Bringing Your Kids to CVS to Buy Vanilla Reloads

Today, a very special episode of Online Travel Review….

We were in the Berkshires last weekend and I was pleasantly surprised to find an adorable little CVS on Main Street in Great Barrington. Because I live in Manhattan (a Vanilla Reload-free zone, for the most part), I get a wee bit excited when I see a CVS when I’m traveling elsewhere. So I do what any father would do on their vacation and I dragged my wife and 2 7-year-old children into a drugstore on vacation so I could buy myself some VR cards.

They have approximately 30 million of them on the rack so I grab 10 of them and, with children in tow, I walk up to the cashier. This conversation takes place:

Child 1: What are those cards?
Me: They’re for daddy.
Child 2: But what ARE they?
Cashier: How much would you like to put on that?
Me: $500 each.
Child 1: FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS??????? You HAVE five hundred dollars?
Me: What? Yes. I do.
Child 2: But what are those cards? Why do you always buy them?
Me: They’re for daddy – they’re like money.
Child 1: Why are you buying money if you already have money?
Me: You know how we went in first class to Hawaii? Remember that? That’s because I get these cards.
Child 1: You’re buying tickets to Hawaii?
Me: No.
Cashier: Wait, how many of these do you have?
Me: 10
Child 2: Why do you have so many? Why do you need 10? If it’s money, why don’t you just buy 1? Why do you put money on it if it’s money? Isn’t that just a credit card? Why are you giving them a credit card to get a credit card?
Cashier: (Calling someone over) – How many of these are we allowed to sell in a day?
Other Cashier: You can buy 4.
Child 1: Are you getting in trouble?
Cashier: Can I have your license?
Child 2: Daddy, are you in trouble? Why is she taking your license?
Child 1: Are you allowed to buy these? Why is she taking away the other cards?
Child 2: Are you going to jail?
Cashier: That will be $2072.38 (we bought other stuff)
Child 2: HOW DO YOU HAVE TWO THOUSAND DOLLARS? You said we didn’t have enough money to get the big bag of Doritos! I want the Doritos!
Child 1: Why are you buying those cards for so much money? Can you afford that?
Child 2: Why are you buying money?

Then we walk out the door.

Anyone ever bring their kids with them to CVS?


  1. no doritos! and no snarky comments from the wife? very funny.

  2. My kids are now older, so they HELP me buy VR cards. When my daughter got her provisional driver’s license and needed the driving practice, we would drive to CVS to buy VR cards. At the time, the stores were limiting each individual to 1 or 2 cards, so she’d whip out her license and Citi companion card and buy her quota! Gotta make those kids useful.

    I do remember shopping with her when she was young, though. At age 4 1/2 I took her shopping for toys in China. As you may know, buying anything in China generally involves negotiation. I told her in advance that we should be able to buy what she wants, but that I will have to talk with the sales clerk and agree on the price. I told her not to look like she wanted the toy too much when we talked.

    As soon as we picked something out and started talking about the price with the clerk, my daughter blurts out: “He’s going to trick you.”

  3. I think you just confirmed my worst nightmare of having children. How do you do it? Tell them to read FlyerTalk and they will understand what you are doing.

  4. I do not take my kids shopping at CVS or anywhere else. I deal with all their questions about my VRs, zillions of credit cards, and constant searching of airline and hotel websites in the comfort of my own home.

    However, the CVS experience is often unpleasant in other ways.

    I am surprised you didn’t get to enjoy having the cashier SCREAM your total, i.e. “that will be TWO THOUSAND ONE HUNDRED AND SEVENTY TWO DOLLARS” while six people queue up behind you, several of whom look overly interested in your transaction.

  5. When CVS used to only sell two VRs per customer, I took my wife and kids (3 and 7) and said to the cashier “it’s 2 per customer, right?” So we “each” bought 2 VRs in four separate transactions.

  6. Love it Anita. Yelling the total would be awesome.

  7. Hilarious. Isn’t there a rule of investing that if it’s too complicated to explain to a 7 year old you probably shouldn’t do it?

  8. Great post. very funny!

  9. It might be fun to get your wife’s reaction. It doesn’t sound like she was any help with the kids.

  10. Now to teach the kids how to “dump fuel”.

    “But don’t we NEED the fuel to fly on the plane?”

  11. LMAO! Thanks, I needed that…

  12. I rope my 7 yr old daughter in to MS all the time. We get to spend time together and she’s my beard for disarming suspicious tellers.
    The cards are just ‘those cards daddy likes’.

  13. This is too hilarious!! Thanks for sharing.

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  15. This is his wife. My contribution to the discussion? “Yes, kids, Daddy has A LOT of money. Over. Two. Thousand. Dollars. If he spends this much at CVS, I can’t wait to see what you all get me for my next birthday!!”

    • I hope you Iike vanilla reload cards!

    • Thanks for the follow up. My wife is mostly in “whatever” mode about all of this, but remains patient since she understands that “free” award trips don’t just magically appear.

  16. Nick @ Personal Finance Digest

    Absolutely hilarious! My oldest is six, so I leave them in the car with my wife if I need some VRs. Otherwise the entire transaction will consist of me saying “No!”, “Stop!”, and “Put that down!”.

  17. Great post! My 10 and 12 year old boys did think it was a little much when we pulled up to the 6th different Office Max on the last day of their last promo, but they understand more or less (the stores leave money and points laying around, and we’re just helping them clean up so no one trips over them) and want to know when they can get credit cards and make money at CVS.

  18. I have a similar, if even worse, story. We were in Hawaii last week and went to a CVS in a very “local” neighborhood. We at least went it for something my wife needed, but I went straight to the racks and found a huge stash of Vanilla cards. I decided to go for $1500 and we had a ton of other items.

    Sure enough, Citi fraud looks oddly at a large purchase in a different state. The cashier has to call it in and we sit for probably 15-20 minutes as she sorts it out. Everyone behind us in line is polite, but wondering what the heck is going on. I tell her to just cancel it, but she can’t and doesn’t want to risk fraud thinking there is something funny.

    Finally, after everyone else has switched lanes and an interminable delay, I get a final denial. We have to take the other 20 items out of the bags, rescan them and start over again. Even worse, now my card won’t work for a $40 transaction so I have to use a non-miles debit card. Oh well. Taught me a lesson. :-)

  19. I don’t have kids, but I tend to drag my wife with me to CVS. After my first few weeks of tracking down vanilla reloads, my wife was starting to loath CVS. I ended up buying her some boots for putting up with the CVS trips, which I now refer to as her CVS boots. So, whenever she wears them, we have to stop at CVS. I plan on getting her a Walmart pair as well…

  20. :lol: This is just too cute!!! I love it!

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