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.
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
I say, “Go for it! Teach your kids and have
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
For details visit: http://pages.ebay.com/help/policies/user-agreement.html