Dad: Good news little Johnny, I’ve talked your Grandma Congress into buying you a portable childhood vehicle system.

Johnny: A bicycle?

Dad: Yep.

Little Johnny: But Dad, I don’t need a bike.

Dad: It doesn’t matter, Grandma has sent the money and it’s our job to spend it.

Little Johnny: Why can’t I use it on something I need?

Dad: Because Grandma has already sent the money with specific guidelines on how to spend it.

Little Johnny: I still don’t need it. Why don’t we send it back?

Dad: Uh, no. Do you want to end up in Grandpa’s cellar again?

Little Johnny: No, I really don’t.

Dad: Well, I suggest you start looking for a bicycle.

[a week has passed]

Mom: Johnny, what’s the status of your bicycle purchase?

Johnny: Well mom, I’m trying to find the best way to purchase the bike.

Mom: You really need to spend the money Johnny. Grandma is breathing down my neck.

Johnny: But I don’t want to make a hasty decision.

Mom: Grandma only gave you a few weeks to find someone. If you can’t find someone by that point, then she’ll take the money back.

Johnny: Fine. I don’t want it. There’s too many strings attached.

Mom: Johnny, if Grandma takes back your money, you’ll never see a dime from her ever again. You might as well pack up and find a good orphanage.

Johnny: Well fine. How should I go about purchasing the bike?

Mom: You need to find someone to purchase the bike for you. Let that person make the decision.

Johnny: Isn’t it in my and Grandma’s best interest to make an educated decision?

Mom: It’s not up to you. Grandma has “suggested” using Uncle Larry to find the best bike. All you can give him is general guidelines of what you are looking for.

Johnny: But I’ve already found the best bike for the money Grandma has given me. I’ll even have some money left over.

Mom: You have to go through Uncle Larry.

Johnny: Why can’t I go out and buy the bike myself? After all, I know what is best.

Mom: What if the other family members see you riding this bike? They’re going to be pissed knowing you didn’t buy the bike in the manner Grandma directed.

Johnny: That’s stupid. I’d rather just buy the bike directly rather than go through Uncle Larry.

Mom: Buying directly is a pain in the butt. You’ll have to go to each bicycle shop and ask them to submit a bid on a bike. You’ll then have to evaluate each one, and hope one doesn’t question your decision.

Johnny: Question my decision? It should be up to me! What business in their right mind would protest my choice if they want further business?

Mom: It’s not your purchase, Johnny. It’s Grandma’s. But she wants you to have the bike when everything is done with. Do you understand?

Johnny: That’s bologna. I don’t even want the bike, and now you guys are putting me through a keyhole.

Mom: Just contact your Uncle Larry. He’ll take the money, and find someone who can purchase the bike for you.

[another week passes]

Dad: So what’s the status Johnny? Grandma wants an update, and Grandpa is getting really ancy about using his cellar again.

Johnny: Well, I don’t like the fact that I have to go through Uncle Larry. He told me he’d have to take his “cut” and he mentioned that Cousin Chester is going to take another “cut” to purchase the bike. I also learned the bike shop is going to take their share on top of the hardware purchase.

Dad: Well, we can’t expect Uncle Larry and whoever helps him to do it for free. They have to make some kind of profit to stay in business.

Johnny: But the bike I looked at is only $200. Grandma gave us a $1,000. What’s going to happen to the extra money?

Dad: Don’t worry. Uncle Larry and Cousin Chester will “take care” of it.

Johnny: Doesn’t it make sense to just purchase the bike and give Grandma back the difference?

Dad: Oh, no… See, you don’t understand. If we give Grandma back the money, she will assume that next time we won’t need as much, or won’t give us any money at all.

Johnny: But dad, I don’t need the bike. I could use the money, but not for what Grandma gave it to me for. So it just doesn’t make sense why we would want Grandma to send us more.

Dad: Because, there is a chance Grandma may send us money for something we do need someday, and you don’t want this hanging over you when she does.

[another week passes – Cousin Chester has purchased the bike and delivered]

Dad: So, Johnny, how do you like your new bike?

Johnny: It’s okay. Not exactly what I wanted, but it works.

Dad: See, isn’t Grandma a genius?

Johnny: I suppose so.

Dad: Oh, I talked Grandma into sending more money for a durable load-handling device.

Johnny: Like, a backpack?

Dad: Exactly. But, she hinted that she wants you to only concentrate on shops on the east-side of town.

[Johnny shakes his head]

Johnny: Not again…