A couple of weekends ago we went to a local street fair where a lot of local businesses set up booths and hand out “free” things with tip jars conveniently at eye level or sitting on top of the business cards “so they don’t blow away”.
“Oh, could you hold this tip jar while I get you your complimentary frisbee? Thanks!”
It wasn’t that bad, but I had a discussion last night with some friends about not having an “Obligation Gene”. If you tell me it’s free, well, I kind of expect that it be free. I’m not saying I don’t tip. I consider myself a pretty good tipper, in fact. I’m a minimum 20% tipper for all services unless you were completely horrible and then I might drop you to about 15%. If you were really awesome and I’ve had a couple of drinks, you’ll probably end up with about 30%.
On that same note, if you give me a complimentary Karate lesson and clearly print on the card that attending the lesson entitles me to the class without further obligation, I shall take you at your word. There are a lot of people that have a hard time saying “No” to people after they have been given something free. I don’t. In most cases, I have gotten about 15 minutes of your time and in return, I’m expected to pay hundreds of dollars. I realize that I am in turn getting a service, but along with that money, I’m also committing my time.
Kamryn has been wanting to take Karate since she was 2. Seriously. She watched an episode of Spongebob Squarepants (Yes, we are a Spongebob Family, yes I heard about the study, no I don’t care.) where Spongebob and Sandy Cheeks are told they have to quit Karate, but they think of ways to incorporate it into their daily lives anyway. Kamryn called the episode “Spongebob Hiii-Yaaa!” I think the real name of the episode is “Spongebob Karate Choppers”.
Anyway, when we were approached by someone from the Karate Store (a Kamryn-ism) about signing up for a free lesson, I thought it would be a good chance to let her try it out since I am pretty sure both her and I have very incorrect views about what Karate is all about. I also thought it would be good for Rory. If Mr. Miyagi taught me anything, it’s that there is a fair amount of discipline and self control implemented in Martial Arts.
I don’t know what it’s called when they hit and kick the pads, but they did that for awhile and then were told to run around the room and to immediately stop with their hands at their sides when the instructor yelled “self control”. Rory found it hilarious and wouldn’t stop running until he caught up to Kamryn.
Once they were done with their lesson, the instructor came over and said to me “Let’s get them signed up. We have group class tomorrow.” Whoa, Trigger, let’s just relax. For one, I have absolutely no idea what a group class is, whether or not my kids even liked what they just did, what is expected of me and my children or how much you are asking me to pay and there is most definitely going to be an exchange of funds at some point.
I asked Mr. Presumptuous all of my questions above and then politely told him I needed to think about it. That wasn’t my nice way of saying “No”, I’m really going to think about it. Besides the expense, there is actually a fairly significant time commitment. There are 3 classes a week, plus one private lesson for a total of 4 trips to the dojo. There is no doubt in my mind that this would be good for both of my kids. None whatsoever. But I was told that he would want a 3 month commitment for both kids which equates to a whopping $1,200.
When we left, I asked Kamryn if she really liked the class, kind of liked it or didn’t like it at all. She said she really liked it. I asked her what her favorite part was and she said, “Running!” Well guess what? Running is free.