Thursday, October 28, 2010

Shopping with a 12 year old

I am currently on a long overdue vacation (but are you ever on vacation when you work from home and have a smart phone?). I chose the time of the vacation based on a marathon near my family. Sadly, it also coincides with elk season. This means that my father and older brother would not be home for my visit. Instead they would be doing their annual "armed nature hikes." I would call it hunting but that implies shooting something and they haven't done that for a few years now.

Today we decided to drive to Portland (about an hour away) and go the a mall. It would be me, my wife, my mother, my sister in-law and my nephew. I knew that my nephew would hate shopping with the women as much as me (maybe more since he is only 12) so I figured he and I could go to guy stores and have a better time (plus the women would have to listen to us complain about how board we were. Now my nephew just turned 12 and among his gifts he got, he got $60. Of course, this money was burning a huge hole in his pocket. The concept of saving money is just beyond his grasp at this time in his life. But since he would be with me, and I would not have a detailed list of what was okay for home to buy from his mother, I was worried that he would use the old "but Uncle Mike said it was okay" excuse to buy something his mother would not approve of. I had to come up with someway to keep him honest. And I must say, I think I came up with a good one. Just before we walked into the mall, I told him, in front of his mother, that if he bought anything with his money that his mother did not approve of, then that item would become mine. I asked his mother if that was okay with her and she, with a smile, said yes. And thus the two parties split ways and entered the mall.

Our first stop was to a directory as he wanted to go to a video game store. As we looked for the video game store, we also saw they had a Star Wars store. So we mapped out our two stores and headed off. Along the way, was came across a knife store and he had to go check it out. He pointed out several knifed he liked, then he spotted a mechanical Swiss army knife display that he had seen on the Tv show called the American Pickers. He was very excited about the display. However, he didn't try to buy anything from the store. He only said that he would have to come back with his mom. Our next stop was the video game store. Here the boy was in total torment as there were just too many games that he wanted to get but he could only afford one. After some heavy looking, he decided to go see the Star Wars store before making a purchase. The Star Wars store was cool to look at but all the really cool stuff was too expensive. Now we went back to the video game store were he toiled over which game to get all over again. Finally he picked one and I really hadn't thought much about my statement. However when he went to buy the game (and I knew it was a game his mom was okay with) he stopped. He wanted to call his mom because he said she didn't like the store we were in and was afraid she would not approved and he didn't want me to get his game. I finally convinced him that his mom would be be okay with it (which she was) and he bought the game.

We finally ended up at the arcade playing sone shoot 'em up together. We were still playing when the women showed up.

I remember what it was like to be 12 and have money to spend. I also remember that it was easier to get forgiveness than it was to get permission. This little trick worked really well. He knew what his mon would approve of and this just made him think before doing something (which for 12 year old boys can be quite a task).

After a nice lunch, we loaded back into the car and drove home. We all have a great day out.

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