Monday, July 23, 2007

In Which Wii Sell Our Metal Goods . . .

Part I: Lessons From the Farmer's Market

So, we have been contemplating the purchase of a Nintendo Wii for quite some time. It was one of those things where when I was ready, Matt was reluctant, and when Matt was ready, I was reluctant. Two weeks ago, we finally hit it - we were both ready at the same time - and Wal-Mart was out. Now, many of you may have seen this as a sign from God (or multiple signs, being with the ready, not ready, no stock, etc), but our faith is so much deeper than that - we saw it as a test of our perseverance ;-)

We decided to take our craft to the local Farmer's Market last weekend. This is in addition to our 6 or 7 main shows - so we decided that whatever we made could go to the Wii fund. We enlisted both of the boys to help, and promised to pay them a wage. Chance has visions of a new skateboard, Colton, just visions of playing that claw video game, in which for $1 you have the opportunity to win a cheesy stuffed animal that isn't even worth 25 cents.

So, we all got up at 5:30, bright and cheery, to be in town to the market by 6:30 - this was a feat in and of itself (the bright and cheery part, that is). We got our little booth set up, and Matt promptly broke the "you must sell something before you can buy anything" rule, and sent me the short block to Starbucks for a little morning encouragement. By the time I returned, the boys had thankfully sold some items, which covered my Starbucks expenses, but hadn't yet sold enough to visit either of the bakery booths for a little breakfast action. As we were all getting hungry after our hard work setting up, it was quite a relief to have another sale fairly quickly, so that we could send Matt off for some Cinnamon Pull-Aparts. Colton is pretty much oblivious to the goings on, but Chance is quickly seeing how fast the money can go out once you earn it.

Chance is working the counter (which is really a folding table and chairs), taking customer's money and putting their purchases into fancy bags which strikingly resemble tall kitchen garbage bags. Colton, ever the outgoing one, talks to each customer, points out which items he stuck in the hay bales, tells the price of each item (even though they are all the same), and repeatedly asks which one they'd like in their own garden - as we repeatedly tell him that we are really more "low pressure" on the sales end, and that he should keep it to a simple greeting. I'll let you guess how well this worked.

After awhile, both boys are starting to show signs of a late night combined with a very early morning, and retreat to the pickup with their pillows and blankets for a couple of hours of sleep. Chance got a good rest in - Colton was more intrigued/irritated with the bird in the tree that was shrieking, the music that was playing, the people that were walking by, and when could he have another sticky bun?!

A bit after noon, we loaded the booth back in the pickup and headed off toward home. On the way home, it was $$ time. I counted up what we made. Chance's eyes were wide as saucers - in his little mind, that was enough for a skateboard, a skate park, maybe some extra pads and helmet, and a skate board video game. So, then, we started talking expenses. We talked about how much metal we would have to buy to replace the items we had sold (about 40% of our profit, this time); we talked about the fee we paid to the market, the items we bought while there, the money we spent in diesel to get the truck to the market and back, etc. Suddenly, the dollars we made were cut to less than half of the gross income. Chance's eyes got even wider.

We then gave each boy an opportunity to negotiate for their wage for the day. We talked about how much they each did to help, how many hours they worked, how many hours they napped, and how much they could actually do. Chance ended up with $10 for the day, and Colton ended up with $4. The rest - into the Wii fund.

Some things we gleaned from the day:
  1. Chance thinks "we sure have a lot of bills to pay."
  2. Colton doesn't care if we make any money before we spend some on sticky buns.
  3. Colton loves the Farmer's Market music (yes, it's bluegrass Papa Chuck!)
  4. Colton thought he should have gotten $20 for his contribution.
  5. Matt and I both thought $4 was more than enough for a 4-year-old.
  6. Chance disagreed, and gave Colton $2 of his own pay once we got home.
  7. We all learned what we could do when we worked together for a common goal.

To be continued tomorrow, in which Wii attempt to purchase said video game system . . . .

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