Holiday Spending Role Reversal

Son has asked for only one thing for Hanukkah/Christmas this year.  A Tri-Rail train.

He adores trains, just like his Dad.  Husband and Son regularly go to the local train museum, and I’ve been known to just pop by the train station on a random afternoon just to let Son watch them go by.  And not just any generic trains; he particularly loves all of the trains that serve our local station – Amtrak, FEC, CSX, but most of all he adores the oddly shaped Tri-Rail trains that serves South Florida commuters.

Son is not a “gimme” kid.  He doesn’t ask for much – in fact this is the first toy he’s ever asked for.   Of course I want to get it for him.  I hoped to find something like the trucks Hess comes out with every year – sturdy for kids and about $15-$20.

Nope.  I’ve scoured the internet and come up empty.  I even had Husband try – and if there’s a train he’ll find it.  Nope.  I’ve even tried calling Tri-Rail directly.

There is no regular toy Tri-Rail.

You’d think a large-ish regional system would have toy likenesses, wouldn’t you?  Well, so did I.  Unfortunately no one makes a Tri-Rail train fit for a preschooler.  The only Tri-Rail trains available are expensive and fragile model trains, the type that people (like Husband) build entire train layouts around so they can run trains to their hearts content.   The thought of Son mistreating playing with a model train – the way a preschooler would play with a model train – makes Husband cringe (he hates to see any train not treated with the reverence they deserve), but doesn’t bother me at all.  A toy is a toy.

But.

An engine is $90 and each car is $30.  That’s at least $150. For a toy that Son will likely break.

Sigh.

I even asked Tri-Rail if they had any special promotional trains, perhaps a model sitting in some executive’s desk.  Nope.  The marketing representative was very nice, and she even sent some train erasers, but even those aren’t Tri-Rail.

Have these people no sense of merchandising????

Spending $150 on these trains is nuts.  Completely insane.  Totally irrational.

And  I soooo want to do it.    Because I soooo want my kid to get what he wants.   I’m willing to forgo any gift for myself, and cut spending on others.  I’m willing to take it out of savings.  I’m willing to do just about anything.

I find myself in an unusual circumstance – wanting to spend money on something frivolous while Husband is being more circumspect.

He’s right.  I know he’s right.

But I sooooooo wanna get it for him.

So, this is the dilemma we face.  Do we spend $150 on the only thing Son has ever asked us for?   Or do we have him face the harsh reality and disappointment of not getting the only thing he’s asked of Hanukkah Harry and Santa Claus?

What do you think?

Advertisement

I Was Lucky. This Time.

Dear Petroliance,

I am alive, and I am thankful.

On Thursday, April 24, 2008 at 9:34 am I was driving westbound on C_____ Rd in P________, Florida. As I was approaching the Railroad tracks at D______ the lights started flashing to indicate an approaching train. I came to a complete stop as the gate arms started descending, and was dismayed to see an eastbound motorist trying to slip through at the last moment.

It was a tanker truck, and it was so late slipping through that I saw the gate arm hit the top of the truck. Right on the tank. The tank that holds whatever highly flammable chemicals you transport.

Yes, it was one of your trucks. I could clearly read “Petroliance” and the phone number (800-226-7011) painted on the back of the tank. Unfortunately I could not make out a truck number.

I am appalled. I sat there as your truck was crossing the tracks, and I flashed back, remembering the accident that happened fifteen years ago just a few miles to the south. That day a train hit a tanker that was sitting on the tracks, and the ensuing fireball fried five people doing nothing more than sitting in their cars waiting for the train to go by. You know, the people who had obeyed the signals and stopped. Of course the tanker driver died that day, too.

Here I was in that very vulnerable spot, first in line nearest the tracks, watching the signal gate hit your tanker.

Did your driver think the five minutes saved was worth the risk? I’ll bet he did. I’ll bet that driver fifteen years ago did, too. But I know that six families and one company (that was likely sued into oblivion) don’t think so.

And neither do I.

Perhaps it’s time to have a refresher course in railroad safety for your drivers, particulary the one that crossed the railroad tracks on eastbound C____ Rd at 9:34 am this past Thursday.

%d bloggers like this: