It’s Just That Easy

Ryan and two of his friends were hanging out the other night.  Earlier in the day before either friend came over, Ryan had been MySpacing one of them about buying baseball cards on ebay.  His friend had bought a Willie Mays card several months ago as an investment.  According to him, it has already increased in value.

That’s when Ryan’s little ears perked up.  Ryan is all about investments.  He knows he has time on his side and he’s willing to wait.  He wanted in on this baseball card investment thing.  I told him to make sure, as always, that he does his research before putting any of his hard-earned money on the line.  I trust him to do that.

True to form, Ryan spent some time researching a baseball bat signed by Willie Mays.  He was tempted to plunk down $300 and wait it out.  But after emailing the seller and discovering that the sale was final, he decided not to do it.  It just didn’t sit right with him.  And $300 is a lot of money.

$4.25, on the other hand, is not a lot of money.  When his two friends came over later that day they checked out several other baseball cards.  I was busy doing something else and figured they were having fun discussing cards, ebay, and investments.

That’s when Ryan came to me and asked me for my paypal account number.  Excuse me?  Apparently, his friend decided to add on to his collection and Ryan allowed him to buy his card using our ebay account.  In all fairness, we’ve done this before for one of Nathan’s friends but have long since retired that habit.  Ryan did not know this.

I now found myself in an awkward position.  I didn’t want to embarrass Ryan in front of his friends.  Unfortunately, I was so shocked that they had bought the card, I forgot to check my comments at the door first.  “Are you kidding me??  Absolutely not,” I blurted out.

All’s well that ends well.  I tried back peddling which never works, but paid for the $4.25 using my credit card.  Then I had Ryan pay me the $4.25 in cash.  I’m pretty sure his friend is good for the money, but I’d rather not be the one waiting around for it.

This little incident got me thinking about how easy it is for kids to buy stuff online.  Especially if they know their parent’s password.  But password or not, what are kids thinking about money when either they or their parents place orders on line?  Is there a connection between the hard work done to earn the money and the item that was bought?  Has technology made things so easy for us that it’s really making things harder?

And should parents be filtering their children’s access to “spending sites” just as ferverently as they filter their access to “adult” sites?

Some things are just too easy.

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