As you would imagine, we get lots of school groups on field trips at Kartchner Caverns State Park. Most of the kids visit the gift shop to buy some sort of souvenir. It's always very hectic when the gift shop gets overrun with lots of school age kids, but it's fun too.
When the kids come to the registers to pay, many of them don't think about sales tax, and we scrounge for odd amounts of change so they can buy their treasures. I can't tell you how many teachers have forked over money from their own wallets to help them out.
Even at age 6 or 7, the kids are really different when it comes to handling their money. Some of them carry their money in a wallet, with the dollars folded neatly...others hand me a wad of dollars and then wait for me to straighten them out and let them know if they have enough money.
Most of the kids have between $10 and $20 dollars...some more, and some less. When any of the kids put several items on the counter to purchase, I have learned to ask them how much money they have. Many times, they have to put some items back on the shelves.
Well, the other day, we had a group of 3rd graders visit the gift shop. It was crazy...long lines of loud kids. I was moving the line as quickly as I could, when the next little girl in line put several items on the counter...including a couple of stuffed animals, necklaces, different rocks and some candy. I asked her how much money she had. She dug into her purse and handed me a Visa debit card...with HER picture on the front! My manager was standing nearby, and I showed it to her. She had seen this happen before and wasn't too surprised. I couldn't believe it.
I rang up the sale, and this 8 year old little girl bought over $40 worth of stuff. When she "signed" the receipt, she printed her name. I couldn't help but think what this little girl is learning about finances. She was able to buy whatever she wanted with no regard to price.
Yes, things sure have changed since I was a kid!