arcade games where you pay for the chance to maneuver its claw over a pile of toys, grasp one and drop it in a chute to win it ... You know, like the one in Toy Story.
This is an entirely reasonable response since, more likely than not, the kid is going to be disappointed. These machines can apparently be set by the owners to vary the strength of the claw's grip, with the goal of limiting the rate at which players can win a prize to the bare minimum required by law, usually 1 in 12 tries.
I pull my kid along, though, because she will win a prize, often more than one.
My daughter has somehow figured these machines out. Sometimes, she will win multiple little stuffed animals and give them away to any little kids who happen to be around.
When I asked her how she was doing it, she said the trick was: “Don’t go for what you want; go for what you can get.”
Sounds like a nice bit of wisdom, but it doesn't work in all situations.
For example, I’d hate for this same kid, who has an incredible gift for drawing, which she uses constantly, producing dozens of little sketches a day on every scrap of paper she comes across, to apply it to career decisions. I'd hate for her to decide that a career involving art is too risky, that she'd better settle for something she has no interest in but which is more of a sure thing.
Well, since she's figured out how to win at a game that's been rigged against her, maybe she'll be all right.