Sold Out By Kids

Ron Nagasawa is on vacation. This column was originally published June 15, 2005.

I have to say that I am the proud father of two enterprising young kids. Our 16-year-old son and 8-year-old daughter both have the makings of great entrepreneurs. They just need some practical experience, although after a recent sales trial, Ronald “Trump” Nagasawa nearly had to fire them. Both kids just finished their school year, and our son was about to embark on a summer school mission to teach math and English to students in the Marshall Islands. He wanted to earn some money to take with him.

Our daughter, however, is a total material girl. She wanted to earn money to go shopping. My wife suggested that they hold a garage sale. It was a brilliant idea because it caused them to both clean their rooms out, rummaging for items to sell and make money. Suddenly, my wife turned into some kind of garage sale consultant.

She gave me a list of stuff to go out and buy. We needed supplies to make and hang signs. She wanted me to purchase bottled water and ice to serve potential customers. She also wanted me to buy a dozen fresh-baked doughnuts for the kids to use to close their sales negotiations.

When I returned with all the stuff, I had spent more money than we could ever hope to recover that day, but my wife insisted that it was for the kids. In the course of the first few hours, they needed dollar bills in order to make change for their customers. I gave them 10 $1 bills and a couple of fives. Again I was holding the bag because I received no large bills in exchange from them. My wife reminded me it was for the kids.

I decided to hide out in the house before they cleaned me out. The next morning I was leaving for work and went into the garage to put on my shoes. They were gone. I was frantic as they were $200 Bostonians. I checked with my wife, who suspected that we forgot to teach the kids one lesson – that a garage sale doesn’t mean to sell everything in the garage. I woke up the kids and asked if they saw my shoes. That’s when I got the bad rap, or should I say bad rapper. They sold them for “50 Cents.”