Living for the Journey: By Pam Robinson
Like many teens, my 15-year-old daughter Jessica gained a lesson about economics the hard way when a highly-anticipated summer job failed to materialize this year. Her disappointment, however, only fueled her imagination. She developed creative ways to earn spending money, such as bathing and grooming our Pomeranian, Yorkie and dachshund and detailing my candy apple red Sebring. I must say, never have our three dogs or my car (aka Babe) looked so good for so long.
Jessica landed upon her best idea for earning money, however, around the middle of July. Determined to help de-clutter the basement, she struck a deal with her dad Jim and me: she would clear out the basement if she could keep the profits from selling all the unwanted ‘trash.’ Nothing is beneath a young woman entering high school as a sophomore, or so it seemed to me, and wanting new clothes to start class.
Jim and I couldn’t believe our good fortune. Not only would Jessica unearth a large bedroom and family room in the basement, but she would help her dear old dad to hang onto more of his pension by buying her back-to-school wardrobe herself.
Our daughter’s demeanor and drive impressed Jim and me throughout the de-cluttering process. I’d be exaggerating if I claimed she whistled while she worked, but she did keep the beat of Adele and Justin Bieber. She may have even hummed a few bars, but the volume was set too loud to hear her.
Day after day for two weeks, Jessica tossed items too worn to try to pawn off on anybody and tagged the good stuff for sale. She cleared a path in the basement while carefully grouping the stuff in categories—books and movies, stuffed animals and toys, clothes and accessories. A separate corner held the furniture up for sale.
The night before and the morning of the sale, she arranged her groupings on long tables in our garage. Once the door opened for business at 7 a.m., she and her dad set the furniture in the driveway. She bartered like a pro with customers who asked for “the best price,” marking items down to move them quickly. She kept careful sales records in a spiral-bound notebook to know exactly when she earned more than the $80 we spotted her to make change. Her nieces, Addie and Paige Robinson, helped her to bag purchases.
By 1 p.m., the bulk of Jessica’s merchandise had been sold. She and her dad loaded his rusting blue Chevy S-10 with items left behind and dropped them off at the Posey County Thrift Shop.
Not until the garage door closed again did Jessica count her money—three times. Finally, still in disbelief, she reported her earnings. Let me just say that Jessica paid for all her new school clothes and rewarded each of her nieces with a little spending money of their own.
A gentle rain fell only once the garage sale ended. Jim and I couldn’t be more thankful that even the heavens seemed to conspire to teach our daughter the value of money and generous neighbors. We appreciate everyone who shopped with Jessica. She’s already planning next year’s bargain bonanza.