Small bottles of Purrell hand sanitizer sell for $1 million. Erasers are cheap: just $12. My fourth-grade daughter is part of informal flea market in her all-girl classroom. During recess, lunch and free time, these girls sell real stuff: school supplies and trinkets with paper money that they made themselves.
At first, my daughter -- Miss Old Soul in a tiny body -- thought her classmates were out to lunch. Why would you sell good magic markers for fake paper money? That was her question, but as enviable products exchanged hands, she felt locked out of the paper market. The outcome: in the last few days, she has found her own niche, printed money, set up a store, interviewed employees and made a ton of paper money. And she's purchased a lot of cool stuff.
I laugh. But who am I tell her that her money is not real, especially since she has purchased markers that really work. And she is making a fortune in her toy pet store. In only two days of operations, she's made more money than I have in my lifetime.
My daughter gave me a two-part interview -- interrupted by bedtime -- and here are her thoughts.
How was the market?
A. I sold a lot and hired four employees. Business was all the way until the door. That's why I got employees. I needed help.
How did you hire people?
I had interviews during recess. You don't just hire your friends. You hire people who are qualified for the job.
How does the market work?
We pretend that we're grownups.
But, hello, you use paper money...
Even though it's just paper money, which we draw, it feels like real money because we get to buy stuff.
What do you sell?
I have a pet shop. I make pets out of pipe cleaners. [Mom's comment; she makes little poodle pets by twisting pipe cleaners into different shapes.]
How did you get the idea to sell those little pets?
I just make stuff. I just used to give it to them for free. Now I'm getting very good business. Everyone asks me to make them one.
What are some of the big sellers in the other stores?
It depends. Purrell bottles sell for $1 million. Erasers sell for $12. I bought a whole box of markers. I bought them for $1,000.
Q. What's your best bargain?
I purchased a color-twisting thing. It's a crayon that changes color. It really colors. I paid $2. She [the seller] just started out and didn't know better.
Q. How did this market start?
It's funny how it all happened. One girl started selling good supplies for paper money. And now there are more than 10 stores in our class. It's like having a mall in the classroom. It's really fun.