Coco and Wendy look so gleeful here because Coco actually "won" something!
When we walked in, Coco spotted a life-sized stuffed husky dog hanging from the ceiling and playfully suggested that I win it for her. It was redeemable for 400 tokens, and I demurred. After I had a go at an electronic version of the carnival hammer game (that offered no rewards), Coco spotted one of these:
Coco had never encountered one before, and I explained to her how she needed to slide a quarter down the slot and position it to shove other quarters off the shelf when the flat shovel-thing made its move. Wendy read the fine print and saw that the game did not pay out in actual quarters, but in tokens redeemable for prizes (such as the husky dog).
Coco played one quarter into a perfect spot to no good result; it was just shoved on top of the pile. Undaunted, she played another; the shovel came forward and a clutch of quarters fell off the edge and into the bin with some satisfying clinking and clanging! The machine began spitting out a ticker tape marked with divisions, like a ruler. We tried to count them as we gathered up the ever-growing strip; it wound up being over twenty feet long with hundreds of units. After some confusion, we found another machine to feed the tape into; it counted the units up and printed off a more manageable receipt.
It read 250! More than halfway to a husky dog with just one play! How awesome is that? But wait a second... what's that fine, fine print?
Coco had won 250 stamps. At the described exchange rate, that was the equivalent of only 10 tokens, hardly a dent in the total toward a husky. (We never actually saw any tokens, either; apparently they only exist as a mathematical construct.)
We soon discovered that ten tokens barely kept one from vagrancy in a place like this. Being unable to choose between a water bottle with no lid and a couple of batteries with dubious provenance, Coco decided to double down and go for broke. She picked a Surprise Box from this enticing display:
The contents? Well, for that, let's go to the videotape. Enjoy. Or be warned.
This post created and uploaded at the dreadful Delta terminal at LAX.