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Using eBay As an Educational Tool

Many years ago, as a young teenager, I remember being determined to have a summer job. To my chagrin, my father wouldn’t allow me to work at the corner store (the local teen hangout). Pressured to come up with a better alternative, he arrived home one day with the trunk of his car overflowing with beach bags, tote bags, sun umbrellas and flashlights. He showed me how to figure out wholesale cost, retail cost and how much to pay my younger brothers and sisters who, along with myself, would become the sales force, walking door-to-door throughout cottage country.

I never quite forgave him. What an awful way to spend a summer. But in a way, I think he saved me. He saved my brothers and sisters too. ‘Sales’ is not an easy life but if you are taught early enough, it can become second nature. How often do we all need to sell our employer or friends on an idea? Persuasive presentation can be a life-long asset.

It doesn’t seem safe to send our children on cold call selling, door-to-door anymore. But there may be other alternatives. Last night, after helping my teenager learn the ropes of Paypal and eBay, I realized that parents can still let their kids have this valuable learning experience. The venue has changed. That’s all.

My daughter, a talented artist who also designs her own teen fashions, has been hoping to start marketing her wares on eBay. Although leery at the onset, I am now beginning to see ‘eBay commerce’ as a valuable set of lessons for her.

Last night she learned how to decipher the various numbers of her checking account, the institution number, the transit number and her account number. She learned the importance of checking her account balance online.

In a couple of days she will take digital photos and create the html for her product descriptions. Hopefully, when she gets sales, some of them will be international. She will take more of an interest in geography and learn how to calculate the costs of shipping internationally. Of course, having to write descriptive advertising copy with flawless spelling and creating or finding product to sell are lessons in themselves.

In a way, our kids are much more lucky than we were. The basic premise of sales will always be the same. Now, with our supervision and guidance, they can learn in a safer environment and acquire so many other interesting and relevant skills at the same time.

I say, “Go for it! Teach your kids and have fun!

p.s. There is an eBay requirement that participants be at least eighteen years of age, however, younger children can still use the service in conjunction with, and under the supervision of a parent or guardians.
For details visit: http://pages.ebay.com/help/policies/user-agreement.html

Copyright © 1995-2012 Sara Jordan Publishing, a division of Jordan Music Productions Inc. All rights reserved.
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