see if you’ve got a Kiwi Yogurt near your home, and then go, and try the chocolate crunchies as a topping – yum!

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