Balloons kill kids: nailing motherhood at Bunnings 

imageI’d just like to thank the good people at Bunnings Warehouse for nearly killing my children.

Now, to be fair, usually on an outing to Bunnings I am quite capable of nearly killing my own children. Junior trolleys to the achilles, protestations over desired time at instore playground, shameless begging for multiple items we don’t need like bondcrete cement additive and solid pine fence posts etc.

A few weeks ago, I decided to tackle one of life’s roadblocks. A trip to Bunnings with my three children, all under 3.5 years old, on my own. I’d been watching too much of The Block (is there such a thing???), too much Reno Rumble (there definitely is such a thing – sorry Scotty Cam – I still love you), and I needed succulents and an aggregate pot. I could not bear another day without these items. If I didn’t have them then and there, my home would no longer be fit for human habitation. So why not go out for an afternoon adventure to Bunnings. Good idea.

Big mistake.

Horrible. Terrible.

Big. Huge. Mistake.

Error in judgement number one: “I won’t need the pram”.


Now frankly, it went quite well to begin with. I sashayed past the sausage sizzle stand in the carpark holding my littlest on my hip, with my twins hand in hand, feeling smug about my super mumness.

I am amazing. Look at me with my brushed hair and my matching shoes and my three kids doing what I tell them to.

Smugger still, when one of the sausage sizzle volunteers called out “good job mum!!”.

Yes, I am amazing. Look at people noticing how amazing I am.

imageI managed to get my three year old double act past the instore playground of death and salmonella without so much as a pleading tone or stern word. I didn’t even glance fleetingly at the Hardware café, lamenting its lack of licensing.  I mean I would never need a soothing alcoholic beverage at Bunnings anyway. Never ever. Not any time that I have ever been there. Nobody goes to Bunnings to get hammered.

I’ve got this, I am amazing and nobody else is a better mother than me. Yay me!


It was with sheer disbelief and yet more smugness that I swanned through the checkout, surrounded by much oohing and ahhing about how lovely my children are (subtle code for what an amazing mother I am) and happily allowed the check-out operator to pack a box of items for me to carry on my other hip. I can do this, I don’t need a free hand. Because I am nailing this and I am woman, hear me roar, in numbers too big to ignore. I am the Nordic Goddess Frigg – goddess of marriage, motherhood, childbirth and wisdom. Come to me with your questions and fears, because I am filled with much knowledge and wisdom.

And then came the balloons.

Would my children like a balloon? Why of course. Absolutely. Because I am a loving mother, kind and generous to a fault and my children deserve balloons because they have been so wonderfully well behaved. Balloons on STICKS no less. Because if there is anything better than the magnificence that is the balloon, it is the balloon on a STICK.

Until, that is, you walk outside the hallowed doors of Bunnings and a mere breath of wind moves the air. Until a sparrow farts and creates a slight stir in the atmospheric pressure.

At which point one’s hard earned balloon; one’s much beloved balloon that is coveted with one’s life; one’s newly appointed most favourite item in the history of free items given out to placate children at large chain stores, takes leave of its tenuous attachment to aforementioned wonder stick and proceeds to fly across the car park.

Two children. Frantically waving around two lonely white plastic sticks. Two balloons bouncing tauntingly in two different directions across the Bunnings car park.

And suddenly I am the Nordic goddess of frigging hell my kids are in the middle of oncoming traffic.

My kids wailing like arctic sea lions grieving the demise of their young to the waiting jaws of an orca pod. Darting around desperately in front of slow moving vehicles trying to retrieve their holy items.

imageAnd there I am, in the middle of a traffic island, baby on one hip, attempting to free my hands of precious channel 9 approved succulents and highly breakable design savvy pots while caterwauling at my hysterically crying children who are frantically chasing their balloons, like lambs to the slaughter, in front of large four wheel drive type vehicles because that’s the kind of vehicle one drives to Bunnings. If not being run down by oncoming vehicular death traps then at the very least nearly poking each other’s eyes out with white balloon sticks come Game of Thrones calibre deadly weapons.

Calculating retrieval plan. Brain attempts to assess danger level of placing slow crawling baby on traffic island relative to leaving two fully mobile children already amid carpark of doom to fend for themselves in the great balloon emancipation of 2015.

Aforementioned ingratiating sausage sizzle volunteer appears stage left to come to my rescue.

Enter pitying “you fail at life” eyes as pro bono sausage chef retrieves my children while Bunnings red shirted superhero appears from nowhere (otherwise known as the trade counter), collects bouncing balloons and swans in graciously accepting my offer of thanks and undying gratitude for not forcing me to break either my on trend earthenware or my children’s limbs.


And here is where I am afforded a two person entourage to chaperone me to my car. Never have I felt less like a rock star despite having my own security guard come super-nanny and professional Atkins approved chef. All the while, the giant red gavel of judgement looming over me as I’m shame facedly escorted to my car.

“We see this happen all the time” I am told reassuringly by the red shirted balloon baron.

AH HA!!!! I knew this wasn’t my fault. BUNNINGS!!! Bunnings is to blame!! Bunnings nearly killed my children with inadequate balloon stick attachment specialists. This might be cause for a strongly worded letter.

And yet, amid the clear negligence of Bunnings balloon stick securers I am irrevocably softened as a long standing and universal question has finally been answered. Ever been in Bunnings, beseechingly searching for the sweet pea seeds or a do it yourself shower screen installation kit, and there is nary a red shirted sales expert in sight?

Well now you know where they are.

Doing their civic duty in the car park, helping a frazzled and flummoxed mother of three who thought she was nailing it (and was clearly mistaken), get to her car without losing her children and her dignity.

Thanks Bunnings, I owe you one.

47 thoughts on “Balloons kill kids: nailing motherhood at Bunnings 

  1. Shit!! That is funny! Sorry, I am laughing at your expense, and your kid’s near-taken-lives! Your poor woman! But when you wrote about not taking the pram, I screamed at my computer screen, “NO!! STUPID GIRL!!! NOOOOO!”. Bunnings new tagline should be – Bunnings….Don’t even think about taking your kids here, they may die!

    Very funny lovely. xo

    Liked by 1 person

      1. My hubby works at mitre10 and I can assure you, if he helps you and smiles, it’s because no matter how stressed you are, you’re doing better than his wife 😘 enjoy mitre10, it’s in their job description to help you to the car 😝 “mighty helpful, mitre10”


  2. Wow you got passed the sausage sizzle and the playground? You are still absolutely amazing in my books despite the balloon incident 😉


  3. Bloody hell I thought my trip to the shopping centre was fraught with danger and potential loss of marbles, this was an actual LIFE OR DEATH situation!! Bunnings IS a death trap and those effing balloons are a menace!


  4. Oh no!!! How hilariously horrible!!

    My mum would ALWAYS refuse balloons and I always thought that she was (rather selfishly) avoiding the popping and inevitable wails that would follow. I didn’t know she was saving our lives!!

    Awesome pun usage too! I ‘saw’ some of them coming but overall, you didn’t ‘screw’ any up! Great work! Lolllll


  5. Hahaha!!! Oh dear god, that had me in hysterics! We have Bunnings in NZ (yes, at long last I can relate!) and we have the balloon debacle EVERY TIME! Granted I do live in Wellington which is the windiest city ever! My husband once made the mistake of opening the window of the car which said balloon then took off out – cue hysterics! And I have no problem until it is time to leave said playground, then I look like I am a kidnapper as they kick and scream. Now I leave them at home and do the plant shopping alone, I value my sanity too much. You are a legend for even trying!

    PS: Pram. Take the pram!!


  6. I have so been there. 2 year old twins was bad enough for me. Couldn’t imagine with 3!!! Now if they bring any balloons near me I give them the death stare and they quickly walk the other way. Never again a balloon on a stick!!!!!!!


  7. OMG I am actually in hysterics! What a great article!
    As a mum of 1yo twins and a 3yo & 5yo I can totally sympathise!
    This completely captures all of the emotions!
    Ha I seriously love this. Am still cackling!
    Smugness/ supermumness/ entourage back to the car ha haaaa!
    Love. I just have to share this on my page too 🙂


  8. I’ve seen this happen quite a few times now. I hope all those that this happened to have written a formal complaint to the stores or at least raised the issue with management, so that they can recognise the issue and something can be done about it; whether they get better attachments or give out balloons that havnt been blown up instead.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. It’s handy to be allergic to latex LOL of course that makes a trip to anywhere with complimentary balloons and/or balloon displays kind of not fun (breathing is important).

    I couldn’t help but giggle like a mad thing though. i only have one child……..and he is either in a carrier or a trolley because he loves Bunnings XD


  10. So glad i read this. Can definitely relate. Our local Bunnings doesn’t have balloons anymore 🙂 but my daughter managed to slip on the extremely shiny floors on the weekend. Shes ok now, just a bump on the head and she was happy to get a free apple juice from lovely staff.


  11. I made the rookie mistake of letting my 2 year old in the playground. Now I get screaming hysterics whenever I am any where near Bunnings and we don’t “go there mummy!”


  12. Oh yes, I hate those balloons. Not only do they fall off, every.single.time but then you are left with a eye poking stick! Good call.
    And don’t get me started on the little kiddie trolleys! Kids are not capable of steering trolleys. They don’t have the gross motor skills to steer around people and have no idea of keeping away from others heels! We had a situation last week where my youngest was pushing one (after being told not to take one mind you, like she is every single time!) and she clipped the back of hubby’s heel. Bad enough, but the trolley bounced off his shoe back at her, where the pole of the ever useful flag thingy, bashed into her head. Immediately bringing a purple egg and wails and tears. And not much sympathy from mum as I had told her not to take the trolley right!? The Bunnings man obviously felt sympathy and probably thought me a bad mother and gave her a Bunnings pencil case.


  13. I hate free balloons. Even if they make it to the car the balloons and sticks then become projectiles and weapons. How a child hasn’t poked another’s eyes out with a stick is beyond me. And it’s always fun driving home while being bonked on the head with a free balloon. (But seriously – I love Bunnings … just not their free balloons).


  14. Hey Liv,

    I came across your post and completely sympathise with you, particularly as a father myself, you must have found the whole experience terrifying.

    I’ll be honest, I’m the marketing manager at B-Loony Ltd, we’re a UK balloon printer and manufacturer. This isn’t really a plug, but I sincerely hope that by informing you about the product we have created, together we can encourage big brands to use a safer alternative to the traditional balloon ‘cup and stick’.

    Several years ago we completely re-invented the balloon stick which you mentioned, because our clients and ourselves were equally concerned about the safety aspects of the only option on the market.

    The balloon stick you described has a ‘cup’ to which the balloon is tied; the cup is then simply pushed onto the stick, no other fastening, it’s just as easy to pull it back off as it is to put on, and that’s where the main issue lies, it’s too easy for the balloon and cup to detach and fly off as you describe.

    What we did was to mould a stick from one piece of plastic, simple really, but very effective. The balloon is tied to the stick (not knotted first) and therefore nothing can come loose!

    Even if the balloon were to come loose, which it shouldn’t unless someone literally unties it, because the balloon has not been knotted, it will rapidly deflate – no bouncy balloon to chase.

    The stick itself is made from polypropylene, it’s very flexible, so flexible in fact that you can bend it in half and back again numerous times without it breaking. This is great for kids, as it means there are no sharp edges to poke into anyone’s eyes, whereas snapping a traditional balloon stick would leave sharp edges.

    Lastly, because we’ve made the stick solid, and not hollow like the traditional version, it’s a bit weightier. Therefore, if a child does drop the stick and the attached balloon, it will just sit on the floor, it will resist most light winds and stay in place, unlike the cup and stick alternative which can easily blow away.

    It’s a shame that so many big brands still use the traditional sticks, but we have found that once educated as to our alternative, most are keen to switch.

    If you ever see anyone with the older versions again, maybe you would let them know that safer alternatives are available, in a range of colours too!

    You can direct anyone interested here:

    Kind regards,
    Kris Baker, Marketing Manager
    B-Loony Ltd


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