What is the correct etiquette for shopping centre rides?

We just got home from the shops, and something really weird happened to us.
I usually let the girls climb in and out and over the shopping centre rides that we have here (in other words, we don’t pay). The shops we went to today had a Wiggles one and also a Thomas the Tank Engine one. We pulled over at Thomas and I got them out of the trolley and into the ride and started to let them have some fun times when this old lady came up with a little girl. She looked at me, looked at the girls, made notice of the fact that I had no intention of putting any money in and then said “Can you please get your kids out so that I can put some money in for my grand daughter for a proper ride?”.
Now – I was a tad shocked at this, I felt myself go bright red in the face and muttered something along the lines of “yup – sure” and started to get the kids back out of Thomas. As I was doing my best to strap Tali into the trolley she then went on to say “Its only fair if I am paying that you should hurry up and finish your turn”. She could see I was trying my best to get my screaming kids out of the ride that they had just hopped into and had not finished playing on – but she thought it would be helpful to KEEP TALKING ABOUT IT. I very loudly apologised to her, then I turned to my very upset children and said “its okay girls, we have had a very quick turn on Thomas, but we will go straight around to the Wiggles now and have a long, fun turn”.
It was pretty crazy – I couldn’t understand what had happened until I was sitting at the Wiggles ride – my kids got bullied off a ride by a Grandma! We were not doing anything wrong – just because we didn’t pay the $2.00 for Thomas to go “toot toot” doesn’t mean that they were not having a fun time. The girls had much more fun playing on the Wiggles ride pretending (in Maisie’s words) “to go to Sydney on the Wiggles plane”.

6 thoughts on “What is the correct etiquette for shopping centre rides?”

  1. WEIRD! And RUDE!!!! Why couldn’t she just wait a bit? I have paid ONCE and never again. Normally it’s like you describe without the stupid idiotic noises and movements. Someone randomly put money in for Shelby once and it freaked her out! She was hanging on for dear life til it finished (she didn’t cry or I’d have pulled her off). But that was a weird experience too.

  2. That’s just wrong. Doesn’t everyone just put their kids on them and not pay? you only end up paying when the kids understand that money makes the thing move, then you tell them they are too old for a ride. I’m not sure what I would have done – maybe out of spite I would have put money in.
    How weird! At least you are moving away from the bullying grandma.

  3. You should ring in to James Valentine’s ‘the form guide’ dealing with all sorts of social etiquette situations! I have heard one about a similar situation. The thinking was if your kid was on the ride and someone wanted to pay, then perhaps you could offer to pay half – though this only works if you have one kid not two!! And anyway doesn’t really sound like your grandma would have been to keen on this idea anyway!! But this situation does beg the question why the paying customer has priority over the non paying – I suppose it’s the way our whole society functions. Shame, really.
    Good on you for keeping your cool. I was thinking if I was the grandma, what would have I done? I probably would have waited around a short while, telling my child that we had to wait because others were using it. If the ride wasn’t vacated or offered then I would go find another ride!! Not that difficult really and no need to be so rude!

  4. Out-rageous. Try just saying “Sure” and then not doing anything. If she then persists, you can respond with “okay, no problem, after they finish their turn” and then ignore her. If she points out that they haven’t paid you could point out that there is no requirement to pay, the placement of the “ride” in the shopping centre is merely an invitation to treat (if you carry something around in a shop are you obliged to pay for it if you eventually don’t want it? of course not – contract law 101). Either you pay your $2 for 1 minute of shaking around (in which case your turn is for a minute), or you can sit on it and use it until it starts moving, in which case the turn may last for a very long time.
    Really, this is obvious.

  5. That’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve heard. When I go up to a ride with kids playing on it and I want to pay for the ride to go around, I offer the other kids a free go. It’s going to cost $2 anyway, the more the merrier, and it teaches your kids to share and enjoy things together, instead of learning to be selfish. This grandma thinks that the world revolves around her granddaughter and obviously needs to get a life, miserly old cow!

  6. To be fair, she was paying, ur kids could have been messing around for ages while her granddaughter wanted to use it for its properm use!!!! Fair play to the old woman!!

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