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How Would You Handle It? My Son Sold A Toy For Too Much!

Hey everyone and happy Monday! We’re gonna start a new thread around these parts called, “ How would you handle it?” You already know my take on modern motherhood; for those of you coming in on the middle of the movie, you can read about it here. It’s a big gig, one that we relish for the most part. But there really are situations that stump us all and, given the collaborative nature of GEM, I figure we can rely on each other to find solutions. Plus it’s a hell of a lot cheaper than therapy. Okay so here’s we go, the first installment of, “How would you handle it?”

Last night I was in my son’s room, which could have been mistaken for the Knicks locker room, what with the underwear on the floor and faint smell of b.o. Just as my eyes were starting to water uncontrollably, I spied 30 bucks lying on his desk. Now I am keenly aware of how much money this kid has at all times, given I’m the one who gives it to him in the form of allowance  and what was on the desk was about a month’s worth.

“Where did that money come from?” I asked, pinching my nose in an effort to ward off the olfactory assault. “Oh, Michael bought that old gun from me.” Now, “that old gun” was a broken, piece of junk, a toy one of Cole’s friends gave him that, when the trigger was pulled, made the most annoying, clacking sound. I was happy to see it go but there’s no way in hell it was worth 30 bucks.

“You have to give some of that money back.” I told Cole, which of course was just the spark we needed for the Battle Royale that ensued just before bedtime. I tried to explain to my baby boy  the importance of being fair because, “that’s what we do in this family.” Cole shook his head, “But mom, Michael offered it. This is how much he wanted to pay.”

The story ends this way. I told Cole he had to give back ten dollars or I was taking all his electronics for the year (Please God, don’t let him make me do that!). I also told him I’d be calling Michael’s mother to make sure Cole had done that (oh great, now SHE’LL be pissed her son even bought that hunk of junk). Needless to say, Cole wasn’t real happy with me last night and won’t be today either when he has to turn over that ten-spot.

Okay, so, how would you handle it? Did I do the right thing in insisting Cole give back some of the money or should I have applauded my son’s entrepreneurial spirit? What would you have done?


  1. PiecesOfEight

    October 3, 2011 at 6:44 am

    Michael gave hm the $30 free and clear…

    How do you know that it wasnt worth more? With Antiques Roadshow you never know…

    If Cole had charged $30, then it would be okay to give some back , but the other kids offered the money.

    Let him keep it.

  2. Beth

    October 3, 2011 at 7:14 am

    I probably would have invoked some guilt: “You really want to take advantage of your friend like that?”

  3. keith

    October 3, 2011 at 7:43 am

    Yea, I would have let him keep it too. If someone offered to pay too much for an automobile or a dealership offered an obnoxious trade in value, wouldnt you take it? It really isnt any different except the numbers are bigger.

  4. Adrienne

    October 3, 2011 at 7:56 am

    I am far from this stage but I would like to think that I would handle it similarly…..I would also be wondering where the friend got $30 at that age but doesn’t have the sense to not overpay for a broken toy. He certainly doesn’t have that much money because he is a smart shopper! An alternative to your threat would be “you can either return x amount of dollars or go and buy him a new version of x toy with the extra”

  5. Lamar @

    October 3, 2011 at 10:14 am

    Awww let him keep it. As long as his friend knew the condition of the gun what’s the problem? Unless you know that a new gun is the same price I would have been proud of the young entrepreneur. Cole learned firsthand two important life lessons that are usually learned from the wrong side of the deal:

    “closed mouths don’t get fed on this boulevard”
    “it’s not what you’re worth it’s what you negotiate”

  6. Carol

    October 3, 2011 at 11:17 am

    omg… It’s like we live in a parallel universe! The same thing happened with my son recently. Fortunately, one of his favorite shows is Pawn Stars. In one episode someone took something into the pawn shop that was worth much more than they were asking. Rick (the owner) said he wanted to be fair, had the item appraised, and ended up giving the customer more than they were originally asking. So I reminded my son of this episode. He and his friend did an ebay search for similar items and ended up adjusting their original transaction on their own. Fairness prevailed.

  7. m.e. johnson

    October 3, 2011 at 12:00 pm

    I like Carol’s answer. When I hear “Let him keep it”, I hear “He got over. No big deal.” That’s why this country is in such a tragic mess today. By any other name it’s GREED. Isn’t that one of the deadly sins?

  8. jacki marie

    October 3, 2011 at 2:48 pm

    my first thought was Ebay and then Economics (Supply and Demand). I like Carol’s answer too. I would have had my son do some research and then have him do the fair thing, maybe educating his friend in the process. If this were a situation with adults, it would be different. But with teens…

  9. Kristin

    October 3, 2011 at 9:46 pm

    The buyer was another child. If it had been an adult, I’d feel differently, but kids don’t always understand the monetary value of items. I wouldn’t want my child spending money he’d saved from months of allowance (I’ll be giving a tiny weekly allowance!) on something he could pick up at a yard sale for $5.

    Long story short: I like how you handled it.

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