So anyone who follows me on twitter knows that I have been having issues with eBay and PayPal. My oldest son, now that he has finished work, and there is less to do as far as yardwork is concerned, has returend to his old obsession of Yugiyoh Cards. Now this may be an inocuous obsession, it doesn’t hurt anyone and in fact it is a huge exercise in intellect, however, as any parent of an obsessed child can tell you, these obsessions do go overboard and can end up costing an unusual amount of money, never mind the time spent. As far as my son is concerned he must have several thousands of cards stashed away in his closet in his bedroom. They are there just in case. Just in case for what I do not know, but just in case. I had actually offered to send groups of cards to families on one of facebook’s autsim webpages, but had to remove the offer after my son got really upset about "what if I gave away a card he would one day need."
Now the other day he received a manga in the mail and it talked about another entire new set of cards that he could purchase. Yeah for me! He immediately went online and started putting scores of cards into shopping carts all over the internet. The good thing was that he finally was well aware of the cost and didn’t go to buy anything. He was trying to whittle down the carts so the amount would be respectable. Of course, his idea of respectable and mine are two different things However, he ran into a problem once he was on eBay. He didn’t read the fine print about how things work on that site and pressed a "buy it now" button. He thought that like on every other site it would go into a cart. The next thing I know he was yelling because he couldn’t find the cart. We had to have a long talk about how eBay worked. Well, in all apsieness he decided it wasn’t his fault, even though we kept telling him that the problem was that he just doesn’t take his time for things. If he had read the user agreement he would have realized what the rules were. Luckily he had only agreed to buy a $1 item. With shipping it would cost $4.99. We used his bank account and not ours. Thought that was at least fair.
The best part was trying to explain to him that he had no choice in buying the item now. That he signed the user agreement and that as an 18 year old adult, remember how he likes to tell us he is an adult, he had to purchase the item. That if he did not eBay could ruin his credit. This could hurt him if he needed a loan for school, wanted to get a job or rent an apartment or get a mortgage in the future. Try telling a child who lives for the moment that a $1 item could ruin his life for the next ten years. I think he still thinks we are nuts. But lucky for him I did what needed to be done. Don’t we, parents, always.
I have to say though, one bad side-effect of this entire incident is that he mentally beat himself up for days about what a pain it all was. He ruined that evening and the next morning. I know it was the obsessiveness over what he had done, but no matter how we tried to teach him that it was a moment to learn from not a life or death issue he still had trouble bringing himself out of the funk. But finally after running errands and putting his check in the bank yesterday, he turned to me and acknowledged how silly he was being and said he was going to enjoy the rest of the day. So he promplty went home, but on his pajamas (to relax) and spent the day building card decks, playing video games and watching You Tube. Complete lazy day, which included no working out. Fine by me, he needed to bring himself back to his center.
Anyway, about our odyssey of trying to buy this item. I cannot tell you what a torture it was to set up this PayPal account. I know several of my twitter friends told me to just get the PayPal credit card, but I really do not want him to have any credit cards at all. Those damn things ruined my coming out of school and well, with all the money spent over the years on the boys, it really, never got better. (OK OK my bad but when you start life in a hole it really is hard to catch up. Besides, what 21 year old thinks they are going to have to spend money on their future children’s therapies and doctors for decades). Anyway I spent three days and hours on the phone with PayPal setting up an account. They needed a credit card and then they needed his bank account and then they needed verifications. I can’t tell you how painful this was. On the other hand I understand that the company has to make sure that people are who they are. There is so much fraud and identity theft in the world today that if they didn’t verify each account PayPal would be liable for untold millions of dollars. So anyway after our gauntlet ended, I was finally able to buy the $1 card my son had ordered.
I can’t tell you how excited I was that I was able to accomplish this goal. I felt elated as if I solved a true purpose for my being on the planet (no not really, but I was really relieved). Anyway, there is a lesson here and one that will get emphasized over time for my son.
He does have a tendency to rush through things,including his school work. he thinks it is a sign of intellect to finish anything he does quickly. It’s not that he wants to play games by finishing, he wants more work. We explained to him that his inability to take his time is what led to the problem with eBay. That he should also slow down with his school work. (OK he gets As but they would come alot easier if he didn’t put this kind of pressure on himself). Also he does need to learn the value of a dollar. I am not sure how successful that will be. In one of my earlier blogs I had mentioned a talk we had had about being an adult and what you have to pay for. However, I think it really has gotten lost and we are going to have to go down that road again and discuss what costs are and how to figure out how to pay for everything you must have before you buy what you want. OK another life skills lesson. But not too much right now, slowly over time.
So like I have always said, make everything a teachable moment. Take each incident one at a time and look for the silver lining, or what they could learn. Even if you have to spend three days and untold hours trying to figure out how to pay for $1 item on the internet so your child’s credit doesn’t get ruined in the future.
Until next time,