This past Sunday was the annual Craft Fair at Clover's school. We usually spend most of our time huddling around the Pokemon table in the student craft section, but this year featured a new It item. (Most of the student vendors sell things they actually make, but a few sell Pokemon cards or comic books they've outgrown. My kids love it, and the cards and comics are priced low enough that they can feel like they did some shopping.)
This year two students sold wooden swords. Really nicely designed and crafted swords for about $20 apiece (the range was $18-22). Rocket immediately wanted one, but he's a kid who can turn pine into a serious weapon, thus I said no. Clover wanted one too, which would have made this a $40 expenditure. Plus, it's the hype. The kids were getting swept up in the moment of wanting the thing their friends were buying, but was it really going to bring $20 worth of entertainment? My guess is that in a day or two, the swords would have been added to an already generous toy heap.
One thing about private school is that there are families from various financial positions, so from the start I've tried to avoid any pull to keep up with other families. Some may be able to open their wallet throughout the event, handing their children crisp $20 bills whenever asked, but we can't and more than that, I don't want to do that either.
After 45 minutes of watching all of Clover's friends show her their swords, with one boy sincerely saying, "I'm sorry you can't get one," I decided to give in. The sword may be later used against her by her brother, but I didn't want her to have the feeling of being left out or worse, lesser than her friends. We could afford the sword, it wasn't that, I just didn't think it was a practical use of money.
Sometimes life isn't always about being practical, so we walked over to buy a sword. That's when we saw they were sold out. Within an hour, the two boys had sold 32 swords.
The strange thing is that Clover never complained about it again. My willingness to buy the sword seemed to have been enough. Also, she was focused on the entrepreneurial success of the two sword salesmen. She was impressed by the boys, who are probably only about fifth or sixth graders, and how they turned a simple idea into serious cash. The experience ended much more positively than I would have predicted.
Rocket, on the other hand, still whines about missing out on a new sword.