My daughter Lainey is 6 years old, and I love her. With her grandma along for the ride, Lainey recently honed her shopping skills at some neighborhood garage sales.
The first yard we visited sold a variety of tools, and Lainey sifted through the pile.
“Can I buy this one?” Lainey asked, holding up a yellow chip-clip marked 25-cents.
“You have ?” I asked.
Lainey shrugged and dove into her purse. Her face lit up as she retrieved the dollar bill her grandmother had given her earlier.
“Whoa!” I exclaimed. “A whole dollar? Well then buy whatever you want.”
Lainey grinned proudly and pumped her fist. She browsed the merchandise and discovered a three-part basket, built to sit on a desk and hold pencils. Lainey loves and toys, so this knick-knack was perfect. Except the price: $1. Worry crossed Lainey’s face as she realized she didn’t have enough cash for both the clip and the basket.
Grandma advised, “Ask if they’ll take 50-cents for it.”
Lainey’s jaw dropped as she realized that garage sale prices were merely suggestions. The girl walked over to the card-table cashier and dickered for the first time. And who could say no to such a sweetie?
“They’ll take it!” Lainey exclaimed. “Both of these for fifty cents!”
“What a bargain!” I applauded.
This was too fun, so we stopped by another sale. Lainey dove right in this time, and asked lower prices than before. Again, she was obliged by the seller, and made-out with a teddy bear, 24 mini fashion buttons, and a Magic School Bus , all for the low price of 40-cents! Lainey was amazed, “Look at all these bargains!”
“I’ve created a monster!” grandma laughed.
Lainey had a dime left so we hit one last sale. She stormed in and picked up a North Carolina lighthouse magnet. Nope—never been there. Next, a ceramic wizard statue. Nope—too fragile. Then she found a metal Jack-o-lantern bell. Price … 50-cents.
“Think they’ll sell it for ten?” Lainey wondered.
“The worst thing they can do is say no,” I shrugged.
Lainey brought home a pile of trinkets. She was proud of her bargains and bragged about them all day. The kid learned how to negotiate, and the art of the deal has been passed down. Shopping essential mastered— one step closer to womanhood.