Ricki occasionally gets a bit of loose change from me as spending money, or as a “prize”. She has always saved it away, and recently her brother and I counted the 10-agorot (2-cent) coins, and the few larger pieces. She had over$10 (ie., 40 shekels) in all.
So, with my encouragement, she went on her own to the little trinkets store next door. Twenty minutes later she came back with a small cheap computer game. I fetched from my closet some matching batteries, and discovered that the item did not work. I sent her back, explaining an important lesson: If you buy something and it doesn’t work, you return it. You are not going to be anybody’s sucker (intentional or not). The store happily exchanged it for a different item. It turned out that this item was broken. (I know the store owners, who are people that appreciate Ricki very much. The shoddy stuff was not given to her on purpose, it was bad luck. In fact, she has made small purchases there often. This was simply the first time she had gone with the sum of over a dollar.) I sent her back, but the store was closed for the weekend.
So on the next open day, I sent Ricki back, but with her 16 year-old brother as an “advisor”. I want her to have as much independence as possible, but I don’t want to drive the store owners crazy, either.
As I looked at this, I realized that teaching someone to shop is complicated:
- how to choose what to buy
- handling money
- returning objects
- realizing what has (needs) batteries, and calculating that into the purchase
- good deal/ bad deal… and calculating comparative/reasonable costs
Gee, I get “fuzzy mind” “I don’t want to deal with this” just thinking of the amount of stuff she will need to learn. I suspect that she may always be a bit dependent on the reasonableness of store owners… a dependency I would like to avoid. I’m not really sure yet how we will get there.