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How to milk Family Weekend

Elizabeth Thompson
Arizona Daily Wildcat
By Elizabeth Thompson
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Friday, October 22, 2004
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Family weekend is about doing things that you really don't want to do, but have to.

You'd rather spend a Saturday afternoon watching the "I Love the '80s" marathon for the 12th time as you feel your frontal lobe start to slowly erode. Instead, you're at the Sonoran Desert Museum or on your way to the pie place on Mount Lemmon. And your mom won't stop talking about how beautiful everything is.

You feel guilty because, while you're truly happy to see you parents, you can't suppress the whispers of your greedy, inner 8-year-old reminding you of all of the things you need to hit them up for.

You really don't want to milk the absolute, tremendous love your parents have for you to get those sweet pants from Urban Outfitters, but you have to. But unless you're a seasoned beggar, or spoiled, you'll need to consider some of the following before you start making any wish lists.

Keep in mind that your parents aren't stupid. They're expecting you to ask for the RoboCop DVD set when you go to Target for a printer cartridge. Keep in mind, also, that when your parents buy you stuff, they do it because they feel sorry for you. Work with that pity, and try to act as pathetic as possible.

Making your parents think you're the saddest wretch on campus, however, requires subtlety. Don't overdo it by forcing any unnatural acting skills. Deliver your pleas tersely; just a sprinkling of melancholy and pensiveness will resonate the most in your parents' hearts. If you've been dying to eat dinner at North, but you haven't wanted to dip into your drinking money, keep listlessly saying things like "I'm so hungry" or "All I want is some protein" while sighing and staring off into space.

If you're hoping for that $90 comforter from Pottery Barn, don't simply pretend to faint in the middle of the Center for Creative Photography. Instead, keep yawning and massaging your temples while you're looking at the exhibits, saying, "I feel so tired, I guess I haven't been sleeping well lately." Then explain that your comforter is too scratchy, and you need a new one. It would be the next best thing to your comforter at home, where your real bed is. If you're able to believably conjure real tears, even better.

Not only is acting pathetic key in getting lots stuff from your parents, so is being nice. Try to limit eye-rolling and sighing, because being moody will only annoy your parents. Don't scream at your Dad because he keeps calling your friends by the wrong name. Don't scream at your Mom because it's hot out and she wants to browse in every jewelry shop on Fourth Avenue. Repress the pissy teen ravings your parents seem to provoke so effortlessly, and replace them with seemingly heartfelt exclamations of how homesick you've been. If you can, hold your Mom's hand in public.

Because an annoyed parent is not a generous parent, try to keep suggested shopping destinations in proximity to each other. Tucson's lack of freeways will lead to either parent being aggravated with traffic. Be courteous of that. If you want to go to Target and the mall, don't push it by wanting to go to the nicer, newer Target on Broadway and then to Tucson Mall.

Use any sort of guilt that your parents may have about your upbringing to your advantage. If your parents are divorced, say things like "It seems like all of friends I've made here have parents that are still together. I miss Dad." Then, mention that it's starting to get cold out at night here and you didn't bring enough warm clothes. You'll probably need to buy a jacket.

While at Costco buying toilet paper you may actually need, ask your Dad if he remembers the time he accidentally slammed your hand in the car door when you were five. Then, casually place an economy-sized box of Fruit by the Foot in the shopping cart.

Most importantly, don't forget to say thank you for all of the new loot you'll get from being pitiful. Your parents came all the way to Tucson take you shopping because they love you and miss you.

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