From the Mouths of Babes… A lesson in economics

We were blessed that day. We had brought our international student from Japan who had been staying with us for the past few weeks down to Florida with us because we had a conference we needed to attend. (international student hosting background found here) Our friend who works at Disney got him, myself and my princess-loving four year old daughter into the Disney theme parks. The lines for rides were so short that we were able to jump from Animal Kingdom to Epcot and then to the Magic Kingdom all in one day. Katy-Grace had triumphantly ridden roller coasters with Tetsu (our Japanese student) and Allen (Korean friend who works at Disney) while her pregnant mamma waited for them to be done. I had SUCH a fun day with this middle child of mine whose love and attention tank never seems to be quite full enough and who can often get lost in the shuffle of my troupe of kiddos. I watched her excited flustered face as she proudly returned from riding the big girl roller coasters, I watched it light up in awe and wonder at being in the presence of “real” princesses, and I held her hand in mine as her little legs tried to keep in step with mamma power housing through the parks so we could ride as many rides as possible while she chatted away about all she saw and thought. I was so proud of how well she had done, how much energy she had, and how this had been the first melt-down free day we had had in a LONG time. We had hit up three parks, the Magic Kingdom parade and fireworks, during which, I got this news, and now it was 9 pm, and we were helping Tetsu find souvenirs to bring home to all his family and friends.

Walking through all those stores and all those wonderful Disney items was like a dream to Katy-Grace. And she must have figured that since we were IN the store we needed to purchase MOST of the things in it. Disney is a place where dreams come true, isn’t it?

except for when your mother is frugal and just started the Dave Ramsey course and won’t buy into the dreamlike spell that overcomes you and your credit card in that magical place.

At first I occupied her with:

“How ’bout you try everything on that you like and I’ll take some (cough, cough FREE) pictures of you on my phone. So we did that for a while:

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Tetsu, who was actually buying souvenirs and Katy-Grace who was not.

Tetsu, who was actually buying souvenirs and Katy-Grace who was not.

But then we needed to help Tetsu find some keychains of characters requested by friends back in Japan, so we visited rows and rows and rows of tiny plastic figurines hung on little loops of metal.  Those wonderful items that cost about 13 cents a piece to make in some Chinese factory that underpays its workers, but costs $8.95 a piece in that magical Disney store.

I turned my head for thirty seconds and then look to find 10 of them strung out on Katy-Grace’s little fingers, and I meet her pleading eyes and pleading words.

“Mamma, can’t we just get THHEEEESE…I really want to get presents for all my brothers and sister and my friends. PLEEEEASE Mommy.

I have to admit, I admired her generous heart, but after about 30 “No, honey”‘s to each new request, I decide that I would need to leave Tetsu and Allen to work out souvenir shopping and Katy-Grace and Mommy would wait outside.  This is where the discourse began.

I explained again that everything there was way too expensive and I already have to deal with the kids not taking care of the things they already have and how if we got a key chain I just know I would end of vacuuming it up or it would get lost and it really is a waste of money and it is way overpriced, etc. etc.

You know. All the things a 4 year old girl wants to hear at Disney World.

So she sat in frustrated silence.

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and overwhelming sorrow:

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And after thinking it over for a while, exclaims:

“Its not fair!  Its like they WANT to take our money. They just want more money and so they want to take ours!”

“Exactly”

was the pregnant mamma’s too-tired-to-show-much-sympathy response.

“Its not fair….I think they WANT us to be poor. Just so they can be RICH!”

“Exactly”

was my next response along with inward pride over my brilliant four year old’s capacity to understand capitalism in its glorious display at Disney.

She wasn’t too proud of herself.

She just proceeded to flee her exasperating mother.

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And go pout in the corner:

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But somehow I was able to woo her out of hiding, with my phone and the pictures all the wonderful (free) memories we had made and the fun we had had. I reminded her that God had already given us so many gifts that day, and we needed to keep thanking Him for them.  And, under a wave of Holy Spirit inspired wisdomI told her I’d print out the pictures of her with Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty (for a grand total of .39 cents at Walgreens), which landed a big ‘ole smile on that pouting face. Sigh.  Looming disaster diverted.

And those treasured memories can, for free, be forever preserved on this piece of the internet. And we didn’t even have to buy one of those $21 photos from Disney Photopass.

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