Trader Joe's stops giving away balloons. Has it lost its marbles?

Brace yourself -- and the kids. Consumerist reports that Trader Joe's will stop giving out helium balloons to little kids. The news garnered dozens of comments in just a few short hours; as one disappointed Trader Joe's shopper put it: "Not only does a balloon make my son smile, but it actually does influence whether or not I shop at Trader Joe's."

So what's behind this? Will we soon see waves of diaper-wetting, tantrum-throwing tots storm the gates at the company's Needham, Mass. headquarters? As the father of two balloon-loving kids who'd never let me get out of Trader Joe's alive without a fistful of balloons, allow me to inject some clarity into an apparent scandal that deserves no less a title than "Balloongate."