OMG, Make up your Mind and Pick Something

Confused GirlIt never fails, during a marathon of line twisting, just me, my balloons, and what seems to be 1,000 kids with semi-patient parents all waiting for a balloon animal; I will get a well groomed child who when ask what they want, will give me the dreaded blank stare. Their eyes glaze over with a blank look, their face shows no emotion and you think to yourself, this poor special needs child, when it hits you.  Oh my God, this is one of those indecisive kids.

Quickly, I get the indecisive kid thought process going.  I start my balloon rap—I make motorcycle, cats, dogs, Mickey Mouse, Pluto, Donald Duck, Daffy Duck, frog, snakes, turtles, hearts, teddy bears, flowers, choo choo trains, dinosaurs, aliens, clowns,  most the Warner Brother characters, most the Disney characters, only half the animals on Noah’s Arch, princes, mermaids, ballerinas and butterflies.  I am hoping that one of the objects mentioned would wake her out of her self-induced coma and help quicken her selection process.  I look at the mother who is staring at her daughter with the same blank look.  I think to myself, you have been standing in line for over 20 minutes and you have seen hundreds of kids walking around with balloon animals, just pick something!

I decided to  work around the child and go to the next in line.  This way I can keep the line going and not create a traffic jam waiting for this comatose child to make up her mind.  Eventually some 20 minutes later, she wakens from her self inflected state and I hear the softly whisper “cat”.  I feel my blood pressure drop, the tension in the air dissipates and the people around sigh with relief.  As I reach for my first balloon, I hear these words uttered out of the mothers’ mouth. “Honey, what color would you like it?”  Noooo!

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4 thoughts on “OMG, Make up your Mind and Pick Something”

  1. My standard line is, “Do you know what you want or would you like a surprise?”

    This gives them an out if they have no idea what they want and creates curiosity about what I might make them. It also implies that they better know what they want or take the surprise.

    Very frequently they ask for a surprise. This allows me to be more creative and add variety rather than making another of the same thing that the previous ten kids asked for. It also allows me to adjust the complexity based on how much time I have and the number of kids waiting.


  2. Hi Dave, I’ve done that and sometimes you will still get the bewildered look of confusion. Sometimes it feels like adults and children speak a different language 😉 Thanks for the comment

  3. Hi Dale, yes, sometimes I also still get the blank stare, but they opt for the surprise often enough that it’s worth using that line.

    If that doesn’t work, then usually I suggest something, “Would you like a bow and arrow?” (pause). I deliberately avoid choices. If they still don’t answer and the parent is present they will usually jump in at this point and say, “yes, that’s fine”, especially if there’s an unruly mob–umm, I mean line–of people waiting behind them. If not I’ll try another suggestion or two without offering a bewildering array of choices all at once. “How about a fish?” (pause)

    Sometimes I will let the indecisive kid think about it while I go to the the next in line, but only as a last resort. If the line is long, asking the next couple kids in line what they want before they get to the front helps to avoid the problem.


  4. I had that problem last Saturday. She just couldn’t make up her mind. I did go to the next child in line which I really do not like to do, but, I did have a long line. Sometimes I will ask the next couple of kids in line to be thinking about what they want so maybe they will know once they get to the front. After about the 3rd child in line the mom finally said “You have to make up your mind or your not going to get one. There are other children in line who want a balloon also”. The child them said, again, what do you do. I said -again- “You have to tell me what you want and I will tell you if I can do it or not”. After another minute or so she finally said she wanted a wrist buttlerfly. After making it she just kind of looked at it and said very low with a perplexed look on her face “Thanks”. Boy what an effort to get a 50 cent tip. But thats ok, I still enjoy doing twisted balloons, most of the other kids make the time and money well worth it.

    Dale, I love your stuff. I am always learning from you and others which I really appreciate, it’s really nice that you will share your designs with us. I love to show anyone who wants to learn and I always tell them the key is to practice, parctice, practice.

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