Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Downer of Having a Downsizing Dad

“Dad! I want to buy these walkie-talkies!” K.D. said excitedly as we walked by a display in our local Home Depot.

“Do you have enough money to buy them?” I asked, hoping that he would not.

“Yes! And I want to buy these,” he said as he longingly looked over the slick packaging. Little Foot was also taken in and started lobbying for K.D. to be able to buy them.

“But I don’t want any more stuff. We are trying to get to Africa and we need to be getting rid of stuff, not buying stuff,” I said with a hint of frustration over the prospect of buying something that was not biodegradable and a hint of guilt about being such a downer of a dad.

“But Dad! F.G. won’t let us play with hers and you won’t let us play with the ones you have,” they started complaining as if playing with walkie-talkies was an inalienable right put forth in our constitution.

Then the idea hit me.

“I’ll tell you what. I will let you boys buy walkie-talkies if you can fill two laundry baskets full of stuff you are willing to get rid of.”

The deal was on. When we got home, they scurried off to their room with the two laundry baskets I gave them. When the baskets were full, I sat down to order a pair online when I had another thought. Why do I want another pair of walkie-talkies in my house?

“Hey K.D.,” I said. “I’ll sell you my walkie-talkies.”

Now, I know that you are thinking I am a bad father. After all, I charged two laundry baskets full of stuff for the right to pay me money for some used walkie-talkies. Maybe you are right, but please don’t tell my kids that this is not how the real world works. Anna is so excited about the program that she filled a laundry basket full of stuff to get rid of and she doesn’t even know what she wants to buy yet.


Sean said...

If you're getting rid of the items in the baskets, we'll take Mastermind!

CrazyD said...

You can have the Mastermind game, Sean, but it comes with a catch - you have to take everything in the basket.

Welcome back and congrats on both of the big news items in your lives.

Janet said...

And K'Nex are wonderful! I'd ask for them, though the downside is I find them all over the house as it is!
Great economy going there! I was considered a mean mom when I got tired of my youngest whining for a pen from Scholastic. I told her I'd put pricetags on all the stuff she already has and she can buy back what she REALLY wants!

Bevila said...

Mark, that's a wonderful idea. It's a win-win situation, really. You get rid of things and they still get what they want!!

Anonymous said...

What do you do with the things you get rid of? I have stuff that is not perfect so I'ld feel bad about giving it to someone but it is still good enough that I can't bring my self to put it in the trash. So it sits around the house.

CrazyD said...

Normally we just donate the stuff to AMVETS or Goodwill. Now that we are getting rid of so much stuff, I collect it all in the garage attic and then we will have a garage sale this spring. In the past, I have not been a fan of garage sales, but I have to admit that people coming to my driveway and hauling the stuff away for me is pretty nice!

Kerry said...

As long as you are giving them a discount for your used junk, I think it's a great idea!

The Orange Jeep Dad said...

Wow, what a great idea. We used to have our own currency. I worked late one night creating Jones Bucks (our last name) and it was a big success for a couple of years. I think we valued it around 5 Jones bucks = $1.

Not sure why it worked but the kids did all kinds of extra chores for Jones Bucks. Then we'd let them spend it at the Target dollar spots. I like your idea of trading things in though. Less clutter is a happier house.