Oatmeal and Hot Wheels

Posted by on Oct 7, 2014 in Personal | No Comments

A few minutes ago I was browsing through the ENDLESS digital pictures we have while thinking to myself how many of these are just plain junk. Then I came across this photo and it made me smile…big.

This photo represents the culmination of a story that reminds me how awesome my son is.

Oliver_hotwheels_webIf you know Oliver then you know EXACTLY what I’m talking about. If you don’t…your loss.

Garage Sale Day on our block is horrible. Well, horrible for me. We generally do not participate because deep down…actually…right on the surface…I am too lazy to get ready for it. Besides that, I don’t want other peoples junk, why would they want mine? All evidence is actually to the contrary seeing as how many people pack our street on these days when every other neighbor has set out there used and broken stuff and peddles away. The problem isn’t all the people on the street or all the stuff getting haggled over, it’s that my kids want to participate…as buyers!

On these days my kids shake out their piggy banks, look under their beds, offer to do extra chores for cash and then they are out the door searching for hidden treasure. Inevitably they bring home something that…and I have to be careful here because they have a different value system than I do…should have found a different home. One where perhaps everyone would appreciate it like they do.

Well, on this day, Oliver found something worthy of being found under the Christmas tree on Dec. 25th and he had to have it.

“Mom, can I have $30?” It started innocently enough.

“I don’t have $30.”

“Mom, can I go ask the neighbors if I can pick up sticks in their yard for 10 cents a piece so I can buy something at the garage sale?” Oliver asked.

“I don’t think that’s a very good idea Oliver, I’m not sure they will you pay you for that and you would have to pick up a lot sticks!” Came the reply.

“Mom, can I go ask the neighbors if I could clean their bathrooms for like 50 cents?” The urgency becoming obvious in his voice.

“No, I don’t want you cleaning the neighbors bathrooms.”

“Mom, please let me have some money!” Begging!

“I don’t have any money!” Exasperated


“Can I have a cookie sale!?” Eureka!

“I’ll tell you what, if you make the cookies, clean the kitchen, then you can sell the cookies, and maybe you can make enough money to buy your toy.” Mom finally conceded.

With a little supervision from his big brother while baking, an hour later Oliver had hung his shingle and was open for business. At first, though business was slow.

After enlisting his little sisters to help advertise and man the store Oliver trekked out across the neighborhood going into other peoples garages to let all their customers know that he had fresh baked goods. Still, even with pretty good traffic to his table, it did not look like he was going to get enough to buy his toy. Then a few either hungry or generous folks came and bought most of what was left. He had $20. Enough to barter with. Leaving his sisters again to watch the store, he headed down the street.

You could see the smile first. Then the big red and blue box in his hand. He didn’t even bother to slow down at the makeshift cookie stand that was still at the end of the driveway. Inside. To his room. It was open and he was playing. The entire enterprise forgotten.
It is an incredible lesson and a unique perspective. Oliver was single-minded in his desire to get this one thing. Even though he still had product remaining and he had proven that he could make money it didn’t matter. He had gotten what he wanted and so he was done. That’s not the lesson, that’s the perspective. The lesson? If you want something, and are single minded to it’s attainment, nothing can stop you, and no hurdle is too big. Just keep trying. Keep selling. And when you come up short, learn the art of the deal.