I Got Hustled at Heritage Days (alternative title: I may need to learn how to clarify expectations in advance or use straight talk in front of my kids)


I hate disappointing my kids.

Truly. Although, is there anyone that is like, man, I love disappointing my kids. It’s glorious. Watching their little faces fill with sadness, I live for that!

So, I try to set reasonable expectations.

We are going to Heritage Days. We have bought tickets in advance. We have this much spending money.

I was extremely frustrated to blow the money I had identified for spending at the event, in one swift I feel swindled step.

I’ve always wanted a henna tattoo, but am, by nature, wary of any activity where pricing is not standardized or posted.

I do not barter. I’m terrible at it. Whether the vendors are beach side in Mexico or Cuba or lining Pike Place Market, there’s nothing about me that feels comfortable with offering you less than the price you carefully marked everything with.

Any way, back to Heritage Festival. A young lady approached the kids and I:

“Would you like to get tattoos for your kids?”

Bean is already jumping up and down excitedly.

“Um, maybe, how much would they cost?”

“We’re slow right now,  so it would be $5 for both kids.”

“Ok, we can handle $5 for the two of them. Small and simple is good.”

Both kids got a small design in their hand.

“Would your mommy like a tattoo too?”

“No, that’s ok…”  Again, Bean was super excited about this possibility.

“Well, ok, I guess, how much would it cost?”


“Is that for a particular design?”

“No, pick what ever you want.”

“Ok, Bean pick a tattoo for mommy.”


“Oh, that one is pretty complicated.”

“I don’t really care. Just something simple will be fine. ”

The henna artist went to work she started a mandala on my forearm.

“It probably won’t look finished without something extending to your wrist, may I add that?”

“Does it cost extra?”

“Just a few dollars.”

“Oh, ok, sure, if you think it would look better.”

She finished the design.

“That’ll be $30.”

My heart shattered. What!!! How did that happen. Even if I misunderstood the $5 for both kids and it was actually $5 each. How did we get to $30? Both kids were thrilled? Something wasn’t right.

I felt like arguing, sort of.

I didn’t feel like arguing, mostly.

I paid the $30.

I’ll have 3 weeks to reflect on that time I got a henna tattoo and thought I was spending at the most $18 and instead spent $30.

And then, that self doubt sets in: Should I have questioned the price? Should I have shown the kids what straight talk looks like rather than avoiding conflict?

And then, I wondered, how will Heritage Festival ever be anything other than that time I got hustled getting henna? Oh right, the letting go, that’s how. Let’s just think about all of the delectable sweet breads we devoured and how we attended with Grandma and Grandpa and how beautiful that was.

We get through the awkward stuff, by focusing on the good stuff. I remember now.

Ain’t life weird.


Mrs Undad


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