Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Gypsy Math Lesson

Some of you have heard tell of the gypsy math lesson.

A few of you have raised objections about its name.

Others have raised objections about what you see as me pimping out my kid.

But all i know is the kiddo has been learning one hell of a lesson about math and human nature, and she's more than ready for addition, subtraction and even fractions in the classroom.

It goes like this:

The kiddo and i have been making flower pins for the hair, and she's been selling them at the festivals we've been attending this summer. At the Northwest String Summit the whole tribe of Harmony kids got in on the fun -- first taking apart a bouquet of silk flowers, gluing the blooms onto hair pins, watching them dry and then hawking them on a blanket near the rest of the vendors.

Women old and young can't resist; you see them stroll past the blanket, casting the initial uninterested look the kids' way. Then their gait starts to weave in the direction of the five-year old cherubs, so earnestly trying to get their attention. Most times they don't even know what the kids are selling until they get a good look inside the jewelry box positioned on the back side of the blanket. But by then they're hooked. The girls proudly announce it'll be one for two bucks, or two for three, twirling the fake blooms into the unsuspecting customer's hands. The ladies paw their pockets for loose change and walk off a little more festive-looking than they were before.

This last time, the girls sold out. Then i went back to town for more flowers and they sold out again. When it was all said and done, each of the kids knew how to make change from a five-dollar bill. They each got to buy a sno-cone or two with their own money. They learned lessons about what things cost and what they must do to earn enough to buy what they'd like.

It's a great summer lesson, this gypsy math, and i'm sorry to disappoint the naysayers by saying we'll be doing it again next year.

But when the sun goes away again and we all start hiding away inside for the season, we'll probably switch back to an allowance. Gypsy math is making me broke.


Kaydee said...

well maybe next years lesson can include calculating the start up capital of investing in fake flowers/barrettes/glue and then make a business/pricing strategy for break-even minimum or profits? I like where you're goin with this.

Nicole Vulcan said...

I fully meant to include a lesson about overhead costs but then they got so excited about how much money they were making i didn't have the heart to pull out my own share. I guess the ladies on shakedown street were not the only ones who fell prey to the sweet smiles of the salesgirls...

Kaydee said...

that's cute. :)