I was shopping at a Wegman’s grocery store a few years ago. In line ahead of me was a young mother with a cart full of food. And a 3 or 4 year old toddler.
As is often the case, the checkout lane was filled with those last minute items one tends to forget to buy. Like candy. And candy. And more candy.
I am not cynical enough (well, I am, actually) to think that grocery stores intentionally put loads of sweets right where little toddlers can see them. And demand them. And grab them. And cry for them.
Which is what this toddler did. He or she began whining. “I want..I want..I want”.
The young mother said “No.”
So, the toddler reached over and picked up candy bar and placed it on the counter.
We all waited to see what the mother would do. Would she give in? Would she let the toddler have his way? Would she yell? Would she slap him?
She picked up the candy bar and placed it back where it belonged. The toddler wailed. Louder and louder. Picked up another candy bar and placed it on the counter. He was making a scene. A power play.
What would the mother do? After all, what parent has not been in the position of having a little tyke act out in public. We all waited. Would she crack? Would she give in? Would she yell?
The young mother picked up the candy bar and put it back on the shelf.
Again. And again. And again. The toddler wailed and cried. And cried. And wailed. Eventually they left. The youngster wailing all the way out of the store. Empty handed.
Psychologists tell us that when behavior gets rewarded it gets repeated. I am guessing this young mother had taken a good Psychology course.
And so did Nancy Pelosi.