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Friday, March 27, 2015

Learning to take things as they are

Friday, March 27, 2015 By

This was my face, pretty much the whole time I was
trying to explain this situation to Emerson.

AUGUSTA, GA. - Emerson and I are going through the house and clearing out clutter to sell online. Books, clothes, shoes, toys, small appliances I never use, etc. We've made about $100 so far, with a $1,000 goal.

In the process, she decided to take some of her books to sell at her school. I wasn't convinced that it was a good idea, but she assured me it would be fine. I had reservations.

"MOM! I sold some books!" she said when I picked her up. "I made SEVEN dollars!"

"Wow, that's great, honey! How many books did you sell?"

"I sold three books. I thought that about $2 apiece was a fair price, but then the Diary of a Wimpy Kid book was more expensive, because it has a hard cover."

"Oh, okay. Well, that seems pretty fair."

"See? Look. It's a Sacajawea coin. It's worth $5."

Uh oh... I don't think this is how it works.
"What do you mean, Doodle?"

"It's a $1 coin, but it's really worth $5. A. has a book, and she said it was worth $5. So I told L. that was fine to give me just the coin, and I gave her one dollar back. And then I have two dollars here. So I made seven dollars!"

"Umm.... did you see the coin book?"

"No, she has it at home."

"Honey.. I don't think it works that way."

"Yeahhuh, A. has a book that tells you what things are worth!"

"Okay, let me just Google it."


Unfortunately, it was as a I suspected. Because the coin was a 2001P, and had been in circulation, it was only worth face value.

"The face value means the amount written on the coin. See, honey, it's worth $5 only if you can sell it to someone who also thinks it's worth $5. And there are stores that buy coins, but then they have to sell it and make a profit, so if you sell it to them, they can only give you about half what it's worth."

"What?! I got cheated!"

"Well, hold on. You're still holding one dollar, the face value of the coin. And it sounds like this was an honest mistake that L. made - and that you agreed to."

"Ugh... yeah, I did agree to it, but that was because we all thought it was worth $5. She owes me $4!"

"Hmm. I'm not saying you're wrong. I just don't know, Em. All three of you made honest mistakes, and L. is your friend. Maybe it's not worth the stress."

Emerson stared down at the coin in her hands and thought in silence for a few moments.

"I think I have to talk to her about it. I think what I have to say is, 'I'm not saying anybody is wrong,  but A.'s book made a mistake. This coin is only worth one dollar. Face value.' I think from now on I should only take things that I know what it's worth."

"Well... I think this lesson was definitely worth $4."

"Yeah. From now on, I'm going to take things at their face value."


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