I think it's a reflection of our culture, even in these tough economic times, that kids always want us to boy them something.
Take my children for example. We love to frequent a little Mexican restaurant in town. We love it. And it happens to be next to a Dollar General store. "The Toy Store" my kids call it. We eat, then we go next door for a prize. I don't know why they get a prize, but they do. I certainly don't mind spending a dollar on each of them for a trinket, but it's the fact that it's expected - regardless of good or bad behavior - that bothers me. They think of it as a right, not a privilege.
How do I get them in the mindset that this is a privilege - one that can be taken away? I suppose that means when a child misbehaves they need to NOT get a toy. Then that child will cry and scream. In public (see our post on Embarrassing Little Darlings). Hm... easier said than done, right moms?
But it does bother me that my children think they deserve a prize for the littlest thing. Does that make them spoiled? Maybe it does. Maybe I need to break the cycle so that toys and prizes are an actual reward and not expected.